So, I'm a crazy tennis parent?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by BMC9670, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Anyone else get this feeling from others in the community?

    I often get looks and comments from other parents about how I take my son's tennis too seriously. He's 8. I think tennis parents get an undue reputation because to others it seems like we're out there all day every day Mike-Agassi-ing our kids. In reality, he practiced 3-4 times a week for 1 1/2 hours and played 4 tournaments this summer. So, total hours a week are around 8. He loves tennis and had lots of time to do other things.

    Now, compare that to other sports and it's no different. His friends that play soccer have camps that last all day for several weeks, play in leagues that have practice 3-4 days a week and play tournaments. His friends that play baseball practice everyday for hours and play tournaments. His friends that play football are practicing 4 days a week in full pads, in August heat, and have games on weekends. Other parents are just as fanatical about their sports.

    So, why am I the crazy one? My theory is that tennis has little to no infrastructure. It's usually a parent, a coach, or maybe a isolated clinic/camp. If it's a parent like me, we're always seen at the club, seemingly every day for hours and hours, whereas other sports have the drop-off and out-of-site factor.

    Other tennis parents, what do you think?
     
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  2. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    who cares what others think do what is best for you and you kid.....

    wait till you homeschool and be on the courts all day then.........:)
     
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  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    If he is on the court 8 hours per week on average, you are not a crazy tennis parent. When I played tennis as a teen, a slow week would be only 8 hours on the court. My parents didn't push me at all, I just loved to play and still do.
     
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  4. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, that's my point. Around here, this is what I seem like to other parents. I don't think they realize the lengths some people go to. I'm trying to develop his interest and love for the game along with the skill and not try and burn him out or get him injured. But, I try and teach him that if your going to do something, you should do it the best you can.
     
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  5. hound 109

    hound 109 Rookie

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    Yep....we're crazy.

    I spend more time with my kid now that he plays tennis than when he played baseball or basketball. He's a complete tennis junkie (so he's loving it....) & I enjoy spending time with him (& have always enjoyed watching him compete).

    Tennis & Golf, (& gymnastics??) being individual sports will always have parents that will be perceived as "crazy". Probably accurate in some ways for most of us....but also a function of everything that you mentioned & because it's an individual sport.
     
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  6. jagmeister

    jagmeister New User

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    IMO, you're only "crazy" if you are the one pushing the child to play those hours. If the child is the one requesting to play, you are simply making the child happy. As the parent, as long as you are maintaining a healthy balance between tennis and other life activities for the child, you are just being a good parent.
     
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  7. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I get talked about alot in my town as well about my daughter playing too much tennis and people say she needs to be a normal 8 year old.I tell them so i need to let her come home from school and watch cartoons and sit around or play video games? My daughter told me that she wants to become a professional tennis player so im doing everything i can to help her reach her goal.If people want to talk bad about me because we are on the court 2 hours a day and they see her jogging thru the neighborhood ohh well let em talk.Keep doing what you are doing as long as your son wants it.
     
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  8. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    If you're worried about what others think, that's a flag. Don't let it consume you because it can, and it will chew you up and spit you out quicker than a hiccup. It's a great sport, and that's all it is. That's a safe perspective.
     
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  9. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    I have a 8 yr old son too and we play about the same as you, 4-5 times a week for 1.5 hours each. I would say about 7-8 hours/week max.

    I love the fact that tennis for ~8 hours a week cuts down on their xbox or PS2 or TV games.

    However, I do not get the crazy parent look in the community. The neighbour's actually compliment me on spending so much time playing with my son. I also used to take the neighbour's kids and my son's classmates for tennis, and they love that the most.

    On the other hand, I get the strange comments at the tennis courts. I get the usual.. "Your son and you live out here" comments. I am bringing him up as a classical 1HBH s&v player, and I get a bunch of comments on my training methods like:
    s&v is a losing strategy
    continental is dead even in the forecourt :)
    eastern FH is outdated.. switch him to western
    1HBH is outdated.. switch him immediately to 2HBH
    chip and charge is dead...
    why do you spend 30 minutes a day on service returns?
    why do you spend 30 minutes a day on serve drills? :)
    why do you waste half his time around the net?
    serve and service returns are less important in today's baseline game.. :)
    those soft balls (currently QuickStart Green 78 ) are useless.. move him to regular balls

    My son loves tennis and especially when I arrange a group for him which is every weekend. He loves to play at the courts and show off when people are watching him. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
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  10. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I'm not worried about what people think, but think it's interesting that if you spend time with your kid, teach them a great sport, have an organized practice schedule and lesson plan, people think your obsessive.
     
