Lucky Dad

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by gplracer, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I have read a lot of posts and I have some comments. We all want the best for our kids. We all want the best for kids we hear about in the forum. That said, I find it interesting that we say play matches, no do not play matches. I find it interesting that we say the USTA is no good and not developing players. I find it interesting that some say to not play a lot of tournaments. I find it interesting that some say how many lessons are enough or not enough. And on and on and on….. THEN, we state that the chances of becoming a pro or a D1 college athlete are so small that we should not worry about such things. If the chances are so small (I believe they are) then what difference does it make? My kids play tennis because their dad (me) introduced them to the game. I play with them. I go to all of their tournaments with them and watch almost all of their matches. That is getting harder now that there is two playing and now going to different level tournaments. My kids like the friends they have met through tennis. They like going out of town and staying in a hotel with dad. (My younger son says he likes “hotel smell”) They like seeing the friends they have made all over a four state area when they get to the tournament. They play for the fun of it all. They also like to win too! They love to play in the USTA events. After all they got into tennis to compete. As a parent I want them to be the best they can be for sure. They do the lessons and the clinics and the USTA camps. But for many people it is not about developing a world class player. It is about having something they can enjoy with their kids and look back at the memories. I have a friend whose son played at Furman University and recently graduated. He told me he envied me. He said I was lucky to be at this stage of life where the kids are playing and traveling. For him that stage is over. I am sure something else will take its place but he says, “It was the best of times.” He told me when his son got in the car after the match, they never talked about the match. The discussion was always the same and it started with, “So I found three local barbeque places which one do you want to try?” Remember it is the journey not the end. It is not about how good or bad your kid is. It is about being with your kid. I feel lucky to be involved in tennis.
     
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  2. highgeer

    highgeer Rookie

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    great post

    I am also a dad, and all of my kids love tennis.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
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  3. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    Yep, its a great family sport. I still rally with my 80 year old father & cant wait to one day watch my kids on the courts & in tournaments.

    I will let them decide if they want to take it further.

    Great post ;-)
     
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  4. ChiefAce

    ChiefAce Semi-Pro

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    Great post, I think more people especially in this section of the forums need to remember that.
     
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  5. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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  6. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    thanks for your post. I wish more parents would chill out and not take the tourneys like do-or-die. It's not the end of the world if junior loses a match, but watching their reactions make you think it is. As many have said before, let's enjoy the journey.....
     
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  7. OneTennisParent

    OneTennisParent New User

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    Agree with TCF. I have known parents who firmly believe their kid will go pro, and they approach it as a career i.e. deadly serious. I even know one who did go pro. The dad/coach would leave tournaments immediately after finishing the match, so they could work on what to improve. Socialization was almost non-existent at events. I also have known parents who choose their kid's career for them in law, medicine, or business, and approach it in the same way, so it's not unique to sports.

    My wife and I made a conscious decision to direct our children into sports that they could play at 80, and still have good scholarship potential if they were good. Football and gymnastics were out. I don't know any 30-year old gymnasts, and every 30+ football player I know is suffering physically. We take our sports seriously as much for the life-lessons, as the potential of a return on our investment through scholarships, so we win either way.

    I have also known families who freely admit they are there only for the social aspects, and have no intent of working toward a scholarship.

    I cannot condemn anyone's approach as long as they are not abusive. We've all seen the psychotic parents who you just know will eventually push their own kids out of the sport. Our coach likes to say "there are two things that drive kids out of tennis; parents and coaches." Choose your own path, and love your kids. They didn't ask to be born; you dragged them into the world kicking and screaming (literally), so it's incumbent upon you to treat them well.
     
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  8. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Lots of good posts here.
    Some parents have their kids play for recreational, to make the high school team ( no easy feat btw), college and pro.

    I think the problem is that in the middle of the journey,
    we forget that it going to be over really soon ( in the blink of an eye),
    and we need to make it more fun as tennis at the top rung can be socially isolating.
     
