Reasons that Coaches Stop their Youth Talents from Competitions

#1
There're clear reasons such as health or poor performance in practice but there may be some other causes to know. What would they be? Parents? Education first? Financial issues? What else?

In the case that I have just experienced in a U10 and U12 competition in Chendu (China), it seems that the local coach does not like that kids get ranking points. He pulled out his 4 or so young players that were to participate in quarter-final matches of U10-U12 boys and girls saying to me that "to those tournament organizers it's just about the points". He personally apologized to me for my son was to play one of his tennis school's kids. His bitter apology appeared to have been directed at my boy 'cause my son was ranked number one while the other kid was way below. Watching his kids practice, I would see why he was worried (they all would probably loose). Well, my son ended up in the final which the Chendu kid would most likely not have a chance to get to. Anyhow, was this coach's reason to give up his tennis school's kids opportunities justifiable or not?

Do the formal U10/U12 tennis tournaments in the US and elsewhere rank their kids? If so, what is the ranking system? And, how do coaches/parents of kids respond to the system there?
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#2
https://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/Rankings/RankingHome.aspx#&&s=4\Page_RankingList\ListID_1934149\PlayerID_\Year_\Type_searchresults

There is a USTA junior ranking system.

Responses of parents and coaches vary. Clearly, some parents and players game the system, trying to find tournaments with weak draws to more easily earn ranking points. At least in my neighborhood (and son's level), coaches don't seem to be contributing to the gaming of the system. They like their players participating in events, but their interest seems more about player development than gamesmanship, and I have not known coaches to be heavy handed about which events their players compete in.

And there is no way here for coaches to force tournament withdrawls. My son and I would laugh and ignore the coach if a coach said, "Withdraw from this tournament." The coach works for the player and the parent. God bless the US and capitalism.
 
#3
I sat next to a father of a tennis prodigy on an LA to Miami flight and he told me a lot of horror stories.

He claimed many parents and coaches don’t want their kids losing too much (at all) for the mental damage; once they start losing they realize they might not make it to the pros, leading to a dropoff in the commitment and enthusiasm to practice. He didn’t saying it happened that young though.
 
#4
There are coaches who want to win more than the players, especially in junior tennis. Same thing with parents. This is why there are a lot of angry coaches/parents and a lot of crying children. After seeing the draw, maybe that coach disagreed with the format or the draw.

Honestly, it will be hard to ascertain the reason since there could be so many.
 
#5
Dear all,

I am grateful for all your replies here as they are valuable tools in my son's development too. Moreover, I appreciate the tennislink provided in the first follow-up for that may offer the view of what youth tennis players are doing in states.

some parents and players game the system, trying to find tournaments with weak draws to more easily earn ranking points.
I am as guilty as those parents suggested here. Even though my kid's currently ranked 3rd in the Zheng Jie national tournament competition in the whole China, he can get his arse easily kicked by at least 20-30 other U10 Chinese kids on courts...especially in Shanghai and Beijing areas which I am avoiding :(

So, I often check the tournament to be played and when I sign my kid I look at how he gets ranked into the tournament. In the last Chendu Zheng Jie cup, for example, my boy was ranked number one (as first three did not show) after I signed him in and that really made me go to it. Now, he's one spot to the number 3 for my boy scored with the loss only in the final. Yes, I am planning to go to other tournaments where he'll be ranked first or second but I am not ashamed for the couple of kids in the top are not up to their task to participate anywhere but in their local areas. Most likely, I'll meet their parents in the finals that are played at the end of the season when my boy'll have to be up to the task.

At least in my neighborhood (and son's level), coaches don't seem to be contributing to the gaming of the system. They like their players participating in events, but their interest seems more about player development than gamesmanship, and I have not known coaches to be heavy handed about which events their players compete in.

And there is no way here for coaches to force tournament withdrawls. My son and I would laugh and ignore the coach if a coach said, "Withdraw from this tournament." The coach works for the player and the parent. God bless the US and capitalism.
I am of an opinion that putting a temporary halt on a kid's asspirations may be more beneficial than detrimental. When the kid shows poor attitude either during practices or in some competitions where he/she underperforms, the youngster should be reminded of it.

