Junior tennis in America versus other countries

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by momtogrif, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

    May 7, 2009
    where it's hot
    Don't know if this has been discussed here lately, but I'm curious as to how Junior tennis differs in America versus other countries, mainly European and Eastern European countries? One of my friend's grew up playing in France and every time I watch her play, I am fascinated at how lovely her strokes are and how she hits the ball clean and seems to do it effortlessly, etc. She says that things in France are so different than they are here in the states but she didn't really elaborate and our kids were playing a match so I didn't want to pry or disrupt match play.

    What's missing in American tennis? My husband thinks that it's the slipping of morals and the emphasis placed on 'winning at all costs' via cheating and poor sportsmanship. I'm not sure I totally agree with him. Don't other countries have these issues with their tennis programs, too? Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!
  2. eeytennis

    eeytennis Semi-Pro

    Nov 12, 2008
    I am not too familiar with the tennis programs of other countries but I think that American kids have it very easy compared to players from Russia, Serbia, etc. Most top American juniors live a cushy life, play at a nice club, and have parents who are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their tennis over the course of their junior years. in many other countries, the kids there don't have it so easy...sports are a way to a better life and I feel that most of them are more driven to succeed. That's how I see it anyway. Also, many top American juniors have BAD attitudes, so i partially agree with your husband. At a Futures event I was at, SO many of the Americans there were rude and arrogant...it was kind of shocking for me to see. They need to get over themselves, and maybe they will be more successful.
  3. pricey_aus

    pricey_aus Semi-Pro

    Mar 24, 2008
    Melbourne, AUS
    I agree totally. Although I am from Australia, our current junior tennis situation is similar to the U.S. I have played in a few ITF's, one being the Traralgon ITF, an Aussie Open lead in tournament. The level at which the kids compete at from Europe blew me away. They are so intense and are extremly professional, and even though I considered myself to be pretty professional when it comes to tennis, the kids from Spain, Italy, France (most notably) blew me away. They literally eat breath and **** tennis, no joke. I guess it is just the way they are raised, to leave everything on the court. It is a good standard to set, and one that I would like to get too one day!
  4. Barricated

    Barricated New User

    Jul 4, 2009
    Ya my highschool always gets foreign exchange students that play tennis! one was a German (went to NCS)
    And a French kid that was amazing.
  5. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

    Aug 8, 2007
    The OP raised 2 different issues....the simple yet beautiful strokes and the professionalism/intensity of the kids.

    The first is because most American tennis coaches try to teach too much where in other countries the game is kept simple and athletic. For example, many American coaches feel the need to coach a forehand from every step of footwork to the loop backswing to the body position to the follow through.

    In France and Spain they just show the kids how to follow through and let their bodies and feet move naturally to the ball. Just like a basketball coach let a young Allen Iverson develop his own simple style of making a layup....no need to coach every dang footstep.

    About the 100th person tonight asked me how my almost 5 year old has such great looking strokes. Easy...I kept it simple. Showed her how the follow through and wrap around was important....NEVER mentioned footwork, never mentioned backswing. Those came naturally as she learned herself how to adjust her body when she wanted to hit hard or soft, deep or just over the net. She now looks like a little pro, totally natural and effortless.

    American coaches over coach and produce racquet back while running robots. Read the book by Oscar Wegner on how tennis can be so much simpler and natural if coaches would let it be so. Wegner and others who teach simplicity have been doing so for decades in Spain, Argentina, Russia, France, etc....and the results are now showing. If you want to start an argument, mention Wegner to almost any American coach...they go crazy. No way simple is better in their eyes.

    The 2nd point is professsionalism and intensity. I think the other posters nailed the various reasons for this from the cushy lifestyle, parents setting a lazy example as far as fitness and nutrition, to the ridiculous cheating to win meaningless 10-12-14 year old tourneys.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  6. scraps234

    scraps234 Hall of Fame

    Apr 27, 2008
    ya there was one from brazil that had the craziest spin and was actually really good...i guess you never know what players your hs team might find...
  7. tennismom42

    tennismom42 Semi-Pro

    Nov 19, 2008
    They had a very different system for Jr tennis, when we lived in Germany. My kid wasn't playing tennis yet. But there were these traveling squads of kids. Only the best were on the squads. They were sponsored and paid in cash & gear to be on the squad, travel & compete. It was all ages. I don't know where the money came from & I know they didn't pay to be on the squad. It was just the way they did it. Seems like that would be a huge NCAA violation for foreigners coming to US schools.
  8. tennismom42

    tennismom42 Semi-Pro

    Nov 19, 2008
    Oh yea, then there was tennis in Taiwan. By then, by kid started to play tennis. Fortunately we were given passes to the American Club, where there were courts. Public courts were deplorable. Let me just say, after a minimum 50 hour per week work week, there is zero time left for recreation or tennis. Also, academics are so strenous, there's no room for recreation or tennis. You won't be seeing Taiwan getting many medals at the Olympics nor putting forth more globally-competitve athletes.
  9. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

    May 5, 2008
    here's my point of view.. I feel that most of the tennis tournament kids I met are "spoiled brats".. in USA a majority of tennis tournament kids are from affluent families,and they get anything and everything they want... they can afford taking tennis lessons at $100 per/hr and they think that they are entitled to this because everyone else they know are doing it.. so it becomes a 'keeping up with the Jones" type of situation.. the parents see and hear that 'oh this person is doing this and so they have to do one-up better than the other..
    if player "A" goes to a tennis camp and spends 30k a year,the parents of player "B" will try their best to outdo the other party,so now we get this kind of mentality going on..
    Ok ,for that being said,... the thing that gets me is that some families are not wealthy and cannot afford to spend that kind of $$$ but,somehow they still do it.. just like Michael Chang's family mortgaged their house to support his tennis,but not all those kids out there are going to be Michael Chang.. I see kids traveling to national tournaments and their families really cannot afford that kind of expense,but somehow they do it.. it's a big farce and the kids are so spoiled thinking they deserves it... those who don't have to worry about $$$ can afford to do what ever they want but the middle class and less fortunate kids seems to hang out with all those who have $$$ and want the same... the kids have no thought of the value of money..

    where as the rest of the world the kids know where they started from and really break their *** to improve,so they won't be stuck in the poor part of town,so to speak.. it's a different mentality..

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