The Emperor Has No Clothes (reblogged from 10sBalls.com)

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tennis5, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

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    Happy Medium?

    Remember what we saw at Little Mo's with the two moms yelling, actually screaming, at each other over the 8 year old matches?

    I was telling them to stop while shielding my 8 year old and the tournament director and staff weren't doing anything?

    I wish I had a camera.
     
    #51
  2. TCF

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    barringer, we are in the same boat. My girl is very talented, when we arrange matches where adults are around to keep order, she is so fun to watch. Hits killer shots, has a ball playing tennis. Same with basketball, she loves it and is very good at it.

    Everyone that meets her loves her. She is so nice that the other kids flock to her. Just one of those sweet people everyone enjoys being with.

    But at these S. FL. tournaments she is like raw meat. She gets bullied, the scores are changed, the line calls messed with over and over. She tries to stand her ground but after a while the very aggressive girls wear her down.

    She does great against honest girls at tournaments, even very talented ones. She does great in practice matches. But there are so many bullies these days in the juniors down here it is just depressing to play these tournaments.

    It stinks. Shy but talented kids can shine in EVERY sport but junior tennis because adults are there to supervise.
     
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  3. TCF

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    We tried the Little Mo a few weeks ago. Nightmare. Parents yelling at kids in green dots for goodness sakes.

    The first match we played, 2 dads of kids on the next court got nose to nose yelling. I stepped between them. They said they would "meet in the parking lot".

    Another boy in our group won his first round match. Afterwards his dad saw his son's opponent sitting in the car in the parking lot while his dad screamed at him so loud that he could hear it from 50 feet away.

    My kid's first match the girl started bullying from the start. But she gave up as the levels were so far apart and my kid won 6-2, 6-0.

    Her next match the girl called any ball out of reach as out. If my girl hit the net on a serve, the girl would pump her fist, walk toward her, and say "yeah, lets go!!". She actually taunted my girl's every mistake....while her coach, mother, and brother sat next to the court and watched.

    A dang nightmare, even Little Mo 9s.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
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  4. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    The obviously question is why not play games with an umpire?
    I mean how hard is it to take a class and volunteer?
     
    #54
  5. TCF

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    Imagine if the USTA spent the millions wasted on high performance on making these tournaments more like other sports, and more like pro tennis. More supervision.

    High school seniors, college kids, retirees.....it would not be hard to find people to umpire these matches for a few bucks.

    If you could magically make every junior tennis match supervised, it would be comical how fast the standings would change. The cheaters and bullies would implode and lose most matches.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
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  6. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Well as I said if it bothers you step up and volunteer!
     
    #56
  7. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    Yeah... it gets crazy sometimes around here. It's a bit less in the major tournaments (Southerns, Regional, National), but it's rampant in the lv 3-5 tournaments and high school matches, where there are literally no officials or refs.

    Especially high school tennis. Line calls are a nightmare. Bullying can be a big problem since one or two coaches can't supervise all 6 matches at a time.
     
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  8. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    That's strange, I found that my high school matches were the best in terms of cheating. I got along well enough with my opponents, and we were pretty honest with the calls. It was more the tournaments that I saw get out of control; maybe high school tennis is different when there are more ranked players on the teams? I guess in my area the only ranked players were at the #1 singles spots (the occasional #2), so the cheating wasn't as bad.
     
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  9. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    That's exactly what I meant.... except in reverse. The more high ranked players at no.1 singles (that are nationally ranked) tend to cheat less than the JV and lower Varsity.... or that's the way it is here.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think the cheating thing is vastly exaggerated by the parents of the losers. I have done several junior tourneys now and may be called to work at one tomorrow, and I don't see that. It may be along the same lines as the claim of a poster in the Pro Player section that the USTA spent "all their money" on Donald Young.
     
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  11. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    I think you are right.

    When I read accounts of people describing their child as the perfect prince or princess and all other kids as evil itself my BS detector start to turn on. Add to that 'Russians this and Russians that' talk and I think objectivity goes completely out the door.

    As parents all we can do is to give our children perspective: it is just a game and to teach them to never argue line calls.

    This is from an article describing Arthur Ashe playing a game against Nastase:

    In nineteen seventy-five, Arthur Ashe played against Ilie Nastase in the Masters tennis games in Stockholm, Sweden. Nastase was out of control. He delayed the game. He called Ashe bad names.

