What I hate about Junior tennis. Kids, read this

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Tennisstringz, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Tennisstringz

    Tennisstringz New User

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    1. Cheating Kids, honestly... Why play this sport if you have to cheat? Tennis is supposed to be a game of honor and competition. Sure, when you cheat, your ranking goes up, but at what price? Everyone will talk about you when you walk on the court. You are a cheater, not a tennis player. The upper echelon of top juniors is full of cheaters. Even ITA and college. That is why American tennis sucks. Guess what? There are line judges at the next level. You can't umpire the match yourself anymore. If you can't beat someone fairly, if your ego would hurt too much if you lose, if mommy or daddy will yell at you if you lose, then don't even dare to step on the court. Or be honest, tell your opponent that if it is close, I am going to call all close balls out.

    And parents if you are happy that your kid had to cheat to win, then you are a failure as a parent. If you are in denial, fine. Some people have no moral fiber, so, you need your defense mechanisms. Don't have your kid play this sport if you can't take losing.

    2. Getting the superstar early in the draw. Especially when they are playing up and unseeded. Not everyone can train five hours a day and be home schooled. If you're one of the regular kids who needs points to move up the rankings and maybe get a college scholarship... having one of those superstars drawn for the first round is unfortunate for you. That's junior tennis. Spending $80 -$100 to enter, then $400 for a flight, and another $300 for hotels... Just to get squashed down to the consolation bracket and the miniscule points category. You may be a good tennis player, capable of Div 1, but ifnthis happens enough, especially in high school when tourneys mean more, then you are done.

    All I can say is, USTA, your points per round ranking system stinks. It rewards players who lucked out and got the worst players in the early rounds. Then it requires backdraw kids to play multiple matches for virtually nothing. Thank goodness for Tennisrecruiting.net. At least that rewards you for quality of opponent and not "luck of the draw."

    3. Nowhere to go after all this work. Fine, if you are a superstar, and had the means to get trained to make the 5 Star, blue chip level, you will probably get a scholarship somewhere. But the mjority of hard training kids are three and fourbstar level. Most in the four star level have sacrificed a good portion of their childhood and social life, and their parents have spent enough for privae college tuition on tennis. All this... But scholarships are not there. Especially for boys. For girls who are four stars, this isbwhat you will find... If you are a great student, you will pay for college to go to the most selective schools. Otherwise, you will settle for a tennis scholarship at a school you would not have chosen if not for tennis. If you are an average student, you will probably be passed up for a foreign player.
     
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  2. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ....................
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  3. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Regarding #3, situation is the same in all men's equivalency sports.......meaning all sports except football and basketball.

    I am not sure this is as much a secret, as it is a failure on the part of student-athletes and parents to access and understand readily available information
     
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  4. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    Some knee-jerk responses:

    1. Backatcha! You got this straight. I am still astonished at how cheating is basically ignored by the powers-that-be, equivalent to a tacit endorsement of awful behavior. It takes a heckuva mature 13-year old to understand that any penalty for pervasive cheating will come years later, if at all.

    2. Well, sxit happens. My kid got some players out of her league, for sure; then, the goal becomes to play the best match possible, and afterwards, to learn as much as you can from the experience of playing someone far better. (And, then, in the backdraw, finding kids to send home.) Someone's gotta play the top seed, and it's not going to be one of the other seeds. The draw and seed system works out fairly enough over time. (Agree with you on TRN's H2H v. USTA's PPR, though.)

    3. Kids really have to play for the fun and experience of competing, not for the reward of a scholarship. I am happy my kid got a full at a great school and I am not volunteering to give it back, but I am not really convinced that kids who "work hard" at a sport deserve compensation for it.

    A good post. #1 and #3 should be truncated, laminated, and distributed to all parents and players signing up for their first six USTA events.
     
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  5. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    1% of kids would read your post, as most of them have an attention span of ...."ooo butterfly!".

    But I digress.

    This should be brought to the attention of parents, as they should be the ones guiding their kids to the proper way to act on a tennis court. While there are mostly admirable parents, there are a few of them out there that tell their kid to do "what it takes to win", thereby condoning cheating.

    Scholarships are incentives for the parents, not the child. That is why they are pushed so hard by the parent to work extremely hard. While it may seem that kids "want" that scholarship, guess what; mostly, it's the parents that pay for the tuition. Try getting a kid to pay a 30k yearly tuition by working at a cafe or student job full time, then going to classes to boot.

    Kids themselves actually do enjoy playing tennis, when not pushed to the extreme. Kids themselves, when taught properly and not pushed to succeed, will be quite cordial during a match. I have seen this over and over.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
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  6. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Agree with OP and pretty much above posts.

