Kids: how many hours court-time a week?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by TheCanadian, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Just to play devil's advocate here :)
    On the one hand I do see evidence today in a lot of sports where
    kids are playing every day, but the injuries have skyrocketed.

    Kids have injuries today that were unheard of 20 years ago.
    And it is all from overuse.
     
    #51
  2. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    I'd be curious to know what is recommended at various ages, from 5 to 15, let's say. Obviously, just a father and his son provides greater intensity than 4 kids on a court and a pro who might or might not give a damn.
     
    #52
  3. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    You can still play excellent tennis on 90-120 minutes of training per day. This training will need to be intensive ground strokes and net play. The serve will be worked on less and playing sets and practice matches are virtually out of the practice schedule due to the breaks in the play being less intensive than training. If you are already a very strong player, you can keep your strong with this amount of training. When a player is trying to make huge progress more time must be spent on the court. Developing the game is very time consuming and labor intensive. Plus, the more you play the more you have to take care of your body off the court.

    In response to training recommendations for ages 5-15 years I think a 5 or 6 year old should play 2 or 3 times per week for 60 to 75 minutes, and should be playing several sports to develop overall athleticism. Ages 7-9 can play 3 times per week for 90 minutes plus play 2 or 3 other sports including soccer, golf, baseball, basketball, martial arts. Ten-twelve year old's should train 4-5 days per week for 2-3 hours depending on the type of work-outs. At 13 and up the player can train 15 hours and up depending on overall physical development, and this includes off-court injury prevention work for body balance, flexibility as well as strength and speed.

    This training I would recommend for a player that wants to be world-class someday.
     
    #53
  4. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Mitch is right on target with the amount of time spent training. A key requirement is the off-court injury prevention work.

    My son went through a three year period where he trained with the intent of playing in the MD of a junior grand slam. He used a heart monitor during all training sessions and checked the data with his coach once a week to evaluate total effort during practice. The monitor is also used to identify when a player is over or under training. If his data indicated he was reaching his limit they would back off on the afternoon practice matches until it showed he could continue.

    This is what it takes to make it into a junior grand slam. It is hard for me to imagine what it takes to make it pro. I don’t see how it can be done while you are going to a public school.

    Monday – off day

    Tuesday – Friday
    5:30 am wake up
    6:00 am – 8:00 am -> hit with coach
    8:45am – 3:10 pm -> school
    3:30 pm – 5:00 pm -> Practice match
    5:30 pm – 6:30 pm -> off court fitness -> injury prevention, speed, agility, strength
    7:00 pm – 9:00 pm dinner and homework
    9:00 pm – 9:30 pm down time
    9:30 pm – Bed

    Saturday and Sunday
    Tournaments or Practice matches.
    28 tournaments / per year, ~100 tournament matches
     
    #54
  5. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    That is some serious dedication. Did he make it?
     
    #55
  6. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    I hope he did... other kids don't have to deal with the 8:45am – 3:10 pm -> school.
     
    #56
  7. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    He sounds dedicated. My question is not tennis related though....
    How does he get all his schoolwork done in 2 hours?
     
    #57
  8. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    He turned 15 last July and decided he could not keep up the schedule during the school year. As you can see it pretty much eliminates everything except school and tennis. We ended up moving to Stockholm Sweden and his school here is even tougher than the one in the US. He has cut his training down to 8 hours per week and one tournament per month. He goes to Barcelona each summer for a couple of months and plays on the clay.

    Watching his improvement this year it is pretty clear that he will not make it to a Junior Grand Slam. At 20+ hours a week he had improved from a 3 star 8th grader to a 4 star sophomore. To make a Slam you really have to be a blue chip. It is very difficult to improve from a 4 star to blue chip. He had a chance with the training schedule he set up but would have been very difficult.