    Finally, Arthur Ashe put down his tennis racket and walked off the tennis court. He said, "I've had enough. I'm at the point where I'm afraid I'll lose control. " The officials were shocked; Ashe was winning the game. One official told him he would lose if he walked out of the game. Ashe said, "I don't care. I'd rather lose that than my self-respect. "


    http://www.manythings.org/voa/people/Arthur_Ashe.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
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  12. JohnYandell

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    I coached high school tennis for 30 years. 95% of all the matches were fine. The kids mainly knew who was "supposed" to win and followed suit.

    The parents could be another thing--talking to their children, cheering for errors, nasty to other players or opposing coaches. But a few direct words could usually quash that.

    Maybe in that time 4 or 5 teams we played went thru cheating phases. This was almost always with the tacit approval or even active collusion of the coaches. This is where the problems arose because if the opposing coach won't help enforce the rules and creates an antagonistic environment it is a lot tougher.

    Often we would get two linesmen--a parent or player from each team and that would quiet things down. In the worst case we started a league championship match with 2 volunteers one from each school on 7 courts--every match! Literally the whole opposing school from the chairman of the board on down (his daughter played) were part of the intimidation effort. Questioning calls from ball one--players and parents. Wild inappropriate cheering, parents confronting coaches with obscenity laced comments. Wild!

    But in the championship match with all the scrutiny, the cheating team folded like a cheap suit. Very satisfying. And it showed the kids that they could stand up for themselves--they were all behind the call for umpires--and thatadults would stand up for them and help create a fair environment. Big positive lessons.

    But the point is that they should never have been in that position--the matches should all have officiating. Tennis is like the wild wild west and the fastest gun (quickest cheater) can often get away with a lot. I guess that's a life lesson--but not one that should be a regular part of tennis.
     
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  13. TCF

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    suresh and newpball....I totally agree that many parents and kids use cheating as an excuse for why kids lose. I have seen that a hundred times.

    But I can also tell you that our section...SE.FL., has changed dramatically the last few years. A Russian group purchased a failing tennis community. 12 courts surrounded by dilapidated townhouses and apartments. Over the last 2 years they have filled the housing with kids from Russia. These kids now fill a third of the draws down here. They are taught to cheat. We went and trained with them for 2 three hour sessions and saw it first hand.

    Also, our section has a large amount of affluent kids of all nationalities. The parents and kids are very cut throat.

    I used to think exactly like you do. In fact, when we travel to other sections, even just to central FL., its totally different. We played a tournament in Melbourne FL and it was a pleasure. The parents and kids were so polite and honest.

    All I can say is you have to see it for yourself. The SE. FL. section, from W. Palm Beach through Miami is unlike anything you have ever seen in regards to the parents and kids. You do not have to take my word for it, come see for yourself.

    By the way, apparently others have seen the cheating:

    http://www.tennisnews.com/exclusive.php?pID=26799
     
    #63
  14. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    My son does not play USTA tourney. We have both seen the girls cheat crazily as explained. In 5 USTA girls 14 and under matches we were practicing next to 2 had blatant cheating. 2 out of 5. In the 3 boys matches we were next to no cheating. The boys barely spoke and hardly ever called score lol. This was all last winter in an indoor club.
     
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  15. TCF

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    The boys are very different. They are likely to yell "hey dude that ball was out" and move on with the game. Or say nothing and go get the official.

    The girls have a much wider variety of tricks and the cheating is 100 times worse with the girls than the boys. I think it is worse because it works with girls. The mean girls are very likely to get the desired reaction, the other girl losing focus, crying, quitting, etc.
     
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  16. TCF

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    After reading this all I can say is you really need to come visit us in SE FL. I will take you to a tournament and let you watch.

    I challenge you to come away not seeing what we see here....the Russian girls behave differently than other girls in tennis. And their parents are the most aggressive folks you will ever meet. Think about where they come from, how far they have come, and why they are here with their daughters....its to WIN at tennis, no matter what.

    I also challenge you to tell your kid to "never argue line calls". If your player does that in the SE FL G 12s she will rarely get past the first round. She will be eaten for lunch down here. Unless your goal is to allow her to lose every match in the first round, you HAVE to argue line calls, go get officials, in order to win matches here.

    This ain't Nor Cal! Come see for yourself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
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  17. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    Sure that happens.... but when people I face cheat, it's very subtle. The most frustrating match I ever had was a major regional tournament a couple years back... Very close match, I lost 6-3,3-6,13-11.

