Food for thought: More practice matches
"A few posters have cited basketball. The dynamics are different, many, many more kids play so the pool of from which the cream rises is much deeper."
I disagree having played both tennis and basketball since the age of 5 and ultimately picking basketball. The dynamics are not that different, we just think they are. Yes, there are more kids playing basketball than football but that's not the point (that's a social environment issue) and not my point. Yes, you need a great coach as I initially posted, however, after that, you can drill all day long but you need practice and tournament matches b/c nothing is the same. And, yes, having a coach watch a practice match is extremely valuable but it's still a practice match/practice sets . . .
We do way too much group drilling, hitting and ball tossing, and parents way too involved. If you let the kid take what they learned from the coach and apply and play with it in a practice match without parent supervision, that starts to look a lot like how we development basketball players, which by the way, the U.S. remains dominant.
The way you develop a player is at odds with the money making machine of tennis and that's the real issue. In fact, give me the player that may lack some fundamentals but has played a ton of practice and tournament matches against juniors, adults, and whomever . . . there are many tennis and basketball players that lack fundamentals but are still top flight players b/c they are so strong mentally and you don't get that drilling all day long . . . you need to play and problem solve in real time, in a real match.
Now, if you can get that and have a great coach, then that's the best of both worlds . . . but if I had to choose, give me the junior that goes out and plays anyone at anytime . . . kid, junior or adult . . .