Originally Posted by kumar157
Hello Parents, Coaches and Experienced players,
My 15 year old son(sophomore) is a smart student but only a three star athlete with national ranking hovering around 330. He loves tennis and looking forward to play for a lower div 1 school.
Currently I am forcing him to focus more on academics and that leaves him with only 7 hours of play and 2 hours of fitness per week.
With all AP courses he makes A and B's. If I let him play for more hours his grades may drop but his national ranking may go up.
He loves the game and competition and he will be more than happy if I add more hours to his tennis. But I don't want his grades to drop. It's like I want to eat the cake and have it too!.
I am pretty sure there will be a ton of parents who went through this phase and this topic may have been discussed before. But as a concerned parent I would like to hear the experiences of parents who have navigated this phase of life and did well. Please share your experiences and advice.
Thanks in advance.
My son, a junior, is very much like yours. He did really well in all of his AP, on-line college courses and honors. He trains 2 hrs every day, Monday to Thursday; takes an hour private lesson on Tuesday; and hits 4-5 hrs more in the weekend if he is not playing tournament. He spends extra 1-2 hrs in the car every day as well, often taking a nap. He manages to get the school work done usually before 11, but some days he works until almost 2:00 AM like before a big test. BTW, during his high school tennis season, he usually does his 2 hrs a day clinics after school practice or match. It will be a big challenge for him this spring, since he also needs to spend time preparing for ACT, SAT, Subject test, and AP tests.
Luckily, he has been able to improve his tennis game (raising his TRN ranking from over 300 to about 120 in 3 yrs), while keeping up with his school work. The following have helped my son improve his games.
- Taking lessons from a good tennis coach, who not only has experience of playing professional or college tennis, he also has experience of developing top juniors. In addition, it's very important that the coach is willing to work with parents.
- Training in a USTA regional training center, 2 days a week now and 1 day a week last year.
- Keeping up fitness training, both endurance and strength.
- Playing many tournaments.
- For us, I am getting better as a coach/consultant. I take him to every tournament, practice and privates. I learn how to cheer him up, how to give him tips after he splits sets, and how to talk to him after each match with both encouragement and suggestions for improvement. I track his matches and share the stats with his coach.
- Improving his mental toughness. This is the most difficult part. But he is getting better and better in staying cool.
Agreed with many threads, many top D3 schools have really good tennis programs. Schools like Johns Hopkins, Amherst or Emory can beat most D2 and play competitively with many D1 schools. Your son can get great education while continuing to improve his tennis games in one of the top 25 D3 programs.
Another suggestion, he may make better use of the 7 hrs by practicing in a better clinics, where 5 stars and 4 stars practice, and taking private lesson from a better coach, who can make him a better player.
If you don't have many choices, I believe your son should be able to practice a couple of hrs more each week and still meet his school needs.