    The thing is, I lost 1 or 2 points in the tiebreaker because the other person made some very questionable line calls. Very frustrating...

    But it doesn't happen as often in the boys section. And unless it comes at a crucial part of the match... most guys gets over it. It might be different in the girls section though.


    PS. What high school district do y'all go to? It was just a couple months ago when we went against an opponent, I wrapped up my match 6-1, 6-1 and went to watch our no.4 guy play. He hit a ball that was literally 6 inches in and his opponent called it out. Wow...
     
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  18. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    1) typing on my phone, so please ignore typos.

    2) This was not written by Wayne Bryan, he has no problem signing his name, and his style of writing is a bit disorganized, although the message is on target.
    Also, Wayne would have complained that the USTA is doing nada about the large percentage of foreigners in college tennis.

    3) I posted this bc I would like to keep alive the conversation of the USTA's leadership being a train wreck, the large salaries spent on employees ( good old boy network) for a not for profit,
    the large sum of $ spent on a handful of kids.


    4) TCF - I am flabbergasted by the change of tone.
    When I use to complain about the cheating, you would reply
    that it wasn't bad.... Whatever.
    In regards to the girls, the cheating is the same as the boys.
    The difference is it has a meaner, more dramatic tone.
    And later on, the girls start backstabbing each other over the boys. Then it gets really nasty.... There is no sense of sisterhood any more.

    5) Russian kids who come here, cheat. Period.
    Their parents push them to do it and the parents now yell at the refs, if the refs overrule their kid's call.
    So, in this example, having more refs wouldn't help
    as the refs are just being either ignored or being yelled at by these parents.

    6) I blame the TD. They are letting the tournaments spin out of control. Last week, in Denver, in the Boys 18's, there were not enough refs and two parents were screaming at each other. It disrupted the kids playing. I thought the TD would ask the parents to leave and he did nothing.

    Anyway, I think the article was thought provoking.
    However, it doesn't mention the heavy handed way the USTA changed the tournament structure when every parent and private coach objected at the listening meetings.
    It doesn't ask the question, of why today in 2013, any parent would spend all this money on a sport when most likely their boy will receive no scholarship money.
    Please post this article elsewhere ( giving credit to the original source ).
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
    #68
  19. TCF

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    All I can speak for is the SE FL. section. I have been going with kids to tournaments for 15 years now. Over the last 2 or so the cheating has escalated. It used to be you would see 4 out of 5 matches played fairly. Now it is about 50-50.
     
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  20. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I am from southeast New York. I think the cheating isn't as bad here because the lower kids (from 2-3 singles on down to the doubles) treat high school tennis as enjoyment. They don't care too much about winning or losing (there are exceptions, of course). The top guys for the most part are pretty good about not cheating, possibly because their matches almost never affect the meet results, and most of those matches are mismatches. When a four star #1 plays a two star #1, and they're both the same age, there's no need to cheat. Then, when you have two four star guys going at it, they won't cheat because they want to put on a good show for the other players and parents.
     
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  21. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Wow, if it is so bad in SE Florida then the only way in my opinion to force a change is to expose it. I mean everybody got smartphones with video now, so record some of that stuff and throw it on YouTube. First the USTA will try to sweep it under the rug, other parents will get angry for you being a 'traitor' but once it gets wide attention and then everybody is suddenly concerned and on your side.

    But the bigger question is why are kids and parents like that? I mean they are only fooling themselves right?

    Still I think it is a good idea to teach kids not to argue points, you can make a comment that you think the call was wrong but if it is not your call to make there is really no point arguing and besides it takes away the concentration on the game. And to what purpose to argue, it is after all just a game, I mean we are not talking about qualifying for Wimbledon right?
     
    #71
  22. TCF

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    I think we are just in an unusual place compared to anywhere else in the US. SE FL has so many tennis academies of all sizes in a small area. So you have lots of parents spending lots of money on tennis. Add to that the relatively recent Russian influx. Both those groups have tremendous pressure to win, either to justify the expense of the academies or to justify being so far from home just for tennis for the Russian girls.

    I think there is just so much pressure on these kids to win, and that seems to create a cheating 'arms race'. Either join them or be out in the first round.

    I suppose its up to each family to answer your last question. Do not argue, let it be, its just a game......but then you are basically paying $40-50 to go to a tournament and be cheated out in the first round.

