Why even play competitive tennis?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Woolybugger, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    I'd like to hear from the parents of the average kid why you want him/her to play competitive tennis. Junior is not extremely gifted, but talented enough to keep improving and moving up the ranks. College scholarships is not a consideration. Academics takes priority in the household. Private lessons and group training cost $500/month.

    Then there's the 2-4 hour travel to tourneys twice a month. Sometimes she encounters cheaters, parents behaving badly, all in all a bad tournament experience. Sometimes junior breaks through and gets a medal. Always on the treadmill chasing points and rankings but there's always someone better than you. What I hate the most are the cheaters and obnoxious fence-hanging parents.

    After 4 years junior goes to college (not on tennis scholarship). Dad & mom have spent over $25,000 on tennis and what did junior learn from it all? What makes it all worthwhile?
     
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  2. Prodigy1234

    Prodigy1234 Rookie

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    Then you could complain why play any sport if you're not going to go anywhere with it.
     
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  3. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    I think it's a fair question and I've thought about it a lot. Tennis is a great sport to develop as an individual, you have to think for yourself, deal with adversity by yourself and you get the credit and the blame when you win or lose. Team sports are great for social skills and I let my kids play team sports as well, but tennis is more individual. In addition, my kids will always have a sport they are good at, they won't be pros or D1 athletes, but they will be good high school player and if they want to play club tennis or even D3 tennis, they have that. It's a sport they can play even as adults and I look forward to playing with them when they are grown up and I'm in my 60's (I'm really curious to see when they will be able to beat me, if they stick with it, I'm guessing when they are in their 20's and I'm in my 60's).
     
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  4. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    To Competeeeee!!!!!
     
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  5. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    Because it is interesting and healthy! It is such a complex game that you become absorbed in it, and this makes it fascinating. A player needs to be bright, coordinated, quick, technical, tactical and resilient. This is a lot to ask and keeps the quest for development compelling. It is an art for a lifetime!
     
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  6. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  7. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Why not play college tennis if the kid wants both? At the level DIII, the Ivy's and academies the focus is always academics first.
     
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  8. Babolatbarry

    Babolatbarry Guest

    Well tennis is awesome, and I know I won't go anywhere with it, but yet it's still awesome :D
     
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  9. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I am not the parent of an average kid. But anyway, maybe it would help you get more responses if you could give the Board an indication of your family's possible alternative uses of the $25,000 that was allocated to tennis.

    If the use of the $25,000 caused you to default on your mortgage and skip meals, then maybe tennis should have been given a second thought. If the $25,000 was the difference between a BMW and an Acura, maybe not
     
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  10. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Competitive tennis is a life lesson. Lots of players I grew up playing juniors with ended up being very strong mentally when it came to dealing with people in the real world. There’s nothing as intimidating as being put on the tennis court by yourself with no outside help. You sink and swim based on your own actions and dealing with cheaters and people behaving strangely is something that everyone has to do in their day to day lives.
     
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  11. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

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    Remember this...it's the journey, not the destination!

    There are highs and lows as there must be for any journey. Strive to conquer and learn from the lows and enjoy the hard earned highs. Whether talking about tennis or soccer or whatever.

    Note also that passion and the daily drive to get better means much more than trophys. So enjoy the game and competition at whatever level you are at. If you are spending more money than you can afford, spend a little more time on the practice courts and less on lessons and tournaments.
     
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  12. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    You must not be a player. We play because we love it. Love to compete and to win. Enjoy to compete even when we lose. Enjoy the comraderie. Being out there giving it everything. Talk to the players my age, 55+. Their only regret is that they didn't learn the game sooner. Don't take something away until you really understand its value.
     
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  13. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    Thanks a lot for the replies. Lately we've just been pretty beaten down because of nasty parents and cheaters. My kid is not very assertive and it's frustrating to see matches cheated away from him after all the effort put in. Where is the sense of fairness and justice? I just can't stand the people who put winning above everything - courtesy, sportsmanship, honesty, fairness.

    We aren't into competitive tennis to turn pro, or for college scholarships, or even to chase rankings mindlessly. I'm hoping for them to learn a sport well, learn life lessons, get good exercise and have a good time playing it, all for the love of the game.

    It's just kinda sad that there's so much nastiness in competitions. I'll use these incidents as teachable moments, for myself and my kid. These are the life lessons that tennis will teach you.
     
