Originally Posted by TCF
Yawn. Its all the same basic stuff coaches and parents who grab some basic tennis books or videos have taught for years. The problem with American kid's tennis has never been parents or coaches did not have access to basic techniques.
The issues have always been:
1. tennis is not cool to most kids.
2. parents rarely have the patience it takes to spend hours teaching detail after detail.
3. kids rarely have the patience to listen to anyone teach them detail after detail
4. kids like other more social sports or sports at school that make them popular.
5. to reach milestones in tennis takes time and repetitive practice, most kids are not going to do that.
6. tennis gets expensive fast once you get past the basic level.
7. elite tennis requires travel and lots of family support that most families will not provide.
8. very few kids will bust it after a yellow ball in the hot sun for hours....which is mandatory to be a very good player.
The USTA is trying to reinvent a wheel on the wrong car. Simple technique information like that has always been readily available in books or videos. Parents have taught their kids themselves with them for decades. Good coaches can teach those things with any kind of ball, low compression or regulation.
Those videos do not add a thing to the mix nor address all the issues tennis has with kids. The videos show select kids who look good performing various techniques, but they do not teach how to overcome the issues I outlined above, thus they are meaningless in the grand scheme of teaching kids tennis.
If anything they attempt to make tennis a step by step graded exam....like exams kids hate at school. "You can do this specific technique with that color ball, please proceed to step 2". I can not think of a better way to turn even more kids off to tennis.
I want every parent here to think of their own kids at age 5-11. How many could actually go through those video steps, colored ball by ball, technique by technique, month after month....without their kid losing interest within minutes? Presenting tennis in a way that slowly builds a skilled player while keeping kids interested, is an art, one not many have mastered.
Well I completely agree with you. But still appreciate the effort the USTA is making to stir interest and participation. That's what it takes to get down to the kids and parents who fit into tennis. Rehashing and repackaging that stuff is just part of the process. The cup doesn't have to be half empty.