    This brings up an interesting question. Does anyone think a junior player can sustain the kind of work it takes to be a world class player without being “forced” or at least pushed very hard by their parents? One of the consistent messages I gave my son was this was his deal and his goal. I would support him all the way, but it had to be driven by him. I wonder if that philosophy has ever produced a world class player. My suspicion is very few kids have the drive necessary to sustain that level of effort for the 7 years necessary to pull it off without someone pushing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
    #58
  9. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    It's obviously a question of innate potential and raw talent. If the genetic material isn't there, it doesn't matter how many hours a kid spends hitting balls. This is true for all sports.
     
    #59
  10. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Disagree, talent is the least important aspect. I think it takes a rare child to make themselves do something like that Justin. There are a couple at my club who are on that track, only one of them is self motivated.
     
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  11. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Wholeheartedly agree.

    Can anyone give an example of an elite athlete in any sport who did not have innate potential and raw talent?

    Does anyone really think that someone, regardless of innate potential and raw talent, can hit tennis balls....or golf balls, or baseballs or volleyballls......all day every day and voila, become elite in the respective sport?
     
    #61
  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    They can reach a certain level, maybe even college, but to become a pro genetics is required.
     
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  13. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    It's not an "either or." To produce an elite athlete it takes a perfect storm: talent, will, and the environment required to succeed.
     
    #63
  14. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Surehs, I beg to differ.

    Take a look at college baseball and volleyball rosters. Good luck to the 5'8" 150 lb kid who tries to hit and throw a baseball all day and tries to make an average college team.....unless he has Dustin Pedroia talent. Good luck to the 5'6" girl who would like to make an average college volleyball team.....unless she has catwoman genetics and can play libero.

    A person who does not possess innate athletic ability can not become a college athlete in any sport just by doing reps. How can you teach quickness, reflexes, hand-eye coordination.....these things are innate.

    I think it would be a terrible disservice if a coach or parent made a slow, uncoordinated kid hit tennis balls all day long by dangling the carrot of at least a college tennis career.
     
    #64
  15. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    I don't think that the science will be well received here. Some things are genetic, some are trained and some are a combination. A well trained averagely athletic individual will be better than a poorly trained very athletic individual in all but the most extreme case. Some children will never be great athletes but I assume that Justin's child was not genetically bereft.
     
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  16. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    It's a pleasant, egalitarian, blank slate fantasy that we're all equal and that we can all succeed if only we work hard enough. No, we're not all equal. And most of us will never succeed at an elite level no matter what we do.
     
    #66
  17. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    I understand and agree with you. I think we are coming at this from slightly cross purposes. My point is, there is no possibility of success without dedication and training and yours is that elite levels of athleticism must also be present. I agree, but counter with the fact that some athletic attributes can be trained. And with the application of the appropriate stimuli from a very young age, some will occur naturally. Does that mean that we can all be Roger Federer or even a top level college athlete? Probably not, but without coaching and training you will never know what your top potential is.
     
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  18. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    This is true, especially in a sport like tennis that requires a high degree of training
     
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  19. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I could understand if parents unrealistically believe in their children's potential.

    What I hate to see is tennis coaches lead many parents and children to believe and work soooo....hard, giving up their childhood, taking tons of money knowing kids will never make it to the expected level.

    I would not say disservice, it is totally dishonest and child abuse.
     
    #69
  20. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I think it would be just as much a disservice....or dishonesty or child abuse....regardless of whether a parent or coach promotes it.
     
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  21. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Child abuse? Really? Methinks you may be treading dangerously close to Godwin's Law.
     
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  22. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    I cannot speak about Justin, since I don't know him. Tennis Canada, conducts all sorts of tests on the very young to measure their speed, hand-eye coordination, quickness of response to stimuli, etc. They will only invest in the genetic cream. Justin wanted to be an elite athlete, not just a local tennis star, and that inevitably takes more than just hard work.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    In tennis, I have known many kids who got into less famous colleges. This fall, a girl is getting a full ride in a less known college - she was featured in our club's newsletter. I would be competitive against her and have often hit with her. A boy (much better than me of course) got into a less famous college last year. These are not famous programs - but, especially for girls, college opportunities exist for average juniors who work hard.

    If you are talking about big schools, yes you are right.
     
