Junior Tennis on a budget...

Spanglish72

Rookie
Hi Guys, Is there a way to become a great tennis player without being part of the expensive USTA Junior $ystem? The cost of travel, tourneys & coaching is crazy!
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
As a parent, setup a few private lessons each week, but make sure you learn how to help drill your kid. Use group classes often for drills and practice matches. Spend a lot of time feeding your kid balls yourself. ONly do local tournamnets, but as many as possible and try to meet up with other similar level kids that you can schedule matches with on your own.

You don't need to travel, and you don't need ranking per se, but juniors need matches and challenges to push them and grow them.
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
Given the question... "a great tennis player" as the target... Unfortunately, I do not think it is possible. From what I have seen proper technique and match skills are key early on and these both take $.

A weekly or better twice a week private lesson with a good coach certified and trained in teaching kids is needed. I am not convinced group lessons are necessary (Do 4-6 kids crammed on a bunch of courts really get you much?). I do think having your kid hit and hitting often with hitting partners (better players = better) and / or match play is important.

I do strongly believe tournament play, especially as a younger player, is very important to develop match skills. I have seen many a player with very good skills lose to another player with very good skills because the losing player has not played/experienced enough competitive play. I don't think one can be called "a great tennis player" without playing and winning matches which after all what tennis is. In my mind these need to be local and sectional events (at a minimum) where the younger child is developing.

Once the player is 12-13 I think local tournament play can stop (UTR will get the player into events) which will save some $ but more travel is needed and further distances to play better players which replaces the savings with more $.

And we have not discussed things like equipment (that they grow out of), shoes (which last a month), strings (that last a week), parent missed work (for tournaments), etc.

Sadly, there is a local kid, that when younger, was a very strong player. The player's parents did their best with what they had at their disposal and local pros helped with free lessons to keep the player going. However, playing tournaments was a great expense for the family and so the kid played infrequently in tournaments. As time has gone on the player has not been able to keep up. The player did apply for USTA financial assistance and this helped but not enough.
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
I spend too much $ for my kids and tennis. They are really good, but aint going pro. The whole journey is fun, but its an expensive hobby.
I agree with you 100% and we are in the same boat. We spend a ton on tennis. My son is really good. The kids that are better than him lose to the kids that are better than them that lose to the kids that are better than them who lose to...

He can play in college if he wants. For us, we have a lot of fun watching him improve and heading to tournaments and playing. It is a fun family activity but your description of it being an expensive hobby sums it up about right.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
I spend too much $ for my kids and tennis. They are really good, but aint going pro. The whole journey is fun, but its an expensive hobby.

I have done both ways. I have put in a lot of time with my kids, but also got to the point I needed someone with more experience to move things along. I have put in both time and $$$, and I sure as hell ain't rich. But my son might get a college offer, but certainly isn't a blue chip player or going to be D1. Had all the skills, but isn't what he wanted...no matter how much Dad wanted it! :giggle:
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I agree with you 100% and we are in the same boat. We spend a ton on tennis. My son is really good. The kids that are better than him lose to the kids that are better than them that lose to the kids that are better than them who lose to...

He can play in college if he wants. For us, we have a lot of fun watching him improve and heading to tournaments and playing. It is a fun family activity but your description of it being an expensive hobby sums it up about right.
A top pro can charge 75- 150 an hr
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Contemporary pro lessons are not worth a damn.
I don't think so, but parents needs to understand who and what they are paying for. We were blessed to end up with a top D1 college coaches program for my son, but I can tell you I went through a few "others" that didn't make it too. And Greg helped me learn as much as my son, so I was able to work with him and practice too. Not sure what your experience is there, or if it is just a bit of curmudgeoning.
 

aminadream

Rookie
I spend too much $ for my kids and tennis. The whole journey is fun, but its an expensive hobby.
No. That's missing the point.

Tennis will teach your child to commit to something they believe in. It'll teach them to push through challenges, to grow their self esteem, to learn how to win and lose graciously, to adhere to self discipline, and will give them a sense of accomplishment that other kids who do not commit to one sport for an extended period of time will not. It will give them the courage to pursue a meaningful career, to feel they deserve the most devoted romantic partner, and to fight for what they believe in life.