    The thread should be great for Kids and Parents (esp newbies) to read this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
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  7. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Totally right - I have two of my kids play D1 (son and daughter) and thank god both my wife and I also played and had been recruited so we knew the game. But parents just don't do enough research or get with the right folks. My youngest now 14 we are keeping far far away from anything USTA and doing ITF only. It's hard and involves much more travel! Like spending this whole summer in Europe linking up vacation time with tournys - but we are getting to avoid all the crap we went thru twice.
     
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  8. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Good post. Everything I say here is the result of my own experience, as a lifelong competitive player, parent of players, and coach. Junior tennis can be a wonderful enjoyable journey for the parent and the player. Don't let the points, rankings, scholarships, and cheating rule the day. Play for the love of the game, the competition, the challenge. We turn the kids who cheat, and there are many, into a joke we laugh about. Same thing with the overzealous parents. There are a lot of really cool matches and events to play when their college career is over. However, many of these juniors playing under pressure will walk away from the sport after college.
     
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  9. gully

    gully Semi-Pro

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    We actually forbade the use of the word "points" in our household. We told our junior that she could use tennislink only look at draws after the event was over (and she never did). We tried very hard to keep the focus simple: prepare, compete, enjoy--and don't let other people's behavior affect your own. I think we were the better off for it.

    Nice post, c32.
     
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  10. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    By the way Mr. and Mrs. tennis parent I am over 60 and I can still take out your junior hotshot in doubles. I guarantee it! See how competitve I still am after a lifetime of playing. That's a great thing. Your kid will not have that. He/she will be dropping the sport after college- I almost guarantee it. You are putting so much pressure on them, and they are putting pressure on themselves, they cannot wait to walk away. I have seen it dozens of times. Funny thing is the best matches and the most fun are the adult matches in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. I'll let you know about the 70's in a few years.
     
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  11. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Gully - your #3 nailed it.
     
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  12. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    All this for just a D1 scholarship?
     
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  13. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    This is about the best thing in the post ^^^^^^^^^^^

    The rest is a lot of cry-babying.For me there's very little here that I could not rip into piece by piece. I'll save mine and everyone else's time doing so. I'm sure many will be thankful for that.
     
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  14. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    I think the problem some parents and juniors have trouble recognizing is that tennis is a lifelong sport (in regards to #3). Now that the junior is good at tennis, they can enjoy just playing tennis casually with friends or joining the USTA leagues to actually have FUN playing competitive tennis rather than striving for the college scholarship.

    It's not all about college and scholarships. Sure, junior tennis can be cruel, but there is a bright side after all.
     
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  15. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    Great post. Hits the nail on the head! Must-read for all tennis newbies.

    As a parent, these are the things I hate about competitive junior tennis:
    1) Cost. $$$$ academy training, private lessons, tournament travel. In the end is it worth the possible college scholarship?
    2) Cheaters. Unfortunately, tennis is not an "honest" sport. Compare to swimming or track where you're racing against the clock - can't cheat the clock and what effort you put in shows up in the results. In tennis, you're at the mercy of your opponent's integrity vs. his pressure to win. Also an element of luck of the draw.

    I'd like my kids to play for the love of the sport, exercise, goal-setting and learning life skills and life lessons (honesty, perseverance, dealing with disappointments). We're getting off the treadmill chasing ranking, points and college scholarships.
     
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  16. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    1. Yes, cheating is very unfortunate. So is how such nastiness is permitted in the tennis culture amongst parents. It makes the sport a lot less fun for a lot of children.

    2. This really is not a bad thing. See it as an opportunity to play a much better player. Chances are the #1 seed isn't going to come to your local club to play a match with you, so take the opportunity to try to play your best and see how you match up. It will help you in the long run to get better if you do not try to avoid playing tough (even unwinnable) matches.

    3. Yes, I wonder the same thing. What's the point of all the craziness in junior tennis when the vast majority of 3 and 4 star players seem to end up at schools that they never would have chosen were it not for tennis. I'm thinking of one crazy gossipping (really unpleasant) tennis mom in particular. At this point, does she still think her 4-star 16 year old daughter is going pro? Will all the nuttiness pay off in some way down the road? Doesn't seem so.
     