I am proud to announce that I have just banned my kid from further tennis tournaments until he improves his attitude and performance. He has indicated that he's either burnt out or on a way down with his form. Further more, his attidue in drills went down, he showed a frustration in a loss at practice and he "only" ended up in a provincial quarter final (U12) last weekend in Changsha where he always got to the semifinal before. For the last tournament, I wouldn't chestise him, but I saw his service was really bad as he was upset with himself, his baseline work highly inadequate and his offense out of his fine forehand/backhand nonexistant at later stages of the tournament which pointed to his tiredness for too many tournaments and perhaps too much pressure well noted on this board. In a nutshell, I believe he'll re-charge his batteries and will come to senses with his currently awkward forehand and slow footwork as much as he will rebound with his fine first service after a couple weeks work on the practice courts. I encourage others to do the same; however, I warn all that coaches should not put their agenda in front of kids' development which I think may be the case sometimes.


I sat next to a father of a tennis prodigy on an LA to Miami flight and he told me a lot of horror stories.

He claimed many parents and coaches don’t want their kids losing too much (at all) for the mental damage; once they start losing they realize they might not make it to the pros, leading to a dropoff in the commitment and enthusiasm to practice. He didn’t saying it happened that young though.
This is what I fear in my son's case, so I have banned him from going anywhere now. Kids ought to know that hitting tennis balls on courts is a pleasure rather than pressure. I constantly tell my son that he should love each ball that comes to him, not hate it when it comes too often. In long rallies recently, he got so frustrated with the balls on his baseline that I had to calm him down during matches. That was one of the main reasons I began thinking to stop him from further tournaments till he straightens out his character.

There are coaches who want to win more than the players, especially in junior tennis.
Absolutely! In China, some coaches get paid handsomely and the wealthy parents except results. This is why I hate them so much. The coach in Chendu, for instance, told me that they hit their kids with balls hard as a punishment, when they see the kids are lazy. I heard one of the Serbian coaches there yelling at a kid in a broken English "What an idiot!" "Unbelievable!" Anyhow, there are good and bad coaches so one has to see well before making a wise decision for the lil one.

I thank you all again for the participation and hope to see more coming as we all need to share our points of views on the topic.

Regards,
tennisbro
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#6
I am proud to announce that I have just banned my kid from further tennis tournaments until he improves his attitude and performance.
We've restricted the participation of our student-athletes from sports and other extracurriculars a few times over the years for various reasons. I simply regard this as good parenting. Most common reasons:

1. Disobedience to household rules. Participation in sports is a privilege, not a right for teens. Disrespect to parents, teachers, or coaches, and disobedience to household rules will earn a period of non-participation. This step is reserved for more major infractions, not stuff like forgetting to make the bed or being 5 minutes past curfew.

2. Substandard academic performance. We emphasize work before play in our household. Just because USTA (tennis), USFA (fencing), and NRA (shooting) do not have grade requirements for student participant does not mean parents cannot make and enforce their own academic performance standards for student athletes. As parents, we tended to act on a shorter time scale - academic work not completed in a given week means athlete sits out of competition that weekend (and possibly practice the following week). Athlete may return once academic performance is improved.

3. Poor attitude and/or sportsmanship in sports. Our goal in athletics is development of fitness and character. The fitness goals can be met through alternate means (bike riding, jumping rope, solo gym work), so if needed, poor character displays are better supported by sitting the teen out for a time.

Yes, at times, we've been blamed by teachers and coaches for robbing a team of a needed player. But we emphasize that the parents did not let the team down, the student athlete who gets sat as a disciplinary consequence let the team down. They knowingly broke the rules. When I was growing up, it was (near) universally viewed as good parenting to put character and academics before sports performance. Teachers and coaches who blamed a parent for being a parent and bringing a consequence would have been laughed at. These days, it's a combo of self-esteem fantasies and win at any cost where teachers and coaches are chicken about bringing consequences lest their popularity suffer.