As an adult who spent her whole childhood playing tennis in some capacity, with some very rough patches of life along the way at a very young age, I can tell you first hand that committed tennis dramatically changes a person for the better. I would be an entirely different person now if not for this journey.

It is not simply a hobby. It's probably the most important set of lessons your child will ever have access to.
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
No. That's missing the point.

Tennis will teach your child to commit to something they believe in. It'll teach them to push through challenges, to grow their self esteem, to learn how to win and lose graciously, to adhere to self discipline, and will give them a sense of accomplishment that other kids who do not commit to one sport for an extended period of time will not. It will give them the courage to pursue a meaningful career, to feel they deserve the most devoted romantic partner, and to fight for what they believe in life.

As an adult who spent her whole childhood playing tennis in some capacity, with some very rough patches of life along the way at a very young age, I can tell you first hand that committed tennis dramatically changes a person for the better. I would be an entirely different person now if not for this journey.

It is not simply a hobby. It's probably the most important set of lessons your child will ever have access to.
Wow that is a fantastic post. That is all I can say!
 

barringer97

Semi-Pro
Oh, I agree, but I can spend half of what I am spending and all of your points would remain the same.

I played in college and my kids are on track to as well. This whole thing is hard and expensive. You can’t just do lessons, sometimes clinics are a waste of time and money, and you have to make sure that your kid is always engaged.

A lot of the pro’s are garbage and it’s hard to find someone that is truly interested in making your kid better and taking accountability for it. Also, if you know tennis, I think you just go with your gut. Sometimes you’ll have to spend a little more in periods of their development. We are moving away from pros and just hiring hitting partners. This is cheaper and you can focus on working on certain things.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Pretty sure the Williams sisters didn't play so many USTA tourneys as kids. I think they eventually got a free ride with Rick Macci.
just read macci's book...
seems like the "free ride" was in lieu of "% future earnings" (which IMO is a big gamble, considering macci was paying out of pocket for their apartment/vehicles/etc...)
but then richard backed out of his deal.... claimed it was "payment enough to make a name off his daughters"...
rather than wasting time fighting it, seemed like he just conceded, so he could get back to what he loved teaching... but taught macci NOT to trade services for future performance (but by then he was already a big name (having coached: tommyHo, capriati, williamses, etc...) so people were willing to pay big)
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
just read macci's book...
seems like the "free ride" was in lieu of "% future earnings" (which IMO is a big gamble, considering macci was paying out of pocket for their apartment/vehicles/etc...)
but then richard backed out of his deal.... claimed it was "payment enough to make a name off his daughters"...
rather than wasting time fighting it, seemed like he just conceded, so he could get back to what he loved teaching... but taught macci NOT to trade services for future performance (but by then he was already a big name (having coached: tommyHo, capriati, williamses, etc...) so people were willing to pay big)
Wow. Apparently Agassi had the same perspective as Mr. Williams according to the Love Means Zero documentary.

I guess one could blame Mr Williams for Macci's high hourly rates. :confused:
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I have seen kids take 3-4 lessons a week at 100 a pop
i believe it.. based on convos with clubs, pros, parents, etc... in the area... lots of parents have no problem spending $25k+ a year on tennis for their kid. ironically it's a "bargain" if you compared it to someplace more convenient in NYC. these parents aren't really doing it hoping for a scholarship or whatever... more a general investment in their kid because they have the means to do so.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Wow. Apparently Agassi had the same perspective as Mr. Williams according to the Love Means Zero documentary.

I guess one could blame Mr Williams for Macci's high hourly rates. :confused:
the crazy part is the risk macci took... i know the williamses are now beasts in the tennis world... but as young teens, to house/feed/car/lessons... seemed like 12-16h a day of commitment to them. no chance i'd have done... but then again i'm not famous like macci :p
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Again, due diligence pays dividens for active tennis parents. I found a program with a well respected past ATP player that had a long time program, and who was also currnelty a D1 coach. Yeah, he is the $50-$100 and hour, and we picked and chose when we needed that level coaching. He also ran drill classes for just $10-$20 for an hour an a half that were excellent, and had vetted coaches that were less expensive for other reinforcement and correcton work. With such a popular program of good level juniors, finding hitting partners and practice matches was easy as all the parents were looking for court time for their kids too. All good things.