    #73
  24. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    What has Tennis Canada's success rate been like? Would you say that currently on tour there are more athletes who were selected using a highly scientific process, or were more selected in the more traditional way. Traditional being, they enjoy tennis and have intense drive, and it just so happens that their genetics are not limiting to their tennis success. I do not know if you can predict a child's success based on early childhood genetic markers. Mental development in males stops after college for most men, physical development can continue until after 20.

    I am not saying you are wrong, I am just wondering if you are right. Does that make sense?
     
    #74
  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Why is it any different from schools promoting a "STEM" career (Science Technology Engineering Math) in spite of so much unemployment in these fields? Why do they show NASA videos to inspire students when NASA scientists worry about their funding year to year? Why do they glorify Einstein when Physics postdocs work for less than 20K a year and almost no benefits? Because the establishment (private sector, Universities, government, military labs) needs to ensure its survival through an accessible talent pool, and a large number of suckers are needed for that.
     
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  26. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    I think it's too early to say. Tennis Canada has only been on the scene in a significant way for a couple of years and they didn't invent anything. Tennis Canada looks mostly to Europe for its method: the guy who heads the program is French.

    I don't know our area of disagreement. All I'm saying is that biology (or genetics) is a primary, but not unique, factor in the development of elite athletes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
    #76
  27. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    To spark kids'interest into STEM career is totally different than misleading parents and kids, KNOWING THEIR LIMITED POTENTIAL by (greedy) coaches.
    How many times did you see parents spent tons of money...kids spent xxxx amount of hours into training ending up hurting themselves, having no childhood because of their dedication.

    Any experienced coach should be able to tell if the kid has potential to play at what level and train accordingly.
    Greedy coaches feed on parents'unrealistic believe on child's potential.
    Many kids with no or little potential quit regular school to train full time in tennis academy, wasting childhood and end up getting hurt in the process. Parents waste time and money chasing unrealistic dream.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
    #77
  28. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    I am always bewildered when people talk about hard work as if it is the magic ingredient.

    Why is it so politically incorrect for people to acknowledge that genetics plays a big role in sports?
     
    #78
  29. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    This is so true. I told this story on this board before.
    But, I watched a coach give a "try out" for a program.
    The kid was 12, never played, two left feet, and beyond uncoordinated.
    The coach said after the "try out", that if he signed up for a bunch of lessons,
    he might be able to play college tennis and get a free ride....
     
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  30. BSPE84

    BSPE84 Semi-Pro

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    LOL, tell that to a kid just out of school with a 4-year petroleum engineering degree. This year we're paying them on average, 100k plus a portion of their annual bonus - up front. No Einstein required here :confused:.

    You are doing a disservice to the kids reading this board by posting this nonsense.
     
    #80
  31. Andyroo10567

    Andyroo10567 Professional

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    5 Hours a day. Mostly playing matches with some random challengers, but still having fun. 13 yrs old.
     
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  32. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    My nephew just graduated college with a chemical engineering degree and had a job before he left school (his internship turned into a job offer of $75k). A friend of mine has a daughter who is still in school studying systems engineering and has companies pursuing her already. Can't say that in a lot of other fields these days...
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, as long as oil companies keep screwing everybody, they should be OK.

    Tell that to people over a certain age in any other industry which uses science and engineering - who have been laid off and have no income and no health benefits. Tell that to the thousands of engineering resumes that are coming to my employer from unemployed fresh grads and laid off older people. Just this morning I screened about a 100 of them and recommended 5 to be looked at further. And this 100 was just for me to look at.

    You are useful only for a certain window till you are replaced by automation, someone younger, or cheaper. The reason kids are not getting into this today is not because they are stupid - it is because they are wiser and see what their parents went through. A lot of engineers I know are asking their kids not to major in it. The number of unemployed middle aged engineers is astounding. What the industry does is to lure them when they are young with the promise of something great, and then disposes of them at the smallest sign of decline in quarterly earnings.

    The petroleum industry is a protected industry which is screwing the environment and lobbying politicians to kill alternate energy, while taking out ads on how much they support it.
     
