School, Tennis & Travel frustrations

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by hhollines, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    I'm just letting off some steam but I'd love to hear comments from other folks. Regardless of your position on the proposed new USTA rules, I continue to be baffled as to why they won't structure segments and nationals such that, at most, only 1 day of school is missed. You can run a 64 draw in 3 days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Kids could leave Thursday night and return Sunday night and even if there's a consolidation bracket, maybe change it to a 8 game pro set but I truly believe there should be an absolute mandate that during the school year, every tournament must be structured such that only 1 day of school is missed.

    In looking at Jan. in my section, if my kid plays sectionals and regional segments, they would miss 5-6 days of school. This is crazy for any high school kid. This truly is about priorities and if education is important, we can do a better job of structuring the tournaments, and the answer is not, just stay in your state or force kids to only play locally. The answer is to better structure the regional and national tournament structure.

    As a parent that doesn't necessarily believe in the academy route nor home schooling, this is real challenge. I don't have a problem with academies or home schooling but my wife and I believe in the regular school structure as well as the social benefits of attending school and being a regular (non-tennis) kid. As a former athlete, I know the realities and at the end of the day, it's about school and education but it would be nice is the USTA come develop a better tournament approach.

    My daughter (12 yrs. old) will likely have to miss segments on the next go round b/c we have rule that over the course of an entire school year, 9 missed days in the maximum and we think that's a lot (more than 1 day per month is too much in my humble opinion, especially for the younger kids).

    I know some will say, you don't need to travel given the kids age but that's not a genuine response b/c it does matter. The experience of traveling and playing high level tournaments at a young age does benefit the kid later. We say the 12s and maybe 14s dont' matter, but they do if you consider the entire experience and level of exposure. We've confirmed that many of the top 16s and 18s were top 12s and 14s (some top 12s and 14s are not top 16s and 18s conversely) but the point remains.

    I take this back to the structure. Can't we do a better job of structuring the tournament schedule with the goal of keeping all kids in school as often as possible yet still giving them the experience and exposure of traveling?

    Thoughts?

    Harry
     
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  2. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Harry this is an easy one. Don't play tournaments that require her to miss school. With my kids they didn't miss school for tournaments. My wife made the rule- school first. I know it is hard to believe from your perspective but results in the 12's mean nothing. Being 12 is a great age because if you want tougher competition you just play up. Instead of playing a National 12 play a level 4 or 5 sectional 14.
     
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  3. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Harry

    It seems like all the regional & opens are 32 draws this year held in three days, a Saturday, Sunday, Monday. So you can tell your daughter the reward for making the finals is she gets to miss a day of school(Monday) otherwise you are home Sunday night.

    For clay, hard courts and winter nationals, they are out of school, so I don't think school comes into play. Obviously Easter Bowl is an issue.

    Obviously, people sometimes have to miss Friday as a travel day, but that can happen with a sectional event too. Lots of people in Florida or So Cal forget that people in other sections may have to fly to a sectional event too, or drive 500 miles, and that a regional or national event may actually be closer.

    I dont know what our section is, so no comment on your sectional scheduling.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
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  4. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    The mess that USTA schedule is in now was done because people already complained about missing too much school so they drastically changed things. If education is everything then don't expect as much out of tennis because the folks that do choose to go the academy route, homeschooling or are comfortable missing school will always have the advantage. I think you have to change your expectations about the level of tennis you hope your child can play. To expect high level tennis on a rec soccer type schedule isn't realistic.
     
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  5. grace1918

    grace1918 New User

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    We have decided that no matter how much we all love Tennis, it will always be school first. Sports is always a riskly choice and should always have a back-up plan. I know several friends who had to give up sports because of an illness or long injury and do not have a good education to survive. We do not take our kids to any tournaments that causes them to miss school. I do sometimes pull them out an hour early if the matches start on Friday. However, if there is a very tempting tournament, we try to reach out to the teacher and make up for the missed schedule ahead of time but that has not happened much. I do not want to give my kids mixed messages so always stick to the principle that school comes first. If your priority is school first then stick to you. We have to just accept the advantage that home schooled kids have. Hope this helps.
     
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  6. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Tossing in my two cents: EDUCATION comes first...THE END.
     
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  7. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Guess I could elaborate on my two cents just a little bit by saying it reminds me of a lecture I heard a few lifetimes ago in college: CHOICES. In life, you will always have the opportunity to make choices---but choosing ONE way means you automatically DON'T choose the other. Only ONE thing can be the top priority...all other things thereby become close seconds or close thirds or like that.

    Hope that makes sense--maybe i'm not explaining it well--and i've forgotten most of my college experience but that one stuck with me.
     
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  8. matchplay

    matchplay Rookie

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    do what is right for your family.
    Plenty of regular school kids have played limited national schedules & gone on to play at some of the best college programs in the nation.
    College coaches understand family travel concerns, but if your kid wins enough and has the grades , test scores, they will be noticed by all of the best colleges ( talking about best universities, ivy, NW, Vandy, Stanford, top D3's such as Wash U, Williams) coaches. Rankings are just a number, any good coach takes the rankings with a grain of salt and looks at the level of play, sportamanship, quality of wins not always quantity. Now, if you want your kid to be a pro, maybe a different story. Stay true to your education priority and your kid will end up at the right university .
     