In my mind, smart parents will level their time and money to maximize their kids exposure and training. I can't see Spending $2000 for 4 lesson with Macci as a better investment than sending my son to Newcombes Tennis Academy for two full weeks to live there. And then I could also do 3 months of training locally with weekly privates for that kind of cash too. That is were the idea that tennis is expenisve starts and ends, because there is value and quality out there beyond well-known people and places for those parents who care to be active in their child's development.
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
Pretty sure the Williams sisters didn't play so many USTA tourneys as kids. I think they eventually got a free ride with Rick Macci.
I am reading that they did play junior tournaments in California through the age of 12 and they played in the Orange Bowl after that. Recall they turned pro very young so it wasn't that they didn't play junior tournaments and found an alternate route to success but that they turned pro early as they were successful.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Again, due diligence pays dividens for active tennis parents. I found a program with a well respected past ATP player that had a long time program, and who was also currnelty a D1 coach. Yeah, he is the $50-$100 and hour, and we picked and chose when we needed that level coaching. He also ran drill classes for just $10-$20 for an hour an a half that were excellent, and had vetted coaches that were less expensive for other reinforcement and correcton work. With such a popular program of good level juniors, finding hitting partners and practice matches was easy as all the parents were looking for court time for their kids too. All good things.

In my mind, smart parents will level their time and money to maximize their kids exposure and training. I can't see Spending $2000 for 4 lesson with Macci as a better investment than sending my son to Newcombes Tennis Academy for two full weeks to live there. And then I could also do 3 months of training locally with weekly privates for that kind of cash too. That is were the idea that tennis is expenisve starts and ends, because there is value and quality out there beyond well-known people and places for those parents who care to be active in their child's development.
so true. $2k for 4 lessons? jeez, is the value really there? perhaps macci lessons are ideal for the atp or d1 hopeful looking for the "last tweak" to refine their game...
but similar to medical services... where i don't an orthopedist or anathesiologist (and pay that rate), to tell me i need to exercise daily, and eat better to be more healthy.
similarly, me, as a 4.0+ rec player, with blatantly obvious flaws (ie. i don't always watch the contact, overweight, etc...), i don't need to pay $500/h for him to tell me that.

also, to add, the cost of lessons is also gonna vary wildly on location (and cost of real estate in that area)...
i recall someone on here saying that there were ex-atp guys giving lessons for $50-60/hr... but in tx somewhere.
whereas if you have a atp point in nyc, you're immediately starting close to the 150-200 range. clinics here are $50/h
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
so true. $2k for 4 lessons? jeez, is the value really there? perhaps macci lessons are ideal for the atp or d1 hopeful looking for the "last tweak" to refine their game...
but similar to medical services... where i don't an orthopedist or anathesiologist (and pay that rate), to tell me i need to exercise daily, and eat better to be more healthy.
similarly, me, as a 4.0+ rec player, with blatantly obvious flaws (ie. i don't always watch the contact, overweight, etc...), i don't need to pay $500/h for him to tell me that.

also, to add, the cost of lessons is also gonna vary wildly on location (and cost of real estate in that area)...
i recall someone on here saying that there were ex-atp guys giving lessons for $50-60/hr... but in tx somewhere.
whereas if you have a atp point in nyc, you're immediately starting close to the 150-200 range. clinics here are $50/h
AZ typically is in the $40-$100 range for privates and $10-$25 for clinics.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
I am reading that they did play junior tournaments in California through the age of 12 and they played in the Orange Bowl after that. Recall they turned pro very young so it wasn't that they didn't play junior tournaments and found an alternate route to success but that they turned pro early as they were successful.
Interesting. I remember when they burst on the scene the commentators said otherwise and that they didn't come up through USTA system.

I see the confusion:
Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on schoolwork. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of other players disparage the Williams sisters during tournaments.
At that time, Williams held a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among the under-12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci's academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
 
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D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Interesting. I remember when they burst on the scene the commentators said otherwise and that they didn't come up through USTA system.