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  14. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Try team tennis.

    Competitive but not cut throat, team atmosphere, NO parent involvement, get to play singles and doubles.

    Positive and fun experience for kids and parents.
     
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  15. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  16. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Good points by you , Birdie and Hacker. From my experience at literally hundreds and hundreds of matches, is that cheating that directly impacts the the player who should have won the match is rare. Not saying it does not happen. I've seen cheating at times be a little more prevalent then others and at most times have seen none. I've actually seen officiating get involved and change the course of the match more often than cheating and not always to the benefit of the player who needed it. I've also experienced that kids get better at line calls and handling their own matches improves as they get older. Regardless, the life lessons from the game out weigh the negatives.
     
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  17. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I think you are on the right track, knowing what is the short and long term goal for your child. It depends on what you want her to get from traveling to tennis tournaments. If you do that for improvement, not points, don't stress over it. Choose whenever and whatever is convenient for your schedule and budget. Also don't have to travel far if she can learn from local or nearby tourneys.
    For junior team tennis, it is fun and not as stressful. I can tell you from experience though that junior club players might have cheated line more. Could be they don't know a ball touching the line is "in" or not competing enough and wanted to win so bad. Playing no-add score also contributed to that behavior. Parents are generally not bad since most are locals and you know them. Fun alternative.
     
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  18. 10schick

    10schick Rookie

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    So said the fence hugging parent.....:oops:
     
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  19. 10schick

    10schick Rookie

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    It is a sport for life. It does teach the children how to deal with others on their own. (If you let them)
     
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  20. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    The way we deal with cheating is as follows. It has become part of the junior tennis culture. Most of the top players do not follow the rules on every line call. The reality is it influences the outcome of very few matches. We talk about it, laugh about it. In practice we say the ball was good but in a USTA match it would be called out. There is a junior playing the US Open next week who "cheated" my player on a critical call in a match. I am glad he did. It provides a great story and plenty of laughs years later.
     
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  21. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    There is a junior playing the US Open next week who "cheated" my player on a critical call in a match. I am glad he did. It provides a great story and plenty of laughs years later.

    Why are you glad he did? He won because he cheated, how's that funny? It's infuriating. Despite all the happy talk here, we all know the truth: sometimes matches turn on 2, 3, 4 points. Cheating is an issue, the only way to deal with it is to have potential umpires on hand when players are at a point where they cannot go on without somebody else on the court with authority to call balls when controversy arises.
     
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  22. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    I definately don't fence hug ,there is no way to signal your player if your hugging a fence , nice try though !
     
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  23. goober

    goober Legend

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    Most important question- does the kid enjoy playing and want to continue playing competitive tennis? If the answer is yes keep playing and competing.

    If it is a financial issue- cut down on tournaments and some aspect of privates/clinics.

    I know some parents who have spent over $100K on tennis for their daughter starting from age 5. When she got to 16 she faced some real competition and big tournaments and got demolished. She decided to quit tennis and she hasn't touched a racquet in over 7 years. Last time I talked to her she told me she really never really like tennis and she only did it because her parents pushed her into it. Was it worth it for her? Probably not.
     
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  24. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    That story hurts on so many levels , what is she doing these days ?
     
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  25. goober

    goober Legend

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    Graduated from college- worked for a year or two trying decide what she wanted to do with her life. Decided that she is going back to school to become a physical therapist.
     
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  26. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Cheating happens. You cannot eliminate it with umpires. Most juniors pick their moment to call the ball that hit the back of the line out, and it is not when the umpire is watching. You can either make yourself crazy or accept it. I think there is more cheating now than ever. Parents tolerate it. Some parents and coaches inadvertently encourage it.
     
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  27. 10schick

    10schick Rookie

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    MY APOLOGIES COACH.. I was talking about Brad Baughman :oops:
     
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  28. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    You know, kids can play tennis without paying $500 a month for pros and lessons. I was a pro 30 years ago and in those days I might teach a kid one lesson a week, and they were on the court with their friends playing for free the other days. My son hits with me, and I do occassionally pay for him to have a workout with a pro. I realize it seems all the good players now only practice at the academies, but you can set them up to practice with adults of similar ability for free. You can cut back on the tournament travel, play team tennis, high school tennis, or let him play area adult tournaments. It does not have to be an all or nothing scenerio.
     
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