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gplracer 09-30-2012 05:15 PM

Lucky Dad
 
I have read a lot of posts and I have some comments. We all want the best for our kids. We all want the best for kids we hear about in the forum. That said, I find it interesting that we say play matches, no do not play matches. I find it interesting that we say the USTA is no good and not developing players. I find it interesting that some say to not play a lot of tournaments. I find it interesting that some say how many lessons are enough or not enough. And on and on and on….. THEN, we state that the chances of becoming a pro or a D1 college athlete are so small that we should not worry about such things. If the chances are so small (I believe they are) then what difference does it make? My kids play tennis because their dad (me) introduced them to the game. I play with them. I go to all of their tournaments with them and watch almost all of their matches. That is getting harder now that there is two playing and now going to different level tournaments. My kids like the friends they have met through tennis. They like going out of town and staying in a hotel with dad. (My younger son says he likes “hotel smell”) They like seeing the friends they have made all over a four state area when they get to the tournament. They play for the fun of it all. They also like to win too! They love to play in the USTA events. After all they got into tennis to compete. As a parent I want them to be the best they can be for sure. They do the lessons and the clinics and the USTA camps. But for many people it is not about developing a world class player. It is about having something they can enjoy with their kids and look back at the memories. I have a friend whose son played at Furman University and recently graduated. He told me he envied me. He said I was lucky to be at this stage of life where the kids are playing and traveling. For him that stage is over. I am sure something else will take its place but he says, “It was the best of times.” He told me when his son got in the car after the match, they never talked about the match. The discussion was always the same and it started with, “So I found three local barbeque places which one do you want to try?” Remember it is the journey not the end. It is not about how good or bad your kid is. It is about being with your kid. I feel lucky to be involved in tennis.

highgeer 09-30-2012 05:42 PM

great post
 
I am also a dad, and all of my kids love tennis.

Thanks,
Mike

Tennisguy3000 09-30-2012 06:01 PM

Yep, its a great family sport. I still rally with my 80 year old father & cant wait to one day watch my kids on the courts & in tournaments.

I will let them decide if they want to take it further.

Great post ;-)

ChiefAce 09-30-2012 06:17 PM

Great post, I think more people especially in this section of the forums need to remember that.

TCF 10-01-2012 05:49 AM

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Woolybugger 10-01-2012 07:33 AM

thanks for your post. I wish more parents would chill out and not take the tourneys like do-or-die. It's not the end of the world if junior loses a match, but watching their reactions make you think it is. As many have said before, let's enjoy the journey.....

OneTennisParent 10-01-2012 07:45 AM

Agree with TCF. I have known parents who firmly believe their kid will go pro, and they approach it as a career i.e. deadly serious. I even know one who did go pro. The dad/coach would leave tournaments immediately after finishing the match, so they could work on what to improve. Socialization was almost non-existent at events. I also have known parents who choose their kid's career for them in law, medicine, or business, and approach it in the same way, so it's not unique to sports.

My wife and I made a conscious decision to direct our children into sports that they could play at 80, and still have good scholarship potential if they were good. Football and gymnastics were out. I don't know any 30-year old gymnasts, and every 30+ football player I know is suffering physically. We take our sports seriously as much for the life-lessons, as the potential of a return on our investment through scholarships, so we win either way.

I have also known families who freely admit they are there only for the social aspects, and have no intent of working toward a scholarship.

I cannot condemn anyone's approach as long as they are not abusive. We've all seen the psychotic parents who you just know will eventually push their own kids out of the sport. Our coach likes to say "there are two things that drive kids out of tennis; parents and coaches." Choose your own path, and love your kids. They didn't ask to be born; you dragged them into the world kicking and screaming (literally), so it's incumbent upon you to treat them well.

tennis5 10-01-2012 08:08 AM

Lots of good posts here.
Some parents have their kids play for recreational, to make the high school team ( no easy feat btw), college and pro.