I see the confusion:
Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on schoolwork. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of other players disparage the Williams sisters during tournaments.
At that time, Williams held a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among the under-12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci's academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
i'm reading through richard's book now... and the amount of racism he faced as a kid is alarming (getting dogs sent to chase him as a kid "for fun", beaten up, etc...) not surprised he's sensitive to exposing his girls to any sort of negativity.
haven't finished yet, but i'm even more impressed with his resolve, given he grew up in a world where everyone was against him.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
i'm reading through richard's book now... and the amount of racism he faced as a kid is alarming (getting dogs sent to chase him as a kid "for fun", beaten up, etc...) not surprised he's sensitive to exposing his girls to any sort of negativity.
haven't finished yet, but i'm even more impressed with his resolve, given he grew up in a world where everyone was against him.
Yeah, he seemed totally dedicated to his own vision.
 

Spanglish72

Rookie
WOW thanks for all of the advice & experiences you shared!

I'm just trying to help my kid keep pace with all of the rich kids in our area.

Currently my kid is going with 2 group lessons (6 kids on a court), 1 semi private lesson (2 kids on the court), 1 private (1 hour of match play with a local pro) & finally 2 days a week playing with me (out of shape 4.5 player). My kid gets one day off a week.

This is all just to try & keep pace with the rich kids doing 2 training sessions a day, 6 days a week & playing national tourneys.

We aren't poor, but we aren't rich either, but the cost of travel to these out of state tourneys is beyond our budget.

My kid does pretty well at local tourneys making semis & finals and occasionally winning some of them, but I noticed most of the wins in the age group go to the rich kids who are being home schooled and doing 2 training sessions every day.

Do you think playing up in an age group & not worrying about ranking points is the way to become a great player in later years? I've read Sampras played in the 18's when he was 13 or 14. He got beat up pretty bad for a couple years, but came out stronger for it at the end.

My kid said they don't mind playing up & losing if it will make them better in the end. What do you guys think is the best route?

Maybe playing up locally against older players with higher UTR's, instead of traveling to national tourneys to play the higher UTR kids in your own age group, is the cost effective way to stay competitive in the long run? Then maybe pay local ex college players to play against them as they get older.

When we were kids growing up we would play pick up basketball games with GROWN men at the local park & would improve so much over the summer. We would be sore, but we improved so quickly. Does the same apply in tennis?

Most of the tennis coaches & parents here say you shouldn't play your kid up in tourneys as they could get hurt. Really?

Open to all suggestions. Thanks!
 
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LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
WOW thanks for all of the advice & experiences you shared!

I'm just trying to help my kid keep pace with all of the rich kids in our area.

Currently my kid is going with 2 group lessons (6 kids on a court), 1 semi private lesson (2 kids on the court), 1 private (1 hour of match play with a local pro) & finally 2 days a week playing with me (out of shape 4.5 player). My kid gets one day off a week.

This is all just to be able to keep up with the rich kids doing 2 training sessions a day, 6 days a week & playing national tourneys.

We aren't poor, but we aren't rich either, but the cost of travel to these out of state tourneys is beyond our budget.

My kid does pretty well at local tourneys making semis & finals and occasionally winning some of them, but I noticed most of the wins in the age group go to the rich kids who are being home schooled and doing 2 training sessions every day.

Do you think playing up in an age group & not worrying about ranking points is the way to become a great player in later years? I've read Sampras played in the 18's when he was 13 or 14. He got beat up pretty bad for a couple years, but came out stronger for it at the end.

My kid said they don't mind playing up & losing if it will make them better in the end. What do you guys think is the best route?

Maybe playing up locally against older players with higher UTR's, instead of traveling to national tourneys to play the higher UTR kids in your own age group, is the cost effective way to stay competitive in the long run? Then maybe pay local ex college players to play against them as they get older.

Open to all suggestions. Thanks!
Hi Spanglish72,

We are not rich but not poor as well. I don't see this as competition between wealthy and not so wealthy.

I see kids that are home schooled and go to tennis academies during the day have success in their sport and I have seen them not have success. From what I have seen from these kids and the education they are receiving at these academies they had better do well in tennis because the education they are receiving is not the best. In addition, they are missing out on other things kids learn and develop in an academic setting.