    If you ever do come down and watch, one thing will jump out at you. If it is ever 30-30 and you are playing a Russian or academy kid, your player will never, ever be up 40-30. They always take the point at 30-30, no matter if they have to call a ball out that is in by 6 feet. Its pretty much a standard that at 30-30 your player will be guaranteed to lose the next point. Thats SE FL. cheating 101, so just expect it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
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  23. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    All family dramas waiting to happen, only a few will really make it and the rest will fail disillusioned and many dollars lighter. Most worked incredibly hard and gave up so much basically for nothing.

    I think that is counterproductive, sure kids need to learn how to win, not everybody has a natural cut throat mentality, but winning due to cheating will get you nowhere once you go into tournaments with umpires.
     
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  24. boramiNYC

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    interesting read. thanks op.

    i've been on the side believing US tennis player development culture could be better. Considering the depth and challenges tennis can provide in personal growth in so many levels, it could be much more popular than now. I wouldn't join the blame game, but I just hope things change for the better.
     
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  25. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    It can be.

    Aside from all the bitterness about how much money Pmac makes, which I confess I have been a part of, the bigger picture is this:

    USTA is a non-profit organization which generates an extra-ordinary amount of money(through the US Open). The mandate of the organization is to (use those funds) to grow the game.

    Player development is part of that. However, compared to LTA, USTA spends approximately 50% less of it cash flow on PD relative LTA, and on top of that, it spends a disproportionate amount on a small group of "pets", aka, "prospects" identified subjectively by PD. LTA has transparent and objective standards on how aid is distributed.

    It's that simple. USTA is a non-profit. Disbursements of funds needs to be transparent and objective. That's not the way they operate. They operate like an old boys club and they get away with doing whatever the **** they want(including paying themselves 700K a year salaries) it with impunity. To quote PMAC himself, if you dont like me, vote me out.

    As long as no one has the balls to stand up to them, then they get away with it. End of story.

    This is where we are.

    "They laugh cause they know they're untouchable, and not becuase what I say is wrong......"
     
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  26. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I didn't read the entire article but from the get-go there is one thing that stands out to me in particular.

    The second part I bolded above in red appears to be a defence of the American "way" per se - stopping just short of standing on a box proclaiming it to be un-American to suggest American kids have simply got life too easy and therefore aren't learning to sacrifice to achieve. Regardless of it being basically framed as such the fact is it's kind of obvious to anyone who looks at the American players on tour compared to the Spanish ones (amongst others).

    When I look at the likes of Querrey, Isner, Young, Sock I see players who are more flawed in their basic skillset regardless of what they've got good going on than their same age peers from elsewhere. Almost without fail it appears they came through a system which allowed them to succeed locally or at the lower level while ignoring the shortcomings in their games (parents play a big part in this too fyi - just as many potentially great players have been ruined by their parents meddling with their development as have become great because of it). For most they built their games around a huge serve and forehand - or attempted to - and it's as if, using Roddick as a template, they thought being so good at a few things would cover flaws enough - but the higher up the skill level you go the less this holds true. BUT it does hold true through the juniors, college tennis and the lower levels of pro tennis and that's where the collective mindset seems stuck.

    By contrast the Spanish crew and guys like Federer/Murray/Djokovic went much further in their efforts to make their failings not so obvious and saw the bigger picture of tennis a lot better.

    Australia and New Zealand have suffered the same issue (and accusations) and it's long been (longer than the US) been a case of players being too results oriented when it comes to measuring progress instead of looking hard and long at the shortcomings and minimising them as much as possible. In the US it's resulted in a wave of players with average movement, average court-craft and lop-sided games where one wing seems to have had 90% of the focus. Roddick, Querrey and Isner again show the pattern. Is it a case of so many players truly being at their peak or not putting in the hard yards to address shortcomings? In tennis, like most individual sports, effort is blurry concept which to some simply means hitting millions of balls or pushing weights etc - but these sort of things rarely ever fix inherent flaws in a game. It's knowledge, being able to apply that knowledge and having a willing, dedicated student that pushes tennis players ahead.

