Raising a tennis player in a tennisless place

#1
Hi guys,

Fatih from Turkey. I lived in the USA for 1.5 years when i was in high school. Learnt and loved tennis there. Well, i am only a 3.5 player but i even helped my coach teach toddlers often.

Here in my country , we don't have any real tennis. I mean nothing more serious than amateur high school teams. Especially in my city i can't even find a decent tennis coach who has ever coached a competitive player. Well, i am living in a 2 million people city and i would be surprised if there are more than 20 tennis courts(Not tennis clubs. 20 total tennis courts !)

Anyways, i know the odds of raising a child that will go Pro isn't high in my situation but i would love my 3 year old son, Tuna to at least have a chance to show if he could be a competitive player. If at some point, i can see that he has a potential, i am ready to take him Europe or the USA and spend all the money i have, to get him some real training.

But "How do you get your child trained where there are no serious trainers?" is the question.

I have 2 probably not very realistic options:

1- I train him with whatever i learn from Youtube or books. I can hear you saying "This sports is too technical to get help from Youtube" and yes.
2- I hire a soccer coach and give him a serious soccer training. If he is a promising individual in terms of phsical attributes, then i can start considering switching to tennis, in a more serious country. But i am not sure if by then(when he is 6?), it will be too late to switch.

Please do not consider me as a control freak father. I just want my child to have a shot. Of course, if he wants it.


 
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#2
To shoot pictures outside we need higher aperture setting also at a gazillion mega pixels. So we can see the amount of Isr on the chickens leg.

More seriously because Turkey doesn't have a lot of tennis competition if you somehow train your kid he might actually be the best of a few. And qualify for whatever resources the country has for tennis on a national level.
 
#3
Please do not consider me as a control freak father. I just want my child to have a shot.
Then give him a shot at something where the chances of real success aren't so small, especially given where you live. Trying to make him a tennis player where nobody plays the game IS the action of a control freak father.
 
#4
Tennis is a great sport, lobby your govt to start building public courts with parks and leisure places so the public can enjoy life. They will then be great leaders worthy of the positions they occupy
 
#5
You'll have to become his coach at least for awhile, and with the help available on the internet I think that's possible. I would guess that in a city of 2 million there are some people that do know a lot about tennis, but might not be active coaches. I'd look around for someone that might have coached or played at one time but now is doing something else.

Also, consider that focusing on a sport that is not common in your area may be a good idea. A recent study by an economist here in the US showed that the most likely way for a child to get an athletic scholarship to college in the US is get them involved in fencing. Forget basketball, football, soccer. The ratio of kids in those sport to scholarships is extremely high. Fencing on the other hand is not popular, very few kids do it, and there are a relatively high number of scholarships. Plus, the colleges that offer scholarships are the best schools in the country.

Another advantage you might have is it maybe that you live in an area where you can play outdoors year round, in which case you don't need indoor courts which helps. Also, tennis is not a super expensive sport.

You might be onto something here.
 
#6
You'll have to become his coach at least for awhile, and with the help available on the internet I think that's possible. I would guess that in a city of 2 million there are some people that do know a lot about tennis, but might not be active coaches. I'd look around for someone that might have coached or played at one time but now is doing something else.

Also, consider that focusing on a sport that is not common in your area may be a good idea. A recent study by an economist here in the US showed that the most likely way for a child to get an athletic scholarship to college in the US is get them involved in fencing. Forget basketball, football, soccer. The ratio of kids in those sport to scholarships is extremely high. Fencing on the other hand is not popular, very few kids do it, and there are a relatively high number of scholarships. Plus, the colleges that offer scholarships are the best schools in the country.

Another advantage you might have is it maybe that you live in an area where you can play outdoors year round, in which case you don't need indoor courts which helps. Also, tennis is not a super expensive sport.

You might be onto something here.
Thanks for this encouraging post. Yes, indeed winter is not too cold to play tennis here. Well we don't have any indoor tennis places anyways, hehe. I don't feel so much hope but i keep reading those players who started playing tennis much older than my child. So , maybe we have a shot.
 