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  17. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I think you are right, but at some point you have to wonder when parents of 3 and 4 star 14-17 year old players are still spending money like little junior is going pro.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
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  18. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Terrific post! Tennis is a GAME, not brain surgery, and junior players are CHILDREN, not mini-professionals. We are so often surrounded by stressed out players and parents who too often turn into burned out players and parents. It seems the LOVE of the game is overlooked in mad dash for points, rankings, and more points and rankings. Talk about a racket:(
     
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  19. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Some possible answers:

    1. Love of competition
    2. Desire to be the best that a person can be at something that is difficult
    3. Fun

    I am sure there are others
     
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  20. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    I played junior tennis and the cheaters were never really punished, it was just viewed as something part of the game. In one instance, a very good player was also an incredible cheat but his results were outstanding and nobody cared how he won, it only mattered that he won.

    One way to solve this is to get somebody on the court, preferably somebody from a tennis federation, to keep an eye on what's going on when problems with line-calling develop, so at least obvious balls won't be called out.

    It's especially disheartening since we know that a tennis match can be decided on a few points.

    I'd like to add that honesty isn't rewarded in tennis. Only results are. How many times an honest kid feels that he too has to cheat because otherwise he'll just be eaten alive and regarded as naive?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  21. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Could be lot of reasons; denial, overcompensating, pride, jealousy, or maybe they just have a ton of money...Pouring money into tennis in hopes of a scholarship is just poor math and a bad risk. Save the money, hit the books, and get into the school that's best for your life/career goals. Play tennis the rest of your life and be happy, healthy, and social. Done.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
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  22. Tennisstringz

    Tennisstringz New User

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    1 and3. Those things can all be accomplished with far less time and money spent. Ask any parent of a Four star kid. Most have spent close to $10000 for the year. You can find someone for free to accomplish having fun and competition. Find anybody who plays tennis to hit with you. You ll learn enough to have fun and competition. My friends all have fun playing tennis and never spent a cent on lessons.

    2. You may have to spend money to be the best you can be. But why spend a cent unless you expect to gain something financially? This usually means something tangible, like a scholarship or ranking.
     
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  23. Tennisstringz

    Tennisstringz New User

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    This is so true. It is a self perpetuating ordeal that sucks in the player and family. It becomes about chasing points and getting ranked higher than your rivals. It becomes about spending more to catch your rival and to stay above those below you. Everyone who succeeds feels great, but only if it was cheap. Everyone else comes away feeling like they wasted alot of time and money. Instead of being happy about doing the best you could do given the physical and economic hand you ve been dealt, most parents end up frustrated that they ever got sucked into this money pit.
     
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  24. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    1. I don't have to ask any other parent about a four-star or higher kid.

    2. You and me are on different planets if you don't spend anything on your kid unless you expect to gain something financially. Not saying your planet is better or worse than mine................just real different
     
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  25. High Rustler

    High Rustler New User

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    As tennis parents we spend an in-ordinate amount of money on our kids training. I mean, it really is a sacrafice. We know our kids will never see a college court. Why do we do it? keeps them out of trouble, in a program with very good quality kids. But most importantly I beleive it teaches them to compete. And that is what life is.

    In about 4 yeras max this will all be on a shelf, a thing that was. And I beleive 20 years from now two young men will look back and say they spent time with us. They sacrifced for us. And isn't that what this word is about? Family.
     
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  26. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I don't consider any of it a sacrifice.
     
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  27. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Good post. We all spend money on our kids' tennis to varying degrees. The question is why. I think most of us are not looking for a "payback" in terms of a college scholarship or a pro career. There are many good reasons to learn and play thing sport, but financial gain isn't a good one.

    Personally for me, the money and time I spend on my kids tennis is not a "sacrifice". By that I mean it does not effect our family's well being or future. Do we spend discretionary income on it? Sure. Also, I make sure my kids are not "sacrificing" their childhood or education to play tennis. They enjoy it as a part of life, not the entirety of life. You can certainly have passion about something and try and get as good as you can at it without it consuming your life. Others may have different goals and will think differently.
     
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  28. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely not! We do it because he wants to play, I can play senior ITF events at times when he does we all enjoy the competition and the travel. The whole family plays going back to grandparents who had honor of being good enough to play in major events after WW1, WW2 and in the 50's. We just love the game - we put NO pressure on him nor did we with his older brother and sister - what we hate is all the point chasing and politics involved we see here in the states. All of us also have FFT licenses and play in France, Spain and Belgium and if we can stay away from so much of what you read on these boards (and as any of you know who are around JR tennis it's even worse that what gets posted here.).

    And If he decides to-play in college fine, if not fine, it helps a ton that we are able to travel due to my work and have the ability to pay for training/coaches...etc.
     