    Most coaches vastly overrate their ability when it comes to player development and most actually know squat about how to raise a player's level that last 5% which is the difference between being ranked #20 or #5. Spain seems to have it coming out of taps. What's so different? Maybe American kids and coaches actually aren't as up to it despite the patriotic outrage at Pat McEnroe's claims.
    -----

    By the time you're playing at pro level, it's often too late to make significant enough changes to bridge the gap from being a player like Isner or Fish who score the odd big scalp each year to being one who can be expected to when the stakes are the highest.

    When I look at Isner and Querrey type players I see guys who look like they are university scholarship types who just eased into college tennis mode, which is absolutely not the prep needed for the pro level. (I know Querrey didn't go down that path but he looks a fair bit like he trained in that mould). In lieu of actual tennis smarts hitting a million balls and doing tons of court sprints seems to be the broad default setting for tennis development these days. Unfortunately that's simply not good enough anymore.
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The patriotic outrage is all the more empty considering how much PMac has done for his country, including playing and captaining Davis Cups. Implying that a quite successful and committed American former pro-player is not patriotic is a transparent ploy to play to the crowd.

    A couple of years ago, there was an article in Inside Tennis (I think) saying that American kids don't practice hard, and there was a burst of outrage led by Vania King in the Letters to the Editors section. Probably closer to the truth is that American kids are expected to do well in school and tennis, unlike the few pros from Europe who have made it to the top.

    What about the Europeans who try to do well in school and tennis? Many of them put up tennis recruiting videos to come to US universities. Which is what will happen to most students anywhere in the world who don't want to throw away their academic options.

    And of course there are all the other factors which are never even mentioned in the article, like lack of good athletes coming into the sport, the economics of it, and other factors. My son is taking a summer class now in a private school which specializes in flexible schedules, and we found out it is a favorite full-time school for 4 golf juniors! I opened the local paper's sports section last week, and after the usual baseball stuff, were 3 articles about golf and 3 ads from golf academies! Tennis was limited to a paragraph about a message from the Queen to Murray or something like that.
     
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  28. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Suresh. Your the only one harping in the so called patriotic outrage. There isn't one from the participants in this thread. Just the fact that pmac does not do a good job. At the core mission of his job. Way to disregard real facts and argue with sensationalist comments.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    then sensationalist comments should not be in the blog. it is a serious accusation against a DC player and not revealing who wrote it shows cowardice. anybody can be an anonymous hero on the internet.
     
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  30. TCF

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    Bobby Jr.'s post is excellent. Sure the USTA wastes money and of course they should do a better job supporting more players.

    But we also have to take ownership of the issues Bobby Jr. mentions. American players many times are allowed to have huge flaws in their games as kids as long as they are winning. Our mentality is win in the 10s and 12s, the trophy is the thing. Ten and under tennis with orange and green balls...cool, now kids can win awards at age 6-7. The development is lost in the trophy hunt.

    I went to a Spanish run academy, hand feeds, drill after drill after drill. Movement, every aspect of the game practiced. I went to a Russian academy, ball machines, drill after drill. Overheads, an hour a day. Volleys, an hour a day. Different serves are practiced over and over. Drop shots are practiced over and over.

    But when I deal with many American kids, eye roll at drills. They want to show up and play. King of the court, practice matches, rallies going for winners every ball. Bash topspin from the baseline day after day.

    We have some very athletic kids in our group. A few of the boys are amazing. They win now but have huge holes as far as having mediocre serves, poor volley skills, etc. But you try to get them to spend 30 minutes working volleys, its a nightmare of complaining.

    The USTA may be lame with player development but the issue is our kids too. Not enough of our best athletes play tennis and many of our tennis kids are not patient enough to develop their entire game like kids from other cultures do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
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  31. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Yeah that's true. But the rest of us here are discussing without the patriotic language. The problem even you agree is lack of kids. So how can the way now work with usat
     
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  32. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I see guys without the ideal size and athleticism for the sport. There are only so many elite athletes out there genetically and tennis is just not getting them.
     
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  33. TCF

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    Of all the factors, this is the biggest one.
     
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  34. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Fair call in the case of Isner and Queerey but not so for Sock and Young regarding height. They should have been working on the physical stuff when they were ages 16-20. That was the time to sow the seeds for the type of athletes you need to be for tennis nowdays. And it's not like it's some big secret - there aren't plenty of perfect examples on show day-in-day-out to look at and take inspiration from.

    In Isner and Queerey's cases I agree they will always be at a disadvantage in the movement department - but in Isner's case it's as if he didn't put any genuine effort into it until he was past his mid 20s. Is this college player syndrome hangover he can't let go of or have they decided to cut their losses and just work on his strengths?
     