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  34. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    Many of today's tournament playing juniors have enough talent physically and mentally to make it in professional tennis. The talent cut off is much earlier in their sporting lives. Once they have been tested by playing some other sports like soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball and have had good success with coordination, speed and agility, they have passed the talent test. Now the development of the advanced skill set needs to take place in a near perfect scenario. Excellent physical development, superior coaching and information, good training partners, nurturing and supportive environment, and healthy diet. Also, being in an area with a good climate for more training time and an excellent tournament schedule regionally that allows for great competition without much travel would make maximize the player's chances of world-class development.
     
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  35. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    I find the current "mass junior development" programs unsettling. I've been playing good tennis for 35 years, was an all conference player in college, worked for a while as a pro, have been ranked in the top 25 nationally in seniors, etc. When I came up in a small town, we did not have the opportunity with all the organized training. In college we had team practice, and then were always out hitting balls at night. As I pro 30 years ago we taught some lessons and clinics, but the good juniors were out practicing on their own most of the time. Now I've got a 16 year old state ranked son who also plays high school basketball. It is amazing that none of the good junior players ever hit a ball except in organized academy group settings. In the summer they train all day, ever day, as has been discussed in this topic. My son had a fractured vertbrae and torn disc in football as a QB, so back issues pop up regularly. He had a stress fracture in the growth plate in his hip this winter in basketball from overtraining, and that was just hitting tennis balls with me at night after basketball. I can buy this level of training is necessary to produce a pro, but I find it amazing that so many parents have their kids spending so much time on the court. In most cases all this time and expense may result in them playing college tennis at a little higher level. But what about the injuries and burn out? One of the coaches at a regional private college told me his two most talented players on campus won't play on the team because they are so sick of tennis. I've had four knee surgeries, back surgery, two stress fracture broken wrists, and assorted other tennis injuries. AND, I never trained for extended periods like these kids are now. For the one pro these programs produce, how many hundreds of injuried burned out kids will be left on the side of the road? I do agree that tennis, (and more so golf) are the sports to get your kids in if they are not great athletes. Both tennis and golf are skill sports, so the average athlete can still be very good with enough work and time. But, as others have said, there will be limits at to how high they advance. In our case, we train hard at tennis daily for 90-120 minutes together. My son also does a 1.5 hour clinic a couple of times per week, and then is doing his off season basketball routine at school. He won't be a pro, and won't play D1 tennis, but he will be a good player and still enjoy the sport as an adult.
     
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  36. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    As a follow up for the payoff for all these hours parents are paying academies for their kids to train. There is one men's D-1 college tennis program in our state. There are 5 americans on the current roster, and 7 international players. Men's D1 programs have 4.5 scholarships to award among their entire team. There are dozen's of boys in my son's age group training full time thinking they will at least get a D1 scholarship. How do you think that is going to work out? We've got two in state players on the current college roster. The girls have better odds with more schools offering women's tennis, and more scholarship dollars to work with.
     
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  37. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I do not agree that tennis is a sport for anyone to get into and be very good at if they are not great athletes.

    Who is it that you are agreeing with on this point?
     
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  38. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    Misterbill, from my experiences I feel golf and tennis are good sports for kids that are not super athletes for several reasons. First, when I played college tennis we had some guys on our team that weren't all around great athletes, but they were tough to beat because they had made themselves into solid tennis players. Of course they were decent athletes, I don't mean they had no ability, but if we played any other sport, shot basketball, threw a football, played pitch or hit a baseball, they were not very athletic. Golf may even be more true, if you put in the time. I am not saying they will be a pro, or a good college player, or even a college player. But they can enter USTA tournaments, play on their high school team (maybe), and train as much as they like. It will then be a lifetime sport they can conpete in as seriously at they like, at the level their ability allows, and always strive to improve. All of the above comments also go for golf. I am not saying you don't need to be a great athlete to be a great tennis player. Just there is a level for everyone to compete at, for life. If you don't agree that tennis is a good sport for people that aren't great athletes, what about those thousands of 35 year old guys playing USTA 3.5 level league tennis and tournaments? What should they be doing instead?
     