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  9. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Nice post. I agree with what you say gpl up to a point. My first 2 kids were good players, nothing sensational. I was like you- calm, cool, philosophical. Then third kid came along. Sensational player. I drank the Kool Aid and became a crazy tennis parent like the others on this forum. Hard not to when coaches are telling you your kid has pro potential. Fortunately I spit out the Kool Aid in time to save my kid and myself.
     
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  10. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    That's a great post and it is so wonderful that you realize these things now while your children are still young and you can really enjoy these great years.
     
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  11. TCF

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  12. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Nice story.

    The best part about junior tennis/tournaments is when the kids hit the age of 14-18 years old. Those are the years when they rebel, would rather hang out with their friends.

    But for us, the kids playing tournaments local and out of state keep us close to each other.

    Like Tennis5 said, those years go by "in the blink of an eye".
     
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  13. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I agree. I think it is so important for a teenager to have something to keep their mind on besides hanging out and getting in trouble...and also to be "good" at something that sets them apart from their school peers.
     
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  14. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but I am sure we have all seen the "crazy" tennis parents who just take things too far.

    And then in the end the kid ends up quitting tennis or playing college tennis just like most kids.

    In the end the craziness, the stress, the overemphasis on results is just so not worth it. The time goes by so fast and for most tennis families, the most important part is the time that they got to spend together and the good times they had; not the wins and the losses.
     
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  15. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Thanks for the responses. I never said WE do not take tennis seriously. It is different for each one of my kids. My older son has struggled but is now a solid player. My younger son was ranked #2 in the 10s in our state by the time of his 8th birthday and now he is in the top 50 in the 12s even though he just turned 10. He would not have gotten to this point if he had not had a lot of lessons and if he had not played a lot. Currently he is also playing baseball for the first time. Tennis was just different for each one. As for the younger one. I do not know where it will go but we are going to enjoy the journey and give him as many opportunities as we can to be the best player he can be.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
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  16. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    We're watching these kids grow up right before our eyes...

    I like what you wrote.

    Just tossing out a few phrases that sum it up for me: Tennis is a GAME, not brain surgery & junior players are CHILDREN, not mini-professionals. Junior tennis is a JOURNEY, not a destination...You might as well ENJOY it! :)

    OF COURSE everyone has different perspectives and different priorities - that's what makes the world go 'round - but those two work for me.
     
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  17. tennis1970

    tennis1970 New User

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    I like this post. While I agree, tennis can be serious for some families...at the end of the day we should be thankful our kids can play...regardless of the level. There are many kids who can't play because they they are ill or it interferes with their chemotherapy treatments. Sometimes we all need a reality check.
     
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  18. SuzukiSS

    SuzukiSS New User

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    I agree everyone at every age plays tennis for different reasons but I have never understood why we have different expectations from tennis kids than say football kids? A kid who is there just to have fun is not going to make it in football or basketball. I can assure you that my football coach was not going to talk about dinner after a loss. I ended up playing college tennis but have always felt the drive and discipline to excel came from those demanding football coaches and my parents. Why are results stressed more in team sports than tennis?
     
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  19. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

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    I agree, and I have never understood why you can't learn the same lessons from playing different sports. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess and I probably would have picked a different sport to start when I was younger if I could.

    Not to say that I don't appreciate what I've gotten out of tennis so far. If it was a choice between tennis/no tennis, it would be tennis every day. It's just that tennis is such a brutal sport, and I think I would've enjoyed myself better in say, soccer or baseball.
     
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  20. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Good post overall but I have a different take on football and gymnastics. Yes, they are brutal sports with a high chance of injury. Yes, they are not sports for older adults to engage in. But many boys like to play football and many girls like gymnastics. When people are younger, this is the ONLY time for them to enjoy these sports. Why not let them enjoy those sports (if they want) at that age? They can take up other sports (e.g. tennis, golf, etc.) when they are older. The life lessons (competition, sportsmanship, work ethic, teamwork etc.) can be learned from a lot of sports, regardless of how long you can play that sport.
     
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  21. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    Great post. Thanks.
     