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  11. tacoben

    tacoben Semi-Pro

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    I like to think of it as a "journey" that my daughter and I are undertaking. I like to keep in perspective....that the tennis is my child's choice, and for as long as that is so, then I am happy to tag along. As a parent two years in the junior scene, I must admit that it can breed a certain kind of disfuntionality that you as a parent can only identify. Your investing money and time, which can be consuming. It's also about "pushing" your kids to be the best they can be but also know that there bounderies. If one day she tell me that she doesn't want to do tennis anymore, I will....admittedly, be dissapointed, but that is something I will have to accept.
     
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  12. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    WOW! This is pretty much exactly us! I think what looks over the top to people is that I don't just go out and hit, but have a plan and organize our sessions. We do throwing, catching, footwork, etc. I try to make it like an organized sport as I think it's most productive and keeps it fresh for him.

    Funny story about Green 78 balls: We were playing a set with them at the end of our practice one day and some guys began hitting next to us. After a while, one of them came over and offered us a can of balls because he thought ours were dead. (Nice gesture!) When I showed him what they were, he thought it was great how my son was really ripping into them with great form and playing points.
     
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  13. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    I think I might agree with the "switch him to a semi-western forehand" and don't work much on chip and charge.
     
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  14. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Semi is the way to go. And all court game is the way to go. Longer to learn but the dividends are huge and it's a fun way to play the game!
     
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  15. BMC9670

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    He started out with an Eastern FH and has naturally moved it toward Semi. I would call it a "strong" Eastern at this point. 2HBH from the baseline is strong. 1H slice backhand is coming along and can get him out of trouble. He's pretty good at net (yes, we do work on volleys and net play). Sounds pretty all-court to me.
     
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  16. Jeffy005

    Jeffy005 Rookie

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    Lol yeh homeschool is the best way to do if you want your kid to become a pro... lets say he gets homeschooled for 4 hours a day and the rest of his day is all about tennis!!! :eek::eek:
     
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  17. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    You are doing it right.They should start off with the eastern and progress to the semi western.I see alot of young kids 7,8,9,playing with a western grip.The reason they start using the western grip is because they are having to hit so many balls over their heads.
     
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  18. Gemini

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    I guess I've always thought a tennis parent differently. More along the negatives. I was at Emory U. one Sunday getting ready for a hit and there was a dad coaching his daughter, who I would say was about 14, on an adjacent court. When she would execute a shot "incorrectly", he would somewhat berate her. It was uncomfortable for me to listen to and watch that exchange. That's what I think of when I think "tennis parent".

    My family has always had a great relationship through tennis. Though my dad doesn't play, my mom does and that's how I got into it. My uncles (mom's brothers) would play daily and we'd spend time with them on the courts. It got a point where we'd easily spend up to 10 hours a week on court. In all of that time, I never got "tennis parenting" from any of the relatives I would work out with.

    That fact that you're dedicated to helping your child become a better player through structure doesn't make you a "tennis parent" by my definition.
     
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  19. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    My mother in law hates it that my daughter plays so much tennis.She is always fussing to my wife that i am trying to live out my dreams through my daughter.It is getting to the point now that she is telling my daughter that i am trying to live out my dreams through her.I guess i am in a way because i played college tennis and tried to play on the next level but i wasnt good enough.I really dont see anything wrong with that as long as she loves tennis as much as me.I am not gonna lie and say that it isnt my dream for her to play professionally but as long as she loves to practice and play whats the problem. I AM A CRAZY TENNIS PARENT!!
     
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  20. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    The first step is admitting that you have a problem...LOL!
     
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  21. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, you hear this a lot and it goes along with "let them decide". The problem is, a child at 5,6,7 rarely "chooses" anything. You have to provide opportunities for them to try things out and be successful at it. Now I'm not saying "make" your kid play tennis, but hey, we're a tennis family. I play, my wife plays, our friends play, so our kids are around it a lot. It's only natural for us to teach it to them.