#7
Thanks for this encouraging post. Yes, indeed winter is not too cold to play tennis here. Well we don't have any indoor tennis places anyways, hehe. I don't feel so much hope but i keep reading those players who started playing tennis much older than my child. So , maybe we have a shot.
You're welcome. I think it's best to follow your advice "I just want my child to have a shot. Of course, if he wants it." That really says it all.
 
#8
Have him hit the backboard.
If he loves it and will hit for hours, he will become good. You should make sure he has good clean strokes early, so he is practicing something that has a high ceiling. In contravention to that, though, Pancho Segua developed his unorthodox 2-handed forehand, which was one of the greatest strokes in the game, just by practicing. He would be outside the courts, since he had no money (he even suffered from rickets due to malnutrition) hitting against the wall for hours.
If he really shows the desire and shows good promise, then think about serious next steps. There are few kids that have that desire.
 
#10
Have him hit the backboard.
If he loves it and will hit for hours, he will become good. You should make sure he has good clean strokes early, so he is practicing something that has a high ceiling. In contravention to that, though, Pancho Segua developed his unorthodox 2-handed forehand, which was one of the greatest strokes in the game, just by practicing. He would be outside the courts, since he had no money (he even suffered from rickets due to malnutrition) hitting against the wall for hours.
If he really shows the desire and shows good promise, then think about serious next steps. There are few kids that have that desire.
I really enjoyed reading your post. I felt like this was the answer i am looking for. Desire ! I remember hitting to backboard for hours and hours, never getting tired and my coach always praised how unbelievable my progress in only a couple months . I would pick up the balls, running to keep playing as soon as possible. I never felt such desire before. I hope my son will have the same.

What age would you say the earliest i should proceed to backboard. I know that it depends on how the kid progresses, but since i have no one around to compare or compete with, i will never know if we are behind or ahead.

Another question i am curious about is, what percent of kids that were raised seriously for competitive tennis actually get to become a semi pro or pro?
 
#11
There has been a Turkish top100 player a couple years ago. I think his name was ilhan or so.
Yes sir. But he isn’t even originally from Turkey. Well, if the highest ranking a tennis player from a 75 million people country , gets is 77, i bet this country is near bottom in tennis in the world :) . But i will take my son to the USA if he has the potential. I have been there 5 times. It’s not a dream to be there once we want it.
 
#13
Looks like there is an ATP event in Antalya. ALİ BEY CLUB MANAVGAT seems to have 61 courts. Might be cheaper to relocate to Antalya and see if your kid makes it.
61 courts? Haha. Ridicilous man. Didn’t know such a place existed. But this place is made for organizations. Not really to train competitive players. Man, once again, the best player’s rank came out of this country was 77 and only for a short while. There is not much hope in this country.

I am so happy with the progress so far guys. He likes playing with me. He has been practicing his kicking to a bouncing ball since he was 1.5 . So he is good with bouncing things. He can hit back 50% of foam balls with his racket. We can even have short ralleys. I will share as i have good footage.
 
#16
I thought i would need years to ask this question but he uses that racket pretty impressively. He holds the racket two handed in front of him(symmetrical to his body) and moves up. I don’t know when to teach him the basic forehand. I know there is no definitive answer to give here but please share what you know.

This was our third day practicing. We practice at least 2 hours. Our drills:

1- Him kicking a volleyball around. And me chasing him while he dribbles.
2- He goes to the edge of the fence. And on 3, he starts running trying to catch the balloon i threw up.
3- He joggles a balloon on the racket.
4- He hits back a foam tennis ball.
5- I hit that foam ball up real high and he tries to land it on his racket.

I am desperate but will keep trying. :)
 
#18
This is a fantastic post. Well done.

I have 2 probably not very realistic options:

1- I train him with whatever i learn from Youtube or books. I can hear you saying "This sports is too technical to get help from Youtube" and yes.
2- I hire a soccer coach and give him a serious soccer training. If he is a promising individual in terms of phsical attributes, then i can start considering switching to tennis, in a more serious country. But i am not sure if by then(when he is 6?), it will be too late to switch.
Those are two excellent options that you should probably do together and YouTube is excellent, there are hundreds of coaches that charge quite a lot per hour dishing out hundreds of videos that you can benefit from. Here's a quick search for "Teaching Tennis to a 3 Year Old" with lots of videos teaching even footwork drills for 3 year olds.

