"The two are very different. Basketball has positions. A kid can be a stiff with no fundamentals and be 7 feet and be a star in basketball. Maybe not NBA but a stiff 7 footer can play college ball. Try that in tennis."
The topic is player development and, with respect to that topic, basketball and tennis are not that different. Again, the point is the lack of simulated match play in tennis for juniors, especially juniors in cold weather (non-tennis) sections. I played basketball at a high level and I will tell you the vast majority of time is spent scrimmaging and playing sand lot which is, again, simulated game situations.
I think we've established that a great coach is a major asset in tennis although the financial barrier alone will remove most kids from having access to a great coach and, given that reality, then the next best thing is to play a lot. There are plenty of pro's with less than perfect fundamentals but they are mentally strong and fierce competitors and that comes from "social environment" . . . it comes from competing and dealing with pressure.
The fact is, the amount of $ we spend on junior tennis is insane and while we do product top flight juniors, we should produce more given the resources available (private and USTA) and the money being spent by parents.
You have a unique situation in junior tennis. In basketball and other sports, we play anyone/any time but in tennis, you have coaches and parents that isolate kids and refuse to let them play anyone which, ultimately hurts everyone.
Bottom line, I think Coach Nott made great points in the article most of which I agree with except, as I said, a great coach can make a big difference (just like in any sport). But, to practice like the real thing is so valuable.
Just the other night (I only know this b/c my daughter told me; I didn't watch it
, my daughter played a practice match and was up 5-2 and started to come apart and ended up in the time breaker and she went on to win the set 7-6. That is a prime example of why practice matches are so important . . . it wasn't about winning or losing that set but it was about dealing with adversity; dealing with a lead that you lose and have to pull yourself together (the more practice you get at that, the better). If you are a competitor, even in practice matches, you will bring your competitiveness (you don't turn it off) and that will bring some level of pressure which is so good!!!
You can do all the drills you want (and I don't disregard the value of drilling) but nothing is the same as playing an actual real set.