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  22. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    You are a lucky dad gplracer!!!! I also consider myself the luckiest dad. I know people in my neighborhood think im crazy because they see me and my kids on the court all the time. My daughter said to me the other day daddy why dont you have any friends. I said i dont need friends i have you and your brother and mommy and thats all i need. Soon as i get off work i drive home and pick up my kids and am with them playing until they go to sleep. I never had a father around when i was groing up and i think alot of my problems as an adult are because of that. I told my wife i have failed at everything i have ever done in life but i will not fail at being a parent. I thank god every day for my kids. I push them really hard in school as well as tennis because i belive if you do something you should give 100% !! Im sure some days my kids would rather come home from school and sit on the sofa and eat chips and watch t.v. because tennis everyday is hard. I tell them to be great you have to be different!!! I am not gonna lie i want more than anything for my kids to make it as professional tennis players,but if they dont thats o.k. because we have made memories that will last a lifetime.
     
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  23. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    The kid won't remember wins/losses 10yrs from now, but what will stay with him are the good times spent together.
     
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  24. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Sometimes, when we grow up with one extreme as a child,
    as a reaction to that......... we try to correct it by going to the other extreme parenting our kids.
    Unfortunately, although we have the best intentions, it is an over correction.

    Realistically, it is probably best to be somewhere in the middle of the parenting spectrum.
     
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  25. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I do the best i can.
     
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  26. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    I know....

    Similar position here, but more of a micromanaging ( school) as an over correction to my own parents who were way hands off.

    Sometimes, the hardest thing is not recognizing the problem, but figuring out how to change.
     
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  27. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    I didn't play tennis as a kid but I was a top go cart racer. I proudly remember winning races & some of the huge trophies I got for winning big races.

    What I remember most was the long drives with my father & brother to all of the different tracks. My father pretending the car was running out of gas & getting us to fill up the glove box with all of the garbage/paper in the car as fuel (lol, he was a smart man) and playing all of the silly I spy with my little eye games. Good times for sure.

    That being said I also loved when it was track time & ready to fire up the carts with my older brother & show him who was boss and work some lap times & adjust engine/cart w Dad to get a wining time. We were a winning team & a force to be reckoned with, we raced hard & were serious when it came to preparing for the race & our results reflected this well.

    Win or lose the ride back was always just as fun as the ride there (with or without the huge trophies). Not much talk of what went wrong but emphasis on what I did well & some things to maybe work on & consider if I thought it would help (my father put the ball in my court if you will).

    In the end I think balance is key with an emphasis on fun. In the end if the experience of playing tennis isnt fun anymore they will drop it as soon as they are able when they get older.

    Thanks for the thread, it brought back a lot of great memories for me ;-)
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
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  28. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I feel being excluded from this thread since I am not a DAD. ;)
     
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  29. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    Moms Rock! Please post away ;-)

    Or start a lucky Mom thread ;-)
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
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  30. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I do think fathers have a different relationship with the son than mom does. Its the whole "I am Sparta!" Man thing.
     
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  31. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    RIGHT ON!
    Those of us that appreciate the family tennis (trip) experience welcome such recognition of beneficial highlights with no harm to those that are "serious".
    I'm both. Serious prep, sleep, healthy food during tournaments, play your best, enjoy the battle
    We'll squeeze in a few quick touristy moments during tournament
    and plan a few days extra during summer
    to appreciate and share our great country with our kids
    Are you kidding me?
    While you can travel non tennis
    since you are already there....
    Why not pick multi berries, crab, and play in waterfalls in Oregon
    fish for Mahi Mahi and do airboat rides, visit relatives in Florida, fish for trout in Arkansas Ozarks, crappie in NC, salmon in Lake Michigan near Wisconsin
    and BBQ? How about Austin, Texas in Little Mo days or Memphis!
    No one is saying you have to vacation through tennis. Its all about freedom of opportunities no matter what a grinch comments. Lets hope the USTA better factors in the value of nat'l play opportunities in their future plans.
    Enjoy the Journey!
     