I think the problem is that in the middle of the journey,
we forget that it going to be over really soon ( in the blink of an eye),
and we need to make it more fun as tennis at the top rung can be socially isolating.

coaching32yrs 10-01-2012 08:14 AM

Nice post. I agree with what you say gpl up to a point. My first 2 kids were good players, nothing sensational. I was like you- calm, cool, philosophical. Then third kid came along. Sensational player. I drank the Kool Aid and became a crazy tennis parent like the others on this forum. Hard not to when coaches are telling you your kid has pro potential. Fortunately I spit out the Kool Aid in time to save my kid and myself.

Soianka 10-01-2012 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gplracer (Post 6928477)
I have read a lot of posts and I have some comments. We all want the best for our kids. We all want the best for kids we hear about in the forum. That said, I find it interesting that we say play matches, no do not play matches. I find it interesting that we say the USTA is no good and not developing players. I find it interesting that some say to not play a lot of tournaments. I find it interesting that some say how many lessons are enough or not enough. And on and on and on….. THEN, we state that the chances of becoming a pro or a D1 college athlete are so small that we should not worry about such things. If the chances are so small (I believe they are) then what difference does it make? My kids play tennis because their dad (me) introduced them to the game. I play with them. I go to all of their tournaments with them and watch almost all of their matches. That is getting harder now that there is two playing and now going to different level tournaments. My kids like the friends they have met through tennis. They like going out of town and staying in a hotel with dad. (My younger son says he likes “hotel smell”) They like seeing the friends they have made all over a four state area when they get to the tournament. They play for the fun of it all. They also like to win too! They love to play in the USTA events. After all they got into tennis to compete. As a parent I want them to be the best they can be for sure. They do the lessons and the clinics and the USTA camps. But for many people it is not about developing a world class player. It is about having something they can enjoy with their kids and look back at the memories. I have a friend whose son played at Furman University and recently graduated. He told me he envied me. He said I was lucky to be at this stage of life where the kids are playing and traveling. For him that stage is over. I am sure something else will take its place but he says, “It was the best of times.” He told me when his son got in the car after the match, they never talked about the match. The discussion was always the same and it started with, “So I found three local barbeque places which one do you want to try?” Remember it is the journey not the end. It is not about how good or bad your kid is. It is about being with your kid. I feel lucky to be involved in tennis.

That's a great post and it is so wonderful that you realize these things now while your children are still young and you can really enjoy these great years.

TCF 10-01-2012 09:02 AM

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Tennishacker 10-01-2012 11:18 AM

Nice story.

The best part about junior tennis/tournaments is when the kids hit the age of 14-18 years old. Those are the years when they rebel, would rather hang out with their friends.

But for us, the kids playing tournaments local and out of state keep us close to each other.

Like Tennis5 said, those years go by "in the blink of an eye".

Soianka 10-01-2012 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tennishacker (Post 6929610)
Nice story.

The best part about junior tennis/tournaments is when the kids hit the age of 14-18 years old. Those are the years when they rebel, would rather hang out with their friends.

But for us, the kids playing tournaments local and out of state keep us close to each other.

Like Tennis5 said, those years go by "in the blink of an eye".

I agree. I think it is so important for a teenager to have something to keep their mind on besides hanging out and getting in trouble...and also to be "good" at something that sets them apart from their school peers.

Soianka 10-01-2012 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCF (Post 6929377)
I guess I do not see it as someone enjoying the years more than others. Families are all different and get their bonding from different things.

If a family wants even a mediocre kid to treat tennis seriously, to instill discipline, life lessons, and simply to compete with themselves as far as how much they can improve, that is great.

I think the OP would have made more effect on me had it been general. Enjoy your kids while they are young, they grow up fast. The degree of seriousness they take tennis and tennis trips is not relevant to that enjoyment. The enjoying the childhood can come from many other avenues. My kid acts like every sporting event is life or death.....I imagine she will be quite stoic when we start traveling to tournaments. But she is the silliest thing, and we laugh pretty much the entire rest of the day.