Besides, look at the pro's that have had coaching from their parents, this has never hurt them, I know that here in Britain, Judy Murray, Andy's mother, is heavily involved with getting kids into tennis and what might surprise you is that she comes from a similar path as the one you mention, in this interview she's talking about how she volunteered as a coach as the tennis club had no coaches at the time and how she had to learn how to coach and get the qualifications and well, the rest is history.

Why do I mention Judy? Because there's nothing stopping you from reaching out to her, or read her book and watch her videos.

I wouldn't worry about this control freak parenting, was Judy a control freak when she decided to join the club as a coach? She did it and now Andy is an inspiration to millions of kids around the world and let's be fair, his lifestyle doesn't look to be that bad. As long as your kid is having fun and learning new stuff, you should be good, and that links to your second point, the football coach, btw, Andy also played football when young.

At 15, he was asked to train with Rangers Football Club at their School of Excellence, but declined, opting to focus on his tennis career instead
I've heard that kids that play several sports end up succeeding later in the one they specialise on, so if football is a strong local sport then get him to try it out and see how he likes it. But don't stop at football, what other sports are strong in your city, do you have any famous local basketball coach or any other sport that will help him develop eye-hand coordination?

Go for it man.
 
#20
I am watching ladies ITF Futures tournament in Antalya, Turkey now! Also, their is men’s clay court tournament taken place in Turkey right now away from the ladies tournament which is on hard courts.
 
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#21
Yes sir. But he isn’t even originally from Turkey. Well, if the highest ranking a tennis player from a 75 million people country , gets is 77, i bet this country is near bottom in tennis in the world :) . But i will take my son to the USA if he has the potential. I have been there 5 times. It’s not a dream to be there once we want it.
There are many European countries who are better in tennis than the USA now, this isn't the 80s anymore.

Maybe consider to move to Spain or France.

Also you can teach him fundamentals in Turkey too. Teach him good fundamentals and see if he beats most other kids in your region. If he doesn't there is probably not enough talent to warrant a tennis academy.
 
#22
The chicken is dead....
Well, that wasn’t his pet chicken or anything like this. She was meant to be dinner at some point.

I am watching ladies ITF Futures tournament in Antalya, Turkey now! Also, their is men’s clay court tournament taken place in Turkey right now away from the ladies tournament which is on hard courts.
Would you laugh if i told you they don’t broadcast that tournament in Turkish TV?

There are many European countries who are better in tennis than the USA now, this isn't the 80s anymore.

Maybe consider to move to Spain or France.

Also you can teach him fundamentals in Turkey too. Teach him good fundamentals and see if he beats most other kids in your region. If he doesn't there is probably not enough talent to warrant a tennis academy.
Man, moving to another country is sure an option but in my next post you will see my concerns.
 
#23
This is a fantastic post. Well done.



Those are two excellent options that you should probably do together and YouTube is excellent, there are hundreds of coaches that charge quite a lot per hour dishing out hundreds of videos that you can benefit from. Here's a quick search for "Teaching Tennis to a 3 Year Old" with lots of videos teaching even footwork drills for 3 year olds.

Besides, look at the pro's that have had coaching from their parents, this has never hurt them, I know that here in Britain, Judy Murray, Andy's mother, is heavily involved with getting kids into tennis and what might surprise you is that she comes from a similar path as the one you mention, in this interview she's talking about how she volunteered as a coach as the tennis club had no coaches at the time and how she had to learn how to coach and get the qualifications and well, the rest is history.

Why do I mention Judy? Because there's nothing stopping you from reaching out to her, or read her book and watch her videos.

I wouldn't worry about this control freak parenting, was Judy a control freak when she decided to join the club as a coach? She did it and now Andy is an inspiration to millions of kids around the world and let's be fair, his lifestyle doesn't look to be that bad. As long as your kid is having fun and learning new stuff, you should be good, and that links to your second point, the football coach, btw, Andy also played football when young.



I've heard that kids that play several sports end up succeeding later in the one they specialise on, so if football is a strong local sport then get him to try it out and see how he likes it. But don't stop at football, what other sports are strong in your city, do you have any famous local basketball coach or any other sport that will help him develop eye-hand coordination?

Go for it man.
Man this was a super boosting message , and made my day yesterday. Thank you.