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  39. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    Misterbill, I think we agree, but are talking about different results. I also think paying for 6 or 7 hours of daily tennis traning is a little crazy, and it won't create a star from an average athlete. But that same kid who might not be able to make the baseball or volleyball team can play 1.5 to 2 hours of tennis, 4 or 5 days per week, take a few lessons, work hard but have fun, and be a pretty decent little tennis player, for life.
     
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  40. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Time out.

    I said a person has to be a great athlete to be a very good tennis player.

    I did not say tennis is not a good sport for people who aren't great athletes.

    I am not going to preach to 35 year olds about what they should be doing with their time.

    For any kids out there who may be reading this........if you are a great athlete with good hand-eye coordination, quickness, stamina, and durability, by all means give your dreams for greatness a shot on the tennis court!

    For anyone who may not have these gifts in abundance, tennis can provide a great recreational outlet well into your senior years.
     
    #90
  41. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    I completely agree with Mrbill. Great athletes can make great tennis players. But MAN there is alot of competition out there, world wide. Play it for fun, and enjoy what you are doing, because it is really tough to make it as a D1 college player, and almost impossible to make it on the pro tour.
     
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  42. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    Kids need to dream. Players can learn a lot in life from trying to excel at what they do. By testing themselves in tennis, they can develop great life skills and learn about themselves. Going up the rankings is a lesson that you can do anything in life that you set your mind to. Just because it is tough and competitive doesn't mean you shouldn't give it your best shot. You will learn an incredible amount, you will meet smart, worldly people, and you will know that you are courageous, serious-minded, goal-oriented and open-minded....all qualities of successful people in life. It is the journey that counts!
     
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  43. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    My 15 year old son played a match this weekend. He played very well and was beaten soundly. After the match he looked over and said to me. “He is a better player than I am. I bet he works really hard to be that good”. I just smiled. Tennis is a great teacher about life. How many 15 year olds really understand the connection between hard work and success?
     
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  44. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Are your pleased with your protocol?

    How do feel about your protocol and your performance and/or development? thx kid
     
    #94
  45. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I think what you are saying is true. We have even seen some pro women's tennis players historically that did not appear to be great athletes or look like they would excel at many other sports.
     
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  46. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

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    Many posters on this thread miss the mark, IMO.

    What ultimately separates the cream of the crop over the rest? Talent. That's it.

    Kids can practice all day long and never reach the top level in tennis. That's because tennis is a sport where talent/genetic gifts needs to be in many different areas: Height, Fast Twitch muscle fibers, great hand eye coordination, Soft hands, Speed, Quickness.

    You pretty much need all these to excel. And tell me, how much can practicing all day impact these things? Not much, really. If you don't have fast twitch muscle fibers (one is born with only a certain amount), you don't have a prayer at being elite. If you don't have a God given gift of great hand eye coordination, you can forget about being elite.

    This is not to downplay the technical side of tennis, which is significant. But, give me a talent with all the above qualities, and he can be become a pro with 75 minutes of quality work 5-6 days/week through his entire junior playing days.
     
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  47. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Somehow, the word genetics became a dirty word.

    I agree, no amount of hard work will make you a successful pro player, unless you are genetically gifted.
     
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  48. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Though genetics is of importance, I feel that "DESIRE" is most important.
     
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  49. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    SO what is the right mix of talent, genetics, desire, effort, intensity?

    I was consulting with some of the high performance gurus in various sports. After a multimillion dollar study and a lot of real-life research, they came up with a definitive formula.

    The findings of their study revealed that the key to optimal performance is comprised of the following:
    10 percent luck
    20% of it is skill
    15%, they referred to as, "concentrated power of will".
    Then they cited that only 5% of it is a pleasure
    with figures as high as 50% pain.
    And then they went on to specify that this would yield 100% reason to remember your name.

    I have learned that this totals 200%, which really taught me a lot about my game ... and about math.

    Oh, and it is no surprise that this formula has turned up in thousands of recruiting videos in the form of background music!
     
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  50. CoachDad

    CoachDad Rookie

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    slice....check out the article in the thread entitled "Talent vs training".
     

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