    When my son was 5 and 6, he wouldn't ask to play tennis. In fact, he wouldn't ask to do anything. I would say, "we're going to the courts, do you want to come and play?" and he always said "Sure." and enjoyed himself. Now, at 8, he's hooked because he's getting good. He's proud of it. I also watch tennis with him and take him to the US Open every year.

    Lastly, I think it's important to look at what your kids are suited to. My son is tall, thin, has good eye-hand, and can think on his feet. I think he has the best chance to succeed at tennis and basketball. He's just not built for baseball, football, or soccer. He played soccer up until this year but has never showed an interest in baseball or football, but again, I think in part because I'm not into those sports. So, I think there is a fine line between making them play a specific sport, and encouraging it to develop an interest and love for the game.
     
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  22. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Well below the threshold for "crazy"
     
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  23. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I CANT HELP IT!!!!
     
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  24. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    you are only a KRAZY tennis parent if you.......

    1. Do not see reality based on your kid's skill level. Lots of parents "think" their kid will make it bigtime but have no idea how tough it is out there.

    2. Condone your kid to cheat.

    3. Continue to pay for lessons when they are clearly not interested in playing.

    4. Give other opponents parents dirty looks during tourny matches.

    5. Over excessive bragging to others how their kid "Champed" or "Supered" up.lol

    6. Spending over 5k a month on lessons (fed balls)


    Other than that, i think its ok to push your child as long as it makes sense. Every situation is different.
     
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  25. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    any of you parents here have videos online of your kid? I'd like to see....
     
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  26. Gemini

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    Number 4: There was a kid I used to play against in local tournaments every now and then when I was high school whose mother would do this but not just to my family...to me as well. He was very cool but she was creepy.
     
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  27. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    I forgot number 7


    7. Parents who grab their kids ears and yank them to the car after a loss. Or slap them upside the head. I've seen this.
     
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  28. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    you are only a KRAZY tennis parent if you.......
    ....
    8 . Put up video snippets online to proudly display your tennis prodigy :)
     
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  29. Soianka

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    There are a lot of "crazy tennis parents" out there who try to live vicariously through their children's tennis accomplishments.

    In fact, I think most parents of junior tennis players are a little (or a lot) maladjusted.

    I imagine that parents with children involved in other sports are probably similarly afflicted.

    It's kind of sad actually.
     
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  30. Soianka

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    On 2nd thought, there are definitely lots of crazy parents with children involved in other activities.

    Ever seen Toddlers and Tiaras?

    Lots of crazy pageant parents, which is really sad because I don't think learn how to bop around stage, wear too much makeup and look ridiculous are valuable life skills.

    At least with tennis, there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned.

    But more tennis parents should play the game...there are adult championships, etc...instead of pushing their children so hard.
     
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  31. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    lol. very true. However some do it to send to people for advice. But to showoff as a prodigy is crazy.
     
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  32. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    what makes sense to you does not make sense to others, surprise surprise !!!! yes every situation is different
     
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  33. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    What's wrong with that? Some moms are FINE! :wink:
     
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  34. xrxpapi12

    xrxpapi12 Rookie

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    you wouldn't wanna show off if you gave life to a potential Goat? lol
     
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  35. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    Good thread. Lol.
    I think every parent who has got there kid into tennis at a young age would live to see them become pro and possibly win majors. That's normal.
    I think you always got to make it fun for them and ensure that they want to play. If they don't find it fun, get them out to so they can do something else. I agree that a very young child isn't going to say "come on dad, I need to go and work on my backhand". You've just got to provide them with the opportunity to go out and play.
    Most parents don't realise that getting your child into a sport is one of the best ways of improving there social development (team sports / group classes) whilst also promoting fitness for your child.
    Playing 8 hours of sport a week should be encouraged rather than frowned on. All IMO though but I would say that, I'm a tennis dad. Lol.
     
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  36. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    very good post. I agree with you here.
     
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  37. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I am going to post some video because i would love to see what you guys think about her strokes.I think it would be great to get some HONEST feedback from some of you guys.Their might be something someone on this board sees that they think needs correcting.I think it is a great idea to post some video on this site.I dont think she is a prodigy she is just a hard worker and i am SO SO proud of her!!!!
     