A normal education and a schedule of training similar to what you are providing is the right course.

I also don't think you can force playing up but instead it is driven by how the player is developing. We see 12 year old kids playing in 16s sectional events and having success. To me that sounds like they should be playing at that level. We know kids that have a hard time playing up at all and it is not for them.

You should be able to play higher UTR players in sectional or national events in their age group. You can also look for kids that enroll in level 4s with high UTR and enter those. Another option are UTR tournaments. However, again, UTR tends to progress with success against higher UTR players and I don't think can be forced either.

One way to prepare for success against better players in addition to training is reaching out to them and playing matches against them.

Good luck!
 
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D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
zero experience with junior tennis... but IME, playing against people a level better than you is good experience to give you a sense of what/why I need to practice certain things.

playing too far up, and now you’re taking short cuts to “defend”, vs “doing the right things”.

side note, but related... when tyson was 16 he was already knocking out adults,.. but they intentionally found him fights of increasing difficulty for him that allowed him to develop as a boxer (vs prematurely putting him into title fights, etc,..)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Most of the tennis coaches & parents here say you shouldn't play your kid up in tourneys as they could get hurt. Really?

Open to all suggestions. Thanks!
Of course there is good and bad for playing up. If they are always crushing opponents at age level then playing up would be very benficial. But if they are in the mix at their age level, or even doing well in the age level then giving them confidence and experience in winning and continuing success over several matches is also of benefit. Personally I see too many kids that have very high peaks, but also have times they don't compete well, so keeping a kid in a 50/50 scenario is what I would look for. If they play up and are losing most the time, that can kill confidence, or worse interest. Playing to low they get bored, and again may lose interest. What mix you like to see for your kids is what you need to figure out. But the biggest thing is to find a level that is both challenging AND fun.
 

Spanglish72

Rookie
Of course there is good and bad for playing up. If they are always crushing opponents at age level then playing up would be very benficial. But if they are in the mix at their age level, or even doing well in the age level then giving them confidence and experience in winning and continuing success over several matches is also of benefit. Personally I see too many kids that have very high peaks, but also have times they don't compete well, so keeping a kid in a 50/50 scenario is what I would look for. If they play up and are losing most the time, that can kill confidence, or worse interest. Playing to low they get bored, and again may lose interest. What mix you like to see for your kids is what you need to figure out. But the biggest thing is to find a level that is both challenging AND fun.
I personally never felt bad or lost confidence losing to players older & better than me. I remember playing one kid who blasted me 6-0, 6-0 all summer long. We played every single morning. He liked beating me bad and I liked trying to find a way to beat him. By my senior year I was beating him regularly & he quit the game. We found out later in life that he was also 2 years older than all of us and had lied about his age when he moved to the country.

I really feel like playing up against people who can smoke you now will make you so much better later on. You just have to have a growth mindset & not be discouraged from losing. Some people have that & some don't. Sampras had it. He didn't care about early results.

Look at all the great tennis players that had an older sibling kicking their *** everyday. They didn't lose confidence. They just kept grinding until they could beat them.

I think if you truly want to be great at something maybe you can't do what everyone else says is "THE PATH" to it. Maybe you just have to go with your gut.
 
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ChaelAZ

Legend
You just have to have a growth mindset & not be discouraged from losing. Some people have that & some don't.
Yeah, that is a tough, trial-by-fire way to find out if someone has a growth mindset or if you burn them out though.

Working with high school kids, with all the hormonal changes taking them on emotional roller coasters I find it is good to have balance. Some juniors though you can keep pitting them against higher ranked players and they respond well. Just depends on the kids and where they are at overall. Probably another strong reason to be an active parent, knowing who you kid is in that gambit. My son was wildly athletic and talented, but really enjoys the social and fun part of competing over a single care given about winning. Drives me flipping NUTS, but he's not me and to keep him going so he might use his years of playing to get into a college program I have had to mind myself in how I played him and where.

That said, one my son's contemporaries is a die-hard, play every day girl who ended up competing on the Women's Pro Ciricuit and now plays for some college in Denver. She played up her whole life since 13 years old and it never phased her one bit.