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  29. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I really enjoy the weekends spent at tournaments with my kids. They are having fun and now have friends all over the south. We do it because we love it. The money spent on lessons and travel is what is needed for them to continue to improve and be competitive. We never say this is for college or turning pro. Of course my younger son who has been real successful says he wants to be a pro player. What happens happens. As we go through the process we enjoy the journey. Who knows where it will lead. The likelyhood is that they will just end up as good players.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  30. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Just an observation to the readers,
    but the parents who are saying the money is not a sacrifice are only a bit way in on the journey ( their kids are little ones still, maybe 10-12).....

    I wonder if there feelings about $ spent might be different in 6 - 8 years,
    when their son is a senior and they have spent by then...... an exorbitant amount of money on tennis,
    and to watch the college spots taken by foreigners.
     
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  31. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I think it is great that this thread has evolved from "What I hate about Junior tennis" to "What I like about Junior tennis".

    And a personal observation.

    I think the nattering nabobs of negativism and bitterness and whining and complaining, who are into junior tennis primarily because it might be able to save some tuition/room and board money for Johnny or Janie at college, are being properly rewarded with the unpleasant feelings they are experiencing
     
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  32. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Tennisstringz,

    Thank you for starting this thread.
    It is the most informative thread I have read on this board, besides JustinMadison's analysis of the changes in 2012.

    And if it makes just ONE parent reconsider the money that will be spent in the future........
    after some sleazy coach told them that Junior will get a scholarship at X college
    ( if of course x number of lessons need to be taken), it will be worth it.

    It is disheartening to see so many parents have a rude wake up call when Johnny doesn't get a scholarship.
    It is not that they didn't do their homework, it is that they have been misled along the way.

    I hope this thread helps shed some light that you will spend a ton of money here and most likely NOT GET ANY SCHOLARSHIP MONEY BACK.
    And also, you might not be playing college tennis either.
    Sad, but true.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  33. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    In my house, we love the game. Too much negative energy is expended fighting change right now. Personally, I'd rather roll with the changes.
     
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  34. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    I am surprised at so many negative views on junior tennis. As a family we spent only discretionary inocme on lessons, training, and travel. What we got back was tenfold. Not only did our kids become good players, the whole tennis experience brought us together. Our kids got into better colleges because of tennis. They got summer jobs teaching tennis when their friends could not find jobs. And they made a lot of money doing it. Seems to me you can use tennis as a way to get ahead or let tennis use you. When you chase points, rankings, scholarships, victories, and cheat- tennis is using you and it's time to walk away.
     
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  35. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Great summary coach! Cheers to you for doing it right.
     
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  36. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Great post.
     
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  37. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I have two different different experiences in on family. My 15 year opd is a good player but tennis is not real easy for him. He has worked hard and my wife and I are very proud of his work and the fact that he has stayed with it. My 10 year old has it muc easier. He has a high state ranking in the 12s already and tennis is much easier for him. But both have one thing in common. They love tennis and as a parent I love watching them play. Isn't that what junior tennis should be about- develOping a love for the game. The foreigner thing in college tennis is a whole different issue. And yes I have many feelings against the current stae of affairs.
     
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  38. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Great advice!

    I would also add that sacrifice should not be a word in junior tennis, either from the parents' or junior's part.
    When sacrifice comes into play, resentment might follow.
     
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  39. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Our family takes pride in sacrifice. We think sacrifice is necessary to be successful in studies, career, sports......practically anything.

    Our thinking is that if sacrifice is not required to earn some "thing", then the thing is an entitlement. And we don't think we are entitled to success in anything.......we think we have to work, struggle and.....yes....sacrifice for it.
     
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  40. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    1. Did your family "sacrifice" money for junior tennnis?
    2. Did your children "sacrifice" their childhood for junior tennis?

    If you say yes and you did succeed without noone's resentment, then congratulations to you.

    To work very hard at tennis when the kid loves tennis is not a sacrifice in my book or many others'. It was the above 2 examples I was talking about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
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  41. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    We spent money that could have been used for other purposes, which we therefore sacrificed. We did not sacrifice our solvency. If it was the point that families should not sacrifice their solvency for junior tennis, then I agree with that

    No one in our family sacrificed their whole childhood for tennis. If that was the point, I agree with it. Lots of other sacrifices, some small, some significant were involved.

    In our family we teach that sacrifice is a precondition to success.

    (Not preaching that you or any other family should do this, it is just our personal belief)
     
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  42. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I think there are different views of sacrifice an I agree with what you're saying. In an earlier post I was referring to the stories we all know - a parent putting it all into the kids hopes of tennis stardom... selling the house and moving into a trailer, working part time to coach the kid, getting a divorce over differences of lifestyle... you know, that kind of sacrifice. Not worth it.
     