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  38. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I want you guys to be honest.I am going to try to video her this weekend during her tournament.This forum has been a great tool for my daughters tennis.I have met several people in person from this forum that have become very helpful in my daughters journey.
     
    #38
  39. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    Goodluck on her tourny. Keep it fun!
     
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  40. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    I don't think Jan is the best i've seen but he's definitely not the worst.
     
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  41. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    THANKS! She loves tournaments.I think she likes meeting new friends as much or more than actually playing.
     
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  42. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    how neutral and politically correct, very cute
     
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  43. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    cliche, how boring
     
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  44. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    The kids great, but that's what I would define as crazy tennis parents:
    They moved their entire family to europe to put a 6? yr old in a tennis academy there?
    Started a website with his name!
    Videos of him splashed all over the internet.
    TV promotions etc..
     
    #44
  45. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your dream as long as you have a Plan B for her (which I'm sure you do). As you already know, it's difficult to make it into the professional ranks. And with game going global, it's even harder.
     
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  46. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I know she has a better chance of getting struck by lightning than making it on the pro tour.I just have big dreams for her but i know in reality she will probably be a great college tennis player and i would be just as happy.She is a very good student. Her mother and i are both teachers so you know we stay on her about her academics.
     
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  47. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    GA TENNIS, I was reading through this thread a bit and just wanted to give you a compliment. I also think CHALKFLEWUP makes a very good point above. You seem very grounded and balanced about your approach to helping your daughter with her tennis. You remind me a lot of how my father was with me while I was growing up playing junior tennis. My opponents and even friends thought he was a "bit over the top", but he was just so involved in my development. After a while though, by the end of high school, many of my friends understood him and actually wondered, "hey why is MY dad not so helpful and involved with ME the way his dad is?"

    By the way, ANOTHER big bonus of having my dad right there during matches was that young kids almost never "acted up" or tried to cheat with him right there, watching it all. He was a tough cookie. I remember once that I got defaulted because they gave me a wrong start time. He stood up to the TD for me (12 and under tourney) and basically said, no, YOU WILL let them play. You gave us a wrong time, not our fault..

    He was at every one of my USTA matches and of course he would be there for lessons often too. When I was younger, I used to bristle somewhat because I felt a lot of pressure as I tried to learn and get better. After a while though, I did not like the thought of him NOT being right there watching tough matches. By about 16 or so, I wanted him there as it gave me so much confidence, knowing what he was thinking. He was not a good tennis player, but he was the most important coach/role model for me, because I watched and learned from his approach to things more than anything else (very hard work, being extremely goal oriented, cross training/getting fit in addition to lots of tourneys, taking lessons, traveling and playing tough players, working on your ranking, striving for the pros knowing that you may never really "make it", and most importantly NEVER neglect your academics and lead a clean/good life.)

    Those are just a few of the life lessons I learned by about 15 or so and if it wasn't for him and Tennis, I seriously doubt whether I would have learned so much at a young age. Competitive Tennis can make you grow up quick and in the right way if you have parents like my father and mother (extremely devoted, helpful, tough as nails when needed,loving, and willing to do just about anything to help me succeed). Keep it up, your daughter seems like a very lucky girl. Don't let what others say/think get to you. Part of this is likely due to the fact that you are so committed and helpful to your daughter. Some parents/kids are threatened by that in a strange way. They see it as "too much competition" for their kids, yet that's the wrong way to look at it in my opinion. By the way, my father and I remain very close to this day (mother too) and I owe so much to his involvement with me and my tennis. It was a "lifesaver" for me, it really was. I learned more on the court than I ever have in the many classrooms I have sat in. So your daughter should "go for it" in my opinion, as she maximizes her potential, but keep things in perspective and stay cognizant of the fact that school/career/family should stay at the top of the priority list. You have found that right balance and you can surely maintain it as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
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  48. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Borg number one!
     
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  49. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    BMC, just wanted to compliment you too. Good job, that's not easy. Keep it up and don't worry about other parents. Your son will never forget what you are helping him with. The Sport should eventually become secondary to that critical/important relationship between parent-child, yet it seems like you have the right approach. Tennis is "no joke" and you recognize how much work you have to put in to develop a good young tennis player. I salute all the great tennis parents out there, because I know how hard that job is.
     
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  50. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    You're most welcome. My pleasure sir.
     
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