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  35. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This is so true - you could substitute your exact examples with what I saw in Spain compared to Australia about 15 years ago. The Spanish kids (I was possibly seeing Almagro/Nadal for all I know) were working like they were hungry for it and then would have a small huddle every 15 minutes where the coach would have words and explain what (and why) they were doing next - then straight back into it. I even saw the kids being put through an end of cardo style tennis routine and then having to immediately step up and serve four serves in a row into the box.

    The Aussie kids I knew who were touched with the hand of luck to be in training systems would just **** around half the time as if getting into the system was the actual goal for half of them. Of that whole crop of top talent not a single player became anything special. I think a few topped out in the mid 100s and then went off to become coaches like most limited players do eventually (and ready to impart their limited tennis knowledge on more players).
    This explains a whole heap. It's easier now that I'm older but when I used to play a lot I would do exactly the same for the things I wasn't comfortable with. When I got back into tennis a few years ago I spent hours upon hours working on the parts of my game that would often let me down. Coaches on courts nearby would often ask me why I was so focussed on certain things and were impressed that I could still dedicate myself like none of his pupils could (or would) even though any chance of being a great player passed me 20+ years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
    #85
  36. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    American kids? I would disagree with that. I've never been to an academy for a year, but I've been to plenty of camps and I've been going to lessons and clinics for a long time.

    Kids work hard. They don't disagree with what the coaches say... complaining at volleys? Seriously? I doubt it... it's almost like a mini-break since it's a bit easier than doing groundstrokes.

    Honestly, for the other kids: I'd like to think when your parents are paying so much for tennis, you'd work harder.
     
    #86
  37. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Camps and clinics? Most kids are on their best behavior at those, new people, coaches they do not usually see.

    I am not talking about going to a camp or clinic and hitting some volleys. I went to visit a Russian academy and saw a 6 year old standing there vs a Playmate machine doing volley after volley for an hour! Then she switched to overheads. Maybe thats nuts at age 6, but the 8-9-10-11-12 year olds did the same thing. An hour just hitting top spin sitters, an hour doing volleys, and hour doing overheads. Day after day after day. 8-11 in the am and 4-7 in the afternoon. 5 days a week, Saturdays are match play.

    Thats a heck of a lot different than you doing some volleys at a camp or clinic and thats what American kids will not do.

    And it works. One of the 9 year old Russian girls is winning G12s here. She is smaller than the American girls but the repetition she endures has made her strokes automatic and lethal.

    Or go to a Spanish academy and watch the coach doing 2 hours of hand feed footwork drills with a kid. Over and over and over again until the footwork is perfect. Day after day. Try getting the typical American tennis kid to buy into that regiment.

    I am talking about when the spot lights are off, when the kids are just with their parent or with a few friends. Thats where the vast majority of improvement takes place and the vast majority of kids are not academy kids. Much of tennis improvement is vs the wall, the machine, vs dad feeding balls.

    There is a huge difference when you talk to as many coaches and dads and observed countless lessons as I have over the years. American kids are much, much, much less likely than kids from other cultures to immerse themselves in the drudgery things needed to become great at tennis.

    Its not just the kids, its also the parents. American parents love early competitions and rewards. Its all about who can win the trophy the earliest. In some other cultures the parents are fine with letting the kids gradually learn the sport before competition.

    This is also seen in other sports. There was a great article posted a while back comparing how American soccer boys are trained vs other countries. Same thing, the American kids and parents were worried about wins and loses right away, the other cultures were more into training, learning, and a more long term approach.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2013
    #87
  38. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Hey...

    ...I do remember. It was not a pretty sight at all. I just don't think it is typical of a weekend tourneys in NorCal. Frankly, the winning mom was outta line, and just a little too protective in trying to preserve the victory for her daughter. Her daughter was in total command despite bad calls from a precious and precocious 6 year old who had some strokes, but clearly could not play and track the score under any sort of stress. Pushy Euro mom lost her cool too and equally Euro dad was a total wuss. Still, I have been on this rodeo hardcore since late 2010 and that was only 1 among 2 incidents I would call unacceptably bad.

    Also, we aren't so mellow in NorCal that cheating doesn't occur, it's just that we are mellow enough that it isn't holding up matches.
     
    #88
  39. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    I think I know who wrote this...