Definitely something to suss out.
 

Spanglish72

Rookie
Yeah, that is a tough, trial-by-fire way to find out if someone has a growth mindset or if you burn them out though.

Working with high school kids, with all the hormonal changes taking them on emotional roller coasters I find it is good to have balance. Some juniors though you can keep pitting them against higher ranked players and they respond well. Just depends on the kids and where they are at overall. Probably another strong reason to be an active parent, knowing who you kid is in that gambit. My son was wildly athletic and talented, but really enjoys the social and fun part of competing over a single care given about winning. Drives me flipping NUTS, but he's not me and to keep him going so he might use his years of playing to get into a college program I have had to mind myself in how I played him and where.

That said, one my son's contemporaries is a die-hard, play every day girl who ended up competing on the Women's Pro Ciricuit and now plays for some college in Denver. She played up her whole life since 13 years old and it never phased her one bit.

Definitely something to suss out.
How did the 13 year old do when she played up? Did she she play the 16's or 18's?

If you play up, you can have less pressure on you to perform, because you are usually expected to lose.

Is that a better way to learn something? Playing free and going for your shots.

I heard Larry Bird grew up playing pick up basketball against African American adults who worked in the kitchen were his Dad was a janitor.

They would all play after work & beat up on Larry really bad. He got to learn under no pressure & against better competition.

Could this be the way to do it??

I think most parents & kids are too worried about rankings and recognition to ever try this path though.
 
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Traffic

Hall of Fame
I think it's great that you are working closely with your son in his tennis development. It's great that he is entering competitive tournaments and making it to semis and finals. And on occasion, winning the event. That sounds about right. Face some easy opponents in the early rounds and then face similar level to get to or advance from the semi. Same for finals. Lots of mental pressure to pull out a close win.

I think playing up is ok to a degree. If he is able to slowly progress where he is making it to the 3rd round or making it deep into the consolation bracket, then he is getting good experience out of it. If he is done after 2, then it may help to see what to look forward to, but doesn't necessarily offer up as much benefit as there is no real pressure to win.

Playing too high up just gets a whipping. There is zero pressure to win. Just seeing if you can hang on to grab a couple games. Not sure this benefits the players a whole lot other than to see it and feel it once in a while on how good the competition can be.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Kids need to play matches against similar level opponents. The pressure of a match is strongest there. They will meet better players in tournaments. So they will always get that. Playing up is valid only if you have to. If you are winning all the 14s. And do not want to travel. Then play up in 16s sectionals. Or 18s to find tougher competition.
 

Spanglish72

Rookie
I think it's great that you are working closely with your son in his tennis development. It's great that he is entering competitive tournaments and making it to semis and finals. And on occasion, winning the event. That sounds about right. Face some easy opponents in the early rounds and then face similar level to get to or advance from the semi. Same for finals. Lots of mental pressure to pull out a close win.

I think playing up is ok to a degree. If he is able to slowly progress where he is making it to the 3rd round or making it deep into the consolation bracket, then he is getting good experience out of it. If he is done after 2, then it may help to see what to look forward to, but doesn't necessarily offer up as much benefit as there is no real pressure to win.

Playing too high up just gets a whipping. There is zero pressure to win. Just seeing if you can hang on to grab a couple games. Not sure this benefits the players a whole lot other than to see it and feel it once in a while on how good the competition can be.
My kid is 13 and recently started playing up in 18's (against everyone else's better judgement lol).

1st tourney lost in 3rd set breaker, then lost 1st consolation match.

2nd tourney lost in 1st round, then won consolation tourney.

3rd tourney got blown out in both matches. Although it didn't look like a blow out from the sidelines. My kid was the one dictating and the other players were doing all the running. Lots of deuce points etc. No excuses though, Got beat by more consistent players, but I could see my kid wasn't too far away.

One match my kid lost 8-1 to a player and in 2 weeks beat that same player 8-2. How is that a bad thing? That is improvement. Sink or swim baby.

I really feel they are improving so much more by playing way up and losing, than winning more in their own age group.

The ball is just so much heavier and faster in 18's than 14's. It is good to feel that speed & power and get used to it early.

