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-   -   Son's First USTA Match...Sort of... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=440985)

TimothyO 09-23-2012 07:53 PM

Son's First USTA Match...Sort of...
 
My son "attended" his first USTA match today. He's in his school's B tennis squad and was to play line 1 today. I dropped him off, took my younger son to hang out at my wife's ALTA match, and returned about an hour later. There was my son, sitting on the court bench, his partner and one opponent playing. The three were playing singles taking turns rotating out and having a good time.

I quietly walked up to the fence and asked my son what happened. He said one opposing player didn't show up and, after a forty minute wait, his coach finally took the default. At that point the father of the opposing kid who was playing casually with my son went ballistic and started screaming at my son's coach calling him an A-hole for all the other parents and kids to hear.

The maniac's kid was really nice and a gentleman. He was also waaay beyond the B group's skill. His strokes were fully developed, mechanically text book perfect, and his serve motion was beautiful. His only weakness was to go for too much on some shots but that's just a matter of developing better shot selection and judgement. In any case, the B group is a mix of kids from some with a few good shots but a very incomplete game to brand spanking new to tennis.

Some parents and my son's coach protested the maniac's son's participation but less vocally than the maniac screamed about the default. The maniac's son ended up playing line 5 (yes, line 5) which was mixed doubles.

Towards the end of the match when line 5 was winding down and I had returned from another session watching my wife's match for a little while, I politely and calmly asked the maniac dad why he had his son playing down so low since that can ruin his timing when he later plays up at a more appropriate level. He started going off on me! I smiled and quietly left with my son.

In watching his interaction with his son he was clearly the Bad Tennis Parent straight from central casting. The kid was nice and clearly felt the pressure from dad. He had the usual Babolat APD which I noticed was strung with full poly (PHT). The only thing I can figure out is that dad was trying to do one of two things, or maybe both: boost his son's USTA record with easy wins and/or build his confidence with easy wins. Otherwise it made no sense to play down so far.

As for my son, in spite of the prospect of facing such a superior player he was very disappointed that they couldn't play their match. And he was also really happy to hit with his partner and the opposing Mini-Nadal for an hour of singles. The Mini-Nadal won every time but my son took the right lesson from the experience: he described what he felt he was doing wrong and realized that he could still hit winners and generate UEs from the mini-Nadal even though the other kids was clearly more experiences and skilled. Simply by hitting within himself he felt like he could compete against someone like that with more work on movement and net play. He made lemonade out of his match lemon.

ClarkC 09-23-2012 08:05 PM

What on earth is the format of this match? High school? Some sort of USTA team tennis? What does "B line" mean?

Alohajrtennis 09-23-2012 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ClarkC (Post 6915591)
What on earth is the format of this match? High school? Some sort of USTA team tennis? What does "B line" mean?

I suspect this was a JTT match...

TimothyO 09-24-2012 03:05 AM

Format was two lines of boys doubles, two lines of girls doubles, and one line of mixed doubles (line 5). Students are 7th and 8th graders.

There are two squads or divisions who play for each school, A and B, with A squad being the more skilled/experienced, at least in theory.

Like many rec leagues players are self-rated and there are no miminum skill requirements or limits apparently. Some kids in my son's B group could barely hit the ball last week in practice while a couple clearly had extensive training. Most were like my son who obviously had lots of court time, good forehands, weak but consistent serves, weak backhands, and virtually no net game.

The casual hitting between my son, his partner, and mini-Nadal of course didn't count and was just an attempt by the boys to get some practice time.

10ismom 09-24-2012 06:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimothyO (Post 6915864)
Format was two lines of boys doubles, two lines of girls doubles, and one line of mixed doubles (line 5). Students are 7th and 8th graders.

There are two squads or divisions who play for each school, A and B, with A squad being the more skilled/experienced, at least in theory.

Like many rec leagues players are self-rated and there are no miminum skill requirements or limits apparently. Some kids in my son's B group could barely hit the ball last week in practice while a couple clearly had extensive training. Most were like my son who obviously had lots of court time, good forehands, weak but consistent serves, weak backhands, and virtually no net game.

The casual hitting between my son, his partner, and mini-Nadal of course didn't count and was just an attempt by the boys to get some practice time.

Thanks for sharing your experience in this message board section. I remember reading many good infos you posted in the string and equipment sections before.
Seemed like your son had a good experience with his first middle school match. School team tennis can be a good way for kids with all ability levels to play matches and compete with the team. Many schools offer a no-cut policy. It is a lot of fun to be able to partner (and perhaps) goofing around some with your buddy from school : )

Your son had made the lemonade out of lemon like you said....getting a good hit with another boy who is more skilled. This is a good thing since sometimes the kids are so clique.....only certain level kids will practice with certain level kids.

In your first post, you noticed his opponent's string and racquet and could tell that the boy has played tournaments. One thing I noticed is also the tennis bag the kid carries....lol.
If the kid comes with a racquet and a water bottle, it is usually a new player.
If coming with a one racquet bag.....might be a club, JTT or a casual tournament player.
If a kid comes with a 6 or 12 racquet bag then that is a tournament, die-hard kid.

JLyon 09-24-2012 06:38 AM

How about filing a grievance against the dad of the opponent who appears to be well out of line. I would assume Atlanta would have a hard line stance against this behavior. Southern Section has a very strict policy as well on parental behavior, although it is sometimes hard to tell with the way a small number of parents act.


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