It was the 4th day of our practice today. I still would love if he made to be a pro but here are some concerns that got me down after heavy thinking and research.

1- I know from internet my country seems like an alright tennis country. But it’s not. Some clubs in Antalya have huge tennis resorts but that’s only to attract more tourists and advertise that city.

My city is another story. 2 million people and i would not think there are more than 100 players that are better than 3.5 . This is ridicilous. I know. I can’t find any amateurs to play with. I am a 3.5 and i usually beat the “tennis coach” to whom i pay to play with . No kidding !

I watched some videos of Judy. She is a real inspiration. But i need to say my situation is much harder.

2- Who is my son gonna compete with? I believe if there is no competition, no success will arrive. We have thousands of schools and not a single school has a tennis team that i know of. There are a handful children who go to tennis training twice a week. That training place(with 3 courts!) will let only kids older than 6-7 years old. They just teach those kids how to do basic strokes and i would guess almost none of those kids even keep playing to be something.

Tennis is like going to paintball here ! Just a leisure activity.

3- I have to be realistic about financial aspect. I keep reading that the most pros don’t make a dime of tennis. I am ready to spend whatever i have to sponsor my kid but the thing is, even if he has a potential to be an actual pro player, money has to keep flowing till he makes enough money to buy his own things. I mean imagine please. I will move to another country and try living there where i have no permission to work(or even live) and pay couple ten thousand Euros every year to keep him trained. I mean i have some money but i am not a factory owner or something.

4- This is one of the main reasons. As i watched toddler training videos it wasn’t late before i realized even a 3-4 year old child needs some expert help. How do i proceed to stances for example? I will end up teaching him stances wrong and those bad habbits will ruin his tennis forever.


Hey, i am not trying to say i give up. But at least at this point i think we will need to focus on soccer. There are soccer fields around. There are serious soccer coaches around. There is competition around. At least this way i will have something more earthy.
 
#24
You are talking about serious soccer or tennis coaching for a 3 year old when you don’t know what his athletic abilities or likes/dislikes are. A 3 or 4 year old does not need expert coaching regardless of what you have seen or believe.


Take him out to the local courts and hit around to gauge his interests. Even that will probably change as the years go by. No need for any formal coaching right now.
 
#25
Agree, the kid is 3 years old, as long as he's having fun playing and being exposed to other sports, he will be progressing, that's the key of any future success from what I have gathered.

Federer also credits his hand-eye coordination to the wide range of sports he played as a child, including badminton and basketball.
At age 8, Nadal won an under-12 regional tennis championship at a time when he was also a promising football player. At age 12, Nadal won the Spanish and European tennis titles in his age group, while also playing football full-time.
Kyrgios was a promising basketball player who represented the Australian Capital Territory and Australia in his early teens before deciding to focus solely on tennis when he was 14 years old.
Not saying it'll be easy, but you gotta look at the positives, since there's no competition, it'll be super easy for you to get some press for your kid in a couple of years when he's hitting around the court, then in 2021 you can fly cheap from Turkey to EU for some competition as he'll be a 6 years old with 3 years of tennis under his belt, this could be a great family holiday to south of France or Spain where he can get some exposure to other kids. Here in the UK there are weekend competitions and with £50 return flights from Turkey could be viable.

Not saying it's cheap, but flights for 2 at £100, one night hotel £50 plus another £100 for food and transportation and your kids monthly exposure for £250, which you can try to raise with local businesses and reaching out to gov grants and god knows what.

Again, not cheap or easy, but you can send him to tennis academies in Europe for the school holidays when he gets older, you can even crowdfund for stuff like this.

You are definitely going against the odds, so don't expect easy, but you are also giving your kid a solid sports foundation.

The school has no tennis program? Go to parents meetings and offer to teach the other kids at the public park, that's what Judy Murray did.

Who's your kid going to compete with? With the other kids you're teaching at the park, you are the official school coach now :)

Great that you are concerned about not teaching him wrong, you won't, I'm no expert, but is there a wrong way a 3 year old can hit a tennis ball? Nadal played with his right hand until he was 8.

Keep going mate, make that 4 day into 40, 400, 4000...get your kid to the footy practice and keep us posted.
 
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