My kid hasn't shown any signs of feeling down after the losses, because they are enjoying the style of play much more.

Why does everyone want kids to have pressure to win at 12 & 13 years old?
 
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rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
My kid is 13 and recently started playing up in 18's (against everyone else's better judgement lol).

1st tourney lost in 3rd set breaker, then lost 1st consolation match.

2nd tourney lost in 1st round, then won consolation tourney.

3rd tourney got blown out in both matches. Although it didn't look like a blow out from the sidelines. My kid was the one dictating and the other players were doing all the running. Lots of deuce points etc. No excuses though, Got beat by more consistent players, but I could see my kid wasn't too far away.

One match my kid lost 8-1 to a player and in 2 weeks beat that same player 8-2. How is that a bad thing? That is improvement. Sink or swim baby.

I really feel they are improving so much more by playing way up and losing, than winning more in their own age group.

The ball is just so much heavier and faster in 18's than 14's. It is good to feel that speed & power and get used to it early.

My kid hasn't shown any signs of feeling down after the losses, because they are enjoying the style of play much more.

Why does everyone want kids to have pressure to win at 12 & 13 years old?
Because learning to win is also a practiced skill for tennis. It's part of the mental development of a junior player. Or do whatever you want and duck match pressure by always playing up. This will hinder development. The fulltime kids mentioned are not only playing up. They play at an age group appropriate to their tennis level.

Pros played up as juniors because they win everything. Even playing up 2 age groups they still win. That's why they did it. To find the right competition relative to their tennis skill.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
How did the 13 year old do when she played up? Did she she play the 16's or 18's?

If you play up, you can have less pressure on you to perform, because you are usually expected to lose.

Is that a better way to learn something? Playing free and going for your shots.

I heard Larry Bird grew up playing pick up basketball against African American adults who worked in the kitchen were his Dad was a janitor.

They would all play after work & beat up on Larry really bad. He got to learn under no pressure & against better competition.

Could this be the way to do it??

I think most parents & kids are too worried about rankings and recognition to ever try this path though.
Toni did well playing up because she was already beating kids in her age group soundly, so no benefit there for her. She played her first Pro Circuit tournament a few years ago at 16 and was absolutely demonlished 0/0. She went back to play juniors tourneys in the 18s and did well, then had a wild card into the main draw of a Pro Circuit event, and she lost but was better competing. I just talked with her again to find out if she was doing the qualies or playing in the main of the Pro Circuit even here and she said she is on scholarship. So was getting beat down bad, or was playing at level the key, or palying up? Who knows. I have other players that were in that group that play college, but never tried to play up or go on the pro tournaments. All kinda did their own path, so I don't thnik there is a magic formula. My observations are my own there. I agree that rankings do have too much impact on parents decsisions on the success and progress of their kids.
 

Spanglish72

Rookie
What I'm seeing is the kids who are winning a lot in 12's & 14's locally, by moonballing opponents to death, get their butts handed to them when they try to play up. They get blown off the court by the older more powerful kids. (I'm sure this isn't the case with nationally ranked 12 & 14 year olds).

My kid loses to the best local moonballers in their age group, but can rally and occasionally win some matches when playing up against the older kids, It's weird to watch.

How can you lose to a moonballer your own age, but beat a kid 4 years older who can crush the ball lol.

I guess the best approach is to play all of the age groups on a rotating basis and not care about rankings too much.
 
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Traffic

Hall of Fame
Because learning to win is also a practiced skill for tennis. It's part of the mental development of a junior player. Or do whatever you want and duck match pressure by always playing up. This will hinder development. The fulltime kids mentioned are not only playing up. They play at an age group appropriate to their tennis level.

Pros played up as juniors because they win everything. Even playing up 2 age groups they still win. That's why they did it. To find the right competition relative to their tennis skill.
Playing up too much will definitely get rid of match pressure. You are not expected to win. There is nothing to lose.
Also, a very high level player will start out conservative and then slowly crank up the heat. But he may detect the level of his opponent and then just play at a level enough to beat his opponent.

So playing up too much and you don't learn how to deal with match pressure and you are playing against a very good opponent that is playing at 85% intensity.
 
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