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  32. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I really dont see it as a problem. I wouldnt wanna do it any other way.
     
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  33. TennisCoachIN

    TennisCoachIN Rookie

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    This is such a great post. The memories created each day with my children is what we will cherish forever. Whether just practice, USTA tournaments or school related tennis, the stories and fun we share together are priceless.
     
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  34. andyaycw

    andyaycw New User

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    Agreed with other posters, this is a fantastic post. I wish I was as lucky as OP to have such a great relationship tennis-wise with their kids (or in my case, me with my dad).

    When I started playing tournaments I probably went 0-12 in the first three years which I'd like to at least partially attribute to the pressure I felt from my dad coming to watch my matches. Of course, everything looks so easy from the sideline..."just hit the winner down the line!" "just hit the ace out wide!" and he yelled at me whenever I lost the match. That included a match I lost 0-6; 0-6 to some guy ranked top 100 nationally.

    I told my dad to stop coming to my matches, and the next year I not only won my first match, but my first tournament, and finished out the year at 14-5.

    I wish I could have had a better relationship with my dad back then, but I simply couldn't perform under the pressure he gave me. It has been nearly nine years now since I played my last tournament...perhaps I'll try playing some doubles matches with him and create some good memories with him...
     
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  35. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I hope you do!
     
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  36. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    I'm looking forward to having a child and then having someone else coach them - that way I can not only be "typical tennis dad" I can also be "tennis dad who is a high performance coach"!

    That should be fun for whoever their coach is!!! :D
     
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  37. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    "I do the best i can."

    Most of us are just trying to do the best we can with the best intentions. However, I mean this with all due respect, but many parents have no idea or clue what it really takes to be a professional athlete (I come from a family with pro athletes) and the upsetting part is many things much occur that are completely out of your control (you can't buy it and you don't get it just because you have your kids on the court everyday for lots of hours).

    Additionally, what does it mean to "make it as a professional tennis player?" I'm a lawyer and I make more money than 90% of the professional tennis players and I'll continue to make that level of income far beyond their tennis playing days. My point is at the end of the day, it is about education. Statistically, you have a better chance of winning your state lottery than making a living at professional tennis.

    It's about the experience and kudo's to the original poster as I agree 100%.

    GA, I read a lot of "I's" in your response . . . "you" want your girls to make it more than anything. I got the impression you might be driving this more then them. I don't know you so I could be off and no disrespect meant. Again, I know we are all just doing what we can.

    I'll admit I tend to be more hands off b/c of my experiences as an All-American basketball player and a dad that played in the NBA and having spent my life around some of the best athletes in the world gives me a difference perspective as to how almost "impossible" it is to make it to the top (again, no one really knows all the ingredients of a professional athlete although we think we do and of yea, it takes a lot of luck).

    As my dad always told me, "sports is nothing more than an avenue to school and education. Use sports to open up more doors and opportunities through school. Use sport to set up your life in the real world. If, by the grace of god, you are blessed to ever be a pro athlete, that's icing on the cake."

    And the kicker from my dad was when he'd say, "if you excel on the court but don't equally excel in the classroom, you are NOT a competitor. Competitors don't turn it off. When I'd score 40+ points in the basketball game, he'd say, I expect all "A's" on that report card b/c the focus and commitment it took to play that well "better" extend to the classroom."

    And, of yea, the biggest smile I ever saw on my dad's face . . . when I graduated from law school."

    And, now, I'm a dad and what I remember from my dad is the life perspective. Not once did he force or pressure me to do anything in sports (he did demand excellence in the classroom b/c he understood what that meant in the big picture). I think the junior tennis structure is STUPID and the $ required is also STUPID but I only do it b/c my daughter loves the sport (but she can quit tomorrow). The only reason I support this is the "lessons you learn through tennis" will serve a young girl big time . . . independence, dealing with pressure, speaking out, discipline, etc. It's about those things and not the sport, nor wins or losses . . . wins and losses are by-products.
     
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  38. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Nice post!
     
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