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  43. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. To me, those are not sacrifices, but choices of how to spend time and money responsibly.
     
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  44. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Yeah. Maybe it is just semantics.

    To me, running hills while other kids are having fun hanging out is a sacrifice. Burning the midnight oil to study for an important test while others are going to a party is a sacrifice. Spending money on tennis instead of buying another car or taking a vacation to Europe is a sacrifice. Taking an adult course at a local college to boost a career while others are playing golf is a sacrifice.

    Haven't done a scientific survey, of course, but I believe my thinking is in the clear minority on this. I think most families are not willing to make sacrifices to achieve success.............in junior tennis or any endeavor.........because as another poster said, this could lead to resentment.

    Again, not trying to preach or convert. I am comfortable being in the minority on this.
     
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  45. Tennisstringz

    Tennisstringz New User

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    This is the dirty little secret that would cost USTA hundreds of thousands

    If you are a boy and intelligent, your odds for getting a full ride to a school you actually wanted is about the same as if you played basketball or football. Never believe that tennis will be a means for scholarship. If you are a boy, play for fun only. If you are truly talented, you could go all out and pay thousands of dollars and do the USTA grind. Then your chances of getting a scholarship full ride to a school you like may be slightly higher than if you chose basketball or football.

    If you are a girl, and a top ranked player, the odds are that you are an excellent students as well. You will pay to play tennis at a school that you would have gone to anyway like Ivy League or a top private school.

    There will be Forty scholarships at schools you might have wanted to go to. Many of these will be given to foreignors. So you branch out and look for any big name college in the US, so now you have another 25 spots. If you don t get those, then you re just settling for anything to play tennis.

    This is the reality. In the end, ten years after you ve graduated from follege, you realize your skills are not much better than the high school basketball player that picked up a racket three years ago and plays in the 4.5 league. And you have a worse job than you would ve had if you never played junior tennis.

    For about 150 AMERICAN girls or boys per class, a satisfying placement for college tennis will be found. The rest will realize they settled for less, or quit compleyely.

    So the message is, play tennis for fun only unless you are gifted and shoot up into the top 100 without effort. Otherwise, just Learn fundamentals as a kid, and enjoy tennis as a 3.5-4.0 league player after you get a job...
     
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  46. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

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    That is completely not true.

    I am a parent and I played Division 1 tennis and coached for multiple years (and I'm 6'1" and white).

    My child has a MUCH better chance earning a full ride in tennis than in football or basketball...that's for sure.
     
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  47. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
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    Facts are about full rides in mens college tennis:

    1) There are only 4.5 scholarships for the men's team for tennis.

    2) There is more scholarship money for football or basketball.

    3) Most likely, the scholarship money for tennis will be spent on foreigners than Americans.

    4) There is a trend in tennis for men's tennis( sorry, I don't follow womens), and the foreigners are increasing every year.

    Folks, your son should play tennis for the love of the game.

    There is no return on investment here. You will far outspend on tennis than any money that would come back through scholarships.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
    #47
  48. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
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    I agree with you, Barringer.

    But no need for anyone to take your word, or my word............or the word of posters who come across as sour grapey or bitter.

    All anyone needs to do is check out the College Commitments pages on TRN and cross-check to the players' pages to see if they signed NLIs. This is not 100% accurate, of course, but it gives very good factual data about how many kids at various ranking levels are getting offers, and from which schools.
     
    #48
  49. barringer97

    barringer97 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    Messages:
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    Yeah, I get it. Still disagree.

    first of all, I have a daughter and son.

    For my daughter, I think there is a pretty solid chance that I can get her a ride.

    But let's talk about my son.

    First of all:

    There is no freaking way he gets a full ride for basketball. I'm 6'1", my dad is 6'4", my wife's dad is 6'4"...so he could (?) be 6'3"? He is also white.

    Not many (none) 6'3" white kids get scholarships for hoops. Not happening.

    Football? Maybe (still less likely than Tennis), but I don't want his brain mushed so he isn't playing.

    On the other hand, I can give them excellent instruction 4-5 days a week. The cost is up in the air. Obviously, it's free if I'm training them, but my time isn't free to me...but on the other hand, I'm spending time with them.

    In general, I agree with what you are saying, but I disagree on how you believe that they have the same odds in other sports. That isn't true. They are both low, but my kids have the advantage of me in the house that other kids just don't.
     
    #49
  50. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,290
    I read everything you wrote, and understand you can train him ( which not all juniors have the luxury of a parent who is talented and can coach)....

    But, the "white" comment threw me? No white kids in college basketball?
     
    #50

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