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  9. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    If your child wants to play college tennis, then you have to get use to the days away from school.

    College tennis is year round, in the fall they practice 6 days a week (2-3 hrs.), play several tournaments, in which they have to miss several days of school every tournament they play.

    During the season, they have 2-3 matches per week, away matches they may travel out of state, missing several days of school.

    Conclusion, high school is a great time to learn how to your budget time, because college is where things really matter.
     
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  10. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Yes, in life you are aways making sacrifices.
     
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  11. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    I missed plenty of school playing select soccer. I still graduated in the top 10% of my high school class, scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT/ACT and got accepted to a highly academic school. You can do both, it just has to be all that you do. There is little time for a normal social life on top of that.
     
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  12. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    Really good point, so true. If you can't handle it in HS, you will sink in college.
     
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  13. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Tennishacker,

    The OP was making the point -

    At my son's school, you are only allowed to miss ten days for the year.

    Yes, college tennis mandates days away from schools,
    but some high schools will not allow this to occur if you wish to attend their high school.

    I think the poster is alluding to that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
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  14. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    "Yes, college tennis mandates days away from schools,
    but some high schools will not allow this to occur if you wish to attend their high school. I think the poster is alluding to that."

    Thanks Tennis 5 as that was my point. I'm a former Div. I athlete (dad played pro) so I very much understand what it takes (I lived it) but that's not my point. Sports absolutely helps an individual learn to balance and prioritize but that's not my point either and, of course, that's assuming you can afford this crazy sport.

    My point is even with all comments made, they/we could do a better job as a tennis community and society. For you SoCal and FL folks, you don't have to travel nearly as much for sectionals and regionals.

    To the poster that said 12s don't matter, that's not true and you know it especially for folks in weak sections. It's not the ranking that matters necessarily at that age (although that can be debated based on raw data so let's be honest here) but the opportunity to play against the best . . . the best in a weak section doesn't cut it against the best in a stronger section so the weak section folks must travel more . . . just a reality. It's about exposure and the experience that benefits you later (and many of you know that).

    Here's my point. For any 64 draw, you could start on Friday and finish Sunday (for ALL tournaments). Also, don't forget, if you are trying to save money, you don't get the best flight times . . . again, just reality. For 32 draw, you can do the same. In my section, we'll play sectionals in Jan. requiring 2-3 days of missed school, then 3 days later, regionals which will require at least 1 day (in some cases 2), so in a 10 day period, that's 3-4 days . . . do that 4x/5x times and that's serious days missed.

    I was a honors student with All-American honors coming out of high school so I get it but I was asking a deeper question. It's not enough to just say "make a choice." The scheduling could be changed to allow kids both opportunities to excel in academics and athletics. It doesn't have to be an "or" proposition.

    While in vain, I'll continue to fight. I wrote my senior thesis in college on the "fallacy of the student-athlete." Long story short, in college athletics, they COULD play everything on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays if SCHOOL really mattered but we love the benefit of Big Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday games on ESPN . . . all driven by money. Of course, we can sit down and just say "it is what it is" but I'll fight to change it . . . because it's not right.

    The USTA could issue a mandate that during the school year, ALL tournaments must be structured such that only 1 day of school is missed. And this isn't the only option as there a lot of ways to structure the junior tennis schedule if the premise and goal is EDUCATION is #1 . . .

    As for the poster than mentioned the academy and home school route, please, let's be honest . . . that a financial issue and you know it. Again, I'm not attacking but let's be honest . . . there's so much you can do . . .

    Harry
     
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  15. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    1)To the poster that said 12s don't matter, that's not true and you know it especially for folks in weak sections. It's not the ranking that matters necessarily at that age (although that can be debated based on raw data so let's be honest here) but the opportunity to play against the best . . .

    2) the best in a weak section doesn't cut it against the best in a stronger section so the weak section folks must travel more . . . just a reality. It's about exposure and the experience that benefits you later



    Most folks have read my posts ( probably too many times), so they can skip this one. All repeat info.

    1) Yes and no. My son played another sport and switched over to tennis by the age of 13.
    Pre national cuts, and so therefore he got into Copper Bowl, Texas Open, Southern Open.
    He picked up some points.
    Couldn't play clay or hard that summer, he couldn't get in.

    Today, this can't happen anymore which is one of the main reasons I find the cuts so disturbing.
    Some kids don't pick up a racquet until later.
    But, now you really can't switch sports so easily.

    I don't think the 12's matters much now that I have been to national tournaments ( 12-18 age groups all played) and watched the different age groups play.
    In terms of tennis, 12's tennis is just too many moonballs and a waste of time, really.
    However, in terms of experience of mentally being on the court, yes it is valuable.