One thing I loved about the US Air Force Academy was that the Athletic Director (Dr. Hans Mueh) when I was there always prioritized academics and character over athletics. I learned a lot from him, and I hope to implement his approach and priorities into my future jobs as an educator and administrator. If a sports program is not emphasizing real character, academic work before play, and the academic program of an institution, then they are doing it wrong.
 
#7
Most common reasons:

1. Disobedience to household rules. Participation in sports is a privilege, not a right for teens. Disrespect to parents, teachers, or coaches, and disobedience to household rules will earn a period of non-participation. This step is reserved for more major infractions, not stuff like forgetting to make the bed or being 5 minutes past curfew.

2. Substandard academic performance. We emphasize work before play in our household. Just because USTA (tennis), USFA (fencing), and NRA (shooting) do not have grade requirements for student participant does not mean parents cannot make and enforce their own academic performance standards for student athletes. As parents, we tended to act on a shorter time scale - academic work not completed in a given week means athlete sits out of competition that weekend (and possibly practice the following week). Athlete may return once academic performance is improved.

3. Poor attitude and/or sportsmanship in sports. Our goal in athletics is development of fitness and character. The fitness goals can be met through alternate means (bike riding, jumping rope, solo gym work), so if needed, poor character displays are better supported by sitting the teen out for a time.
4. Inadequate progress/response to drills assigned during practices. While training, instructions are to be followed. Those sessions are just like classroom learning; and, if they aren't followed accordingly, participants/students need to be pointed out in the right directions. Allowing those kids to participate in competitions is just like rewarding them for their failures which is totally counterproductive and ready to explode in coaches/parents faces later on.

However, stopping kids from play for the tournament organizers are not who they should be or for the fear kids could fail may not be the right choice. Kids ought to know where they stand and they deserve chances when they work hard or wish to participate.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#8
4. Inadequate progress/response to drills assigned during practices. While training, instructions are to be followed. Those sessions are just like classroom learning; and, if they aren't followed accordingly, participants/students need to be pointed out in the right directions. Allowing those kids to participate in competitions is just like rewarding them for their failures which is totally counterproductive and ready to explode in coaches/parents faces later on.

However, stopping kids from play for the tournament organizers are not who they should be or for the fear kids could fail may not be the right choice. Kids ought to know where they stand and they deserve chances when they work hard or wish to participate.
Wait, teachers can kick students out of the classroom for failing to follow directions?

When I coached (elementary basketball) the rule was every athlete had to play equal time regardless of whether they followed instructions or even showed up to basketball.

But by high school, most coaches have more authority over their teams than most teachers have in the classroom.

However, tennis in the US is mostly an individual sport. Coaches are paid by parents to teach their children the sport, but participation in tournaments is individual, and parents enter their juniors directly into the events. Coaches cannot prevent a junior from participating in these events. Tennis teams are different. A coach may prevent team participation, but any decent player would simply quit the team and compete in tourneys as an individual. There are many USTA, UTR, and local club type tournaments within driving distances most weekends for parents who are willing to taxi their juniors around to them.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#9
4. Inadequate progress/response to drills assigned during practices. While training, instructions are to be followed. Those sessions are just like classroom learning; and, if they aren't followed accordingly, participants/students need to be pointed out in the right directions. Allowing those kids to participate in competitions is just like rewarding them for their failures which is totally counterproductive and ready to explode in coaches/parents faces later on.

However, stopping kids from play for the tournament organizers are not who they should be or for the fear kids could fail may not be the right choice. Kids ought to know where they stand and they deserve chances when they work hard or wish to participate.
I guess I'm more in the majority of private tennis club program kids; advance in tennis but only a very few are headed to pro or college programs.

The ones that are highest ranked get looks from colleges and manufacturer's sponsorship.

The rest of the pack continue to seek improvements in their own development by entering tournaments and the ