Originally Posted by barringer97
Personally, I think it's kind of a weird balance.
I feel it's best to look at other sports. If you look at basketball, America's dominance has come from the inner city and pick up ball, not working on strokes, footwork, etc. But on the other hand, you need hours and hours of working on your shot (elbow in, rotation, free throws).
Soccer? Way too structured and we suck (compare to Brazil, etc.).
Baseball? Falling behind to small islands like the Dominican Republic, where they play ball in the "streets."
We don't see that in tennis, it's actually a lot closer to soccer then basketball.
Agreed that an unstructured play/practice balance needs to occurs during a kids tennis development. Many, many of the sets need to be played by the kids on their own without mommy, daddy or a coach watching. Understandably this needs to happen on a scaled up basis as they get older. It's difficult for 10 and unders to play unstructured compared to 16-18 year olds who should be playing more and more on their own in practice matches.
I know some kids parents that are at almost all their pracitces and matches. Evaluating every move. Kids need to have fun and have the game be their own. That's a little hard to do with someone watching over your shoulder every minute. Kids in the states rely to much on structured play.