Originally Posted by BirdieLane
No way you are dead wrong if you are growing her passion while striving to give her such a stimulating and healthy environment and she's loving it and making continuous improvement. Great job and great perspective. (And I also agree in many ways with your 'saddest' sport impression.)
FYI, we are very similar to you, just a few years down the road. We live in snow state (indoor and no talent depth), just getting into 16s.
My kid is a Clone B path and while she splits her time with another sport, the result is a very fresh and hungry mind. No injuries. And athleticism that is a feature of her game.
So yes, you can definitely find your own path and compete at the very top without being in FL or going to an Academy at age 12.
Thanks so much. These are the stories that keep us going. It's so easy to doubt yourself when 99% of the folks are doing the same thing and you see how destructive it can be and/or you know it's not the right path for your family (+ so many people telling you they have the secret sauce).
So then you search to do it another way and to hear from folks like yourself that are a bit further down the road but can share that healthy perspective is so encouraging.
I also believe you can develop a player in a cold weather state and you don't have to ship your kid to an academy but I'm finding it takes incredible courage to break away from the norm . . . you are often the loner but I'm getting comfortable with that. It took us 1 yr. to finally have the courage to forget about points and rankings and make decisions for the right reasons.
I've been shocked at how often making the "right" decision for your child's development is in direct conflict with how the junior tennis system (rules and structure) is setup.