    2) From a weak section too. It is what it is..........



    You state - The USTA could issue a mandate that during the school year,
    ALL tournaments must be structured such that only 1 day of school is missed.


    3) Nationals are from Saturday - Monday.

    4) Sectionals are Friday - Sunday.
    Yes, some are 6 hours from my home, and a national by plane sometimes seems faster.

    So, technically, except for Easter Bowl ( which is being cut anyway),
    I don't see more than one day of school being missed for a national or a sectional.
    Fly out on Friday afternoon after school for a national.

    5) You have to pick and choose. If she plays a national, then she doesn't play a sectional.

    6) At this point, your junior is stuck playing sectionals
    so you can get to be one the top 3 of the endorsement list to get into the Super Nats

    7) USTA screwed up this royally with the 2010 cuts and 2012 cuts.
    The little kids 8-12 are going to be hit the worst by it. It is a shame.



    You state... The USTA could issue a mandate ...... if the premise and goal is EDUCATION is #1 . . .

    The USTA could care less about your junior and their education.

    Their goal is to increase the tennis base and get the great athletes that play football, baseball, and basketball.
    The landscape of tennis in the future will be a sport played in your state for the majority of juniors.
    They will handpick some of the super athletes in the future and pour a ridiculous amount of money into 20 juniors.
    All in the hopes of getting 1-2 future juniors that they want to see in the US OPEN.

    I was initially optimistic that the cuts would be put on hold, but the 2013 regional cut for July just happened...
    I don't think that is a good sign. That was the one and only tournament that juniors could use to age up.
    Cuts in the summer in an L3 ... 64 draw cut to 32 in the SUMMER. Wow.

    HOWEVER, If these 2014 cuts go through..... rumor has it that some deep pocket tennis folks will be starting a new tennis association
    and TRN will cover those matches.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
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  16. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    My son turned 16 a month ago. He is a junior attending a public school. In the last 12 months, he played a total of 20 junior tournaments including 10 regionals and nationals (6 of them during summer break) and 4 men's opens. He missed a total of 7 school days, 4 of them for Eater Bowl. He trains at least 2 hrs every day plus 1-2 hrs commuting to clinics and back home. Luckily he is able to also keep up with his school work. He has a 4.4/4.0 weighted GPA and is ranked top 10% in his class. For him, tennis is helpful to his academics since it makes him healthier (he only missed one day of school due to stomach flu), more focused in his study and more efficient in time uses.

    But I fully agree with you that it's important to minimize the missed school days. We would wish that our spring break coincides with Easter Bawl! It makes more sense that a national event runs Saturday to Monday, as most kids would be home Sunday night.

    I also agree with many parents that it's not a good idea to reduce the draw size of national events. My son was always more motivated to train harder after the national events, especially after a tough loss. He played his first national open when he was 12. He won one match only. However, it's that tournament that gave him confidence and the desire to improve his game.

    BTW, my son always takes his backpack with him when we are out of town for tournament during the school year. He usually could squeeze in an hour here and there for his school work. So, just treat these days as home schooling. We also took a couple of hours visiting the college - my son's school won't consider it a missed school day.

    Good luck to your daughter!
     
    #16
  17. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like you got a great kid!!! Congrats on all your success!!!!
     
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  18. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    ===========================
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
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  19. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    Does anyone's spring break coincide with the Easter Bowl? It's a week after spring break around my parts. Just wondering...
     
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  20. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    "He missed a total of 7 school days, 4 of them for Eater Bowl. He trains at least 2 hrs every day plus 1-2 hrs commuting to clinics and back home. Luckily he is able to also keep up with his school work. He has a 4.4/4.0 weighted GPA and is ranked top 10% in his class."

    Thanks Chemist. Very uplifting and encouraging.
     
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  21. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    Harry, sometimes your long winded posts make a few good points. But please try to post some shorter tidbits. I would think much of it gets lost with people not wanting to read a novel."

    Hey Semi-Pro, with all due respect, then don't read my posts :) . . . I'll post as I see fit, whether that's short or long. I have no interest in responding to the rest of what you said although I did read it all :). Hopefully, this is short enough for you.

    Have a great day.
     
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  22. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    They always pick an odd week for the Easter Bowl.
     
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  23. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Most schools have spring breaks, not Easter breaks, and they tend to be in March, as this nicely divides the Jan-May semester. Depending on when Easter lands in a given year, particularly if it lands early like it does this year, it may include Easter week, but I think this is a coincidence more than a rule. The Easter Bowl/Spring championships are generally scheduled for Mid-April, after everyone has already gone back to school, and it too only coincidentally coincides with Easter despite its name.
     
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  24. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    My child attended public school and was also limited to number of missed school days, when she had to miss school days, we called in sick.

    You gotta do what you gotta do
     
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  25. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    The same for my son's school. It helped my son last year because he got to sleep more than 10 hours every day in that week. We also arrived in CA two days before the tournament started to get used to outdoor courts.
     
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