    Not really but i have three really good guesses. Dr. Ray Brown, Bill Patton or Tom Walker. Brown and Walker have signed their names on screeds in the past so take that for what you will.

    It isn't so bad a broadside that a person should fear reprecussion. McEnroe is a New Yorker, I'm pretty sure he can take it.
     
    #89
  40. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    This is probably an unrealistic idea, but here's my suggestion for controlling cheating kids and crazy parents at the same time: have the parents watch over the matches like tournament officials. But here's the kicker, the parents don't call their own kids' matches.

    So, instead of little Mikey and little Billy cheating each other while their parents go at it behind the fences, you have Mikey and Billy playing with Matt's dad looking over them, Matt playing David with Mikey's dad officiating, Jason and Todd playing with Billy's dad officiating, and so on. That way, each match has a neutral adult watching over the match.

    If each kid had at least one parent with them, you'd actually have enough to have two adults watching each match if you like.

    You could do that all the way to the semifinal, and then have a tournament official watch over the final.
     
    #90
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't think this falls into the category of a government whistle blower but more like an Internet coward hiding under the cover of anonymity and pretending to be a martyr.

    BTW, TW has a policy of not allowing blogs or links to blogs in this forum, as posters were using it as a defense against posting it themselves. Are the mods looking into this? I am wondering if I should report the thread.
     
    #91
  42. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    I had an email exchange with USTA Florida about that very thing. Offered to help arrange parent volunteers. The response was that most parents want to watch their kid so no one would want to officiate other matches and miss their kid's match. Also was told that many kids go to the same academies or know each other so the parents might have conflicts of interest and it would be hard to tell which parents were friends with which other kid's families.

    I also suggested having local college kids or seniors work the matches for a small fee. I was told that each tournament director is free to employ as many USTA trained officials as they desire for their tournaments.

    So basically the USTA put it back on the directors to fix the problem.
     
    #92
  43. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    It's a numbers game. It's not realistic to say Oh so and so is big and athletic enough so they should make it to be #1 in the world. No. You need lots of guys trying - all of whom are very athletic and big and strong enough to be champions. This is the kind of culture that brings sport domination. In the US all our athletes are going to be play football, basketball and baseball. Kids start to specialize early and they just aren't picking tennis.

    Like I said before its the same with all the unpopular sports. Want to dominate a sport? Then get lots of kids involved in it..The US is for example was pretty decent at trick snowboard riding. That's because we had a culture of young kids who liked to go up to our mountains and snowboard. Its not necessary that its a huge amount of kids - but at least equivalent to the competition. What Pat needs is a lighthouse kind of player. A guy to come along and do well in US tennis again so that other young kids will start to want to play. And not just a few sons of a tennis coach - or some Doctor's kid.. But the top athletes..

    What you might not realize if you aren't 'plugged in' to HS athletes is that the top athletes have brothers, sisters, cousins and other family members who aren't just good at sports they are also professional athletes and/or played at a top program.

    There is a huge genetic component to athleticism - and unless you are getting those elite athletes you are not going to dominate. Tennis is just not seen as a valid choice for kids growing up today. Tennis players (and I don't really know why this is) love to over intellectualize the sport. Oh the coaching isn't good. If so and so just learned the Spanish forehand then they would be great like Nadal. Oh if I take this class and this guy teaches me this - I can be good at tennis.

    But honestly tennis is really about guys who can move quickly to a spot and then generate tremendous force with their racquet. Its about hand speed and foot speed. We are just not getting those guys into tennis. I guess the thing is at the Rec level none of this matters. Most players are playing at a fraction of their potential because they are moving so inefficiently (sometimes not at all haha) and their mechanics are so bad that they generate far less force then they should.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
    #93
  44. JohnYandell

    JohnYandell Hall of Fame

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    I agree with TCF about the athleticism issue. I don't follow the national circuit extensively but I have filmed at the Easter Bowl for almost 10 years.

    I've seen the top American juniors there for many years and believe me the ones who are winning are trying and want it badly--Mealnie Oudin may have been one of the most intense (fierce really) competitors ever and many of the others boys and girls weren't far behind. Jack Sock was a truly amazing competitor and won the Easter Bowl 16s well before he grew to adult size.

    And I don't think it's coaching either. The private coaches and the USTA coaches are dedicated, knowledgeable, hard working, committed.

