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-   -   What I hate about Junior tennis. Kids, read this (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=431869)

Tennisstringz 07-11-2012 05:47 AM

What I hate about Junior tennis. Kids, read this
 
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.

tball2day 07-11-2012 06:22 AM

....................

Misterbill 07-11-2012 06:32 AM

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

gully 07-11-2012 07:17 AM

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.

Swissv2 07-11-2012 07:46 AM

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.

10ismom 07-11-2012 08:01 AM

Agree with OP and pretty much above posts.

The thread should be great for Kids and Parents (esp newbies) to read this.

gavna 07-11-2012 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Misterbill (Post 6718550)
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

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.

coaching32yrs 07-11-2012 08:31 AM

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.

gully 07-11-2012 08:35 AM

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.

coaching32yrs 07-11-2012 08:38 AM

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.

chalkflewup 07-11-2012 08:38 AM

Gully - your #3 nailed it.

jigglypuff 07-11-2012 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gavna (Post 6718842)
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.

All this for just a D1 scholarship?

andfor 07-11-2012 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tennisstringz (Post 6718462)
1. Cheating ........ Don't have your kid play this sport if you can't take losing.

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.

InspectorRacquet 07-11-2012 09:19 AM

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.

Woolybugger 07-11-2012 09:38 AM

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.

Soianka 07-11-2012 10:52 AM

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.

Soianka 07-11-2012 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gully (Post 6718664)
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.

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.

HIGH-TECH TENNIS 07-11-2012 11:01 AM

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:(

Misterbill 07-11-2012 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soianka (Post 6719255)
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.

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

TheCanadian 07-11-2012 11:58 AM

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?


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