I don't think there is anything wrong with that, but I am sure we have all seen the "crazy" tennis parents who just take things too far.

And then in the end the kid ends up quitting tennis or playing college tennis just like most kids.

In the end the craziness, the stress, the overemphasis on results is just so not worth it. The time goes by so fast and for most tennis families, the most important part is the time that they got to spend together and the good times they had; not the wins and the losses.

gplracer 10-01-2012 12:41 PM

Thanks for the responses. I never said WE do not take tennis seriously. It is different for each one of my kids. My older son has struggled but is now a solid player. My younger son was ranked #2 in the 10s in our state by the time of his 8th birthday and now he is in the top 50 in the 12s even though he just turned 10. He would not have gotten to this point if he had not had a lot of lessons and if he had not played a lot. Currently he is also playing baseball for the first time. Tennis was just different for each one. As for the younger one. I do not know where it will go but we are going to enjoy the journey and give him as many opportunities as we can to be the best player he can be.

HIGH-TECH TENNIS 10-01-2012 03:56 PM

We're watching these kids grow up right before our eyes...
 
I like what you wrote.

Just tossing out a few phrases that sum it up for me: Tennis is a GAME, not brain surgery & junior players are CHILDREN, not mini-professionals. Junior tennis is a JOURNEY, not a destination...You might as well ENJOY it! :)

OF COURSE everyone has different perspectives and different priorities - that's what makes the world go 'round - but those two work for me.

tennis1970 10-01-2012 04:14 PM

I like this post. While I agree, tennis can be serious for some families...at the end of the day we should be thankful our kids can play...regardless of the level. There are many kids who can't play because they they are ill or it interferes with their chemotherapy treatments. Sometimes we all need a reality check.

SuzukiSS 10-01-2012 07:03 PM

I agree everyone at every age plays tennis for different reasons but I have never understood why we have different expectations from tennis kids than say football kids? A kid who is there just to have fun is not going to make it in football or basketball. I can assure you that my football coach was not going to talk about dinner after a loss. I ended up playing college tennis but have always felt the drive and discipline to excel came from those demanding football coaches and my parents. Why are results stressed more in team sports than tennis?

TennisNinja 10-01-2012 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SuzukiSS (Post 6930527)
I agree everyone at every age plays tennis for different reasons but I have never understood why we have different expectations from tennis kids than say football kids? A kid who is there just to have fun is not going to make it in football or basketball. I can assure you that my football coach was not going to talk about dinner after a loss. I ended up playing college tennis but have always felt the drive and discipline to excel came from those demanding football coaches and my parents. Why are results stressed more in team sports than tennis?

I agree, and I have never understood why you can't learn the same lessons from playing different sports. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess and I probably would have picked a different sport to start when I was younger if I could.

Not to say that I don't appreciate what I've gotten out of tennis so far. If it was a choice between tennis/no tennis, it would be tennis every day. It's just that tennis is such a brutal sport, and I think I would've enjoyed myself better in say, soccer or baseball.

jht32 10-02-2012 04:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OneTennisParent (Post 6929263)
My wife and I made a conscious decision to direct our children into sports that they could play at 80, and still have good scholarship potential if they were good. Football and gymnastics were out. I don't know any 30-year old gymnasts, and every 30+ football player I know is suffering physically. We take our sports seriously as much for the life-lessons, as the potential of a return on our investment through scholarships, so we win either way.

Good post overall but I have a different take on football and gymnastics. Yes, they are brutal sports with a high chance of injury. Yes, they are not sports for older adults to engage in. But many boys like to play football and many girls like gymnastics. When people are younger, this is the ONLY time for them to enjoy these sports. Why not let them enjoy those sports (if they want) at that age? They can take up other sports (e.g. tennis, golf, etc.) when they are older. The life lessons (competition, sportsmanship, work ethic, teamwork etc.) can be learned from a lot of sports, regardless of how long you can play that sport.


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