    There are a lot of opinions about Player Dev and a lot of different ways that could be run. But at the end of the day, if there are not any potential diamonds in the system, you won't end up with any diamonds. The people going off on Pat Mac need to start by acknowledging that.

    Connors, Mac, Andre, Pete. None of those guys came out of the national system really. Some of the USTA coaches thought Pete lacked guts! But they probably would have all been champions if they were in it as well, or not.

    10 and under tennis has a chance to really increase the overall population in the game. But I would agree with the opinions that the toxicity of unofficiated junior events is a real negative for a lot of young athletes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
    #94
  45. TCF

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    Great posts by John Yandell and Guy Clinch. Its all about getting as many good athletes into tennis as kids as possible.

    I can say us guys in the trenches are trying. We try to introduce tennis to as many athletic kids as possible and keep them interested. We have one kid in our group who is a great QB for his biddy football team. Hopefully we can keep him into tennis as the lure of football pulls at him more and more. Drew Brees was actually a junior tennis player back in the day believe it or not!
     
    #95
  46. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    #96
  47. President

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    Spain and France (the two main countries that we seem to contrast the American system with) get a much higher percentage of their good/great athletes into tennis than America does. Soccer is the primary sport in those countries but tennis is still widely seen as a viable option. Tennis is unfortunately a 3rd tier sport in America, so you get guys like Sam Querrey, John Isner, and Ryan Harrison holding up the American torch. Guys who have had probably the best developmental system in the world (contrary to what most of you guys are saying in this thread) behind them but just lack the talent/athleticism to go to the top. Rafael Nadal is an unbelievable athlete, the guy doesn't even lift weights or do serious cardio but has been ripped and muscular from the age of 17. That's just great genetics and natural talent that someone like John Isner or Jack Sock will never have. The American equivalent of Nadal is now a running back or wide receiver in the NFL. Same goes for Federer, Djokovic, and Murray. Even someone like Ferrer, Tsonga, or Nishikori is a much better athlete than any current American tennis player (apart from maybe James Blake but his brainless shot selection held him back from what he could have achieved with his great strokes and athleticism).
     
    #97
  48. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    This at this point is a bit of heresay - don't get me wrong. But I remember reading about a sports specialist trainer working with Blake out in one of those specialist gyms (they have them in Arizona and a few other places). These gyms specifically train athletes for football, basketball and baseball.

    Compared to the other athletes that he worked with - he felt that Blake was just another guy. He might be athletic compared to American tennis players but compared to the guys going into football, basketball and baseball he is really not special from an elite athlete standpoint. This is why its just unfair to pin the hopes on either the rare athlete that we get into tennis or any kid because he is American. Vincent Spadea is not a loser because he didn't dominate American tennis. It's just not in the card for the Vincent Spadeas of the world anymore.

    I think that what gets lost is that many of the top pros are indeed excellent athletes who if they had grown up in the states might be playing professional baseball or football. Had say Wes Welker or Danny Amendola gone out for tennis - we might have had another good tennis player. (And in football these guys weren't even drafted.) Cept they went out for football like most of the kids in Texas do..

    Roddick who wasn't a great overall athlete probably could have pitched at the major league level. But consequently all the guy really had was a nice serve and a decent forehand.
    Pete Sampras was probably the last really world class athlete we have gotten into tennis in the States, IMHO.

    Its' very tough because as anyone who goes through HS here in the states knows you are going to get ALOT more love for being a top football or basketball player then you are for being on the tennis team. No one hardly goes out to even watch the tennis team but in football - sometimes whole towns are obsessed with it. I think the coaching overall here is plenty good. I feel its much easier to learn to play tennis correctly that it is to play hoops or even baseball. While I got SOME instruction in those sports growing up mostly you had to learn by watching guys and imitating them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
    #98
  49. President

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    Totally agreed. On the women's side we have much better athletes though, Serena and Venus are/were the best pure natural female athletes in any sport and Stephens is another great athlete.
     
    #99
  50. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    We have had a steady stream of very athletic girls, many African American, come to us for lesson ever since the Williams sisters first hit. As we know, its a pure numbers game and you need lots and lots of athletes playing tennis for a few to rise to the top. Those girls have done great in juniors, and now some are knocking on the door of the pros. It continues today, as at the national tournaments we have a good number of these talented girls age 11-14 coming along.

    Tennis is high on the list of possible sport choices for athletic girls. But on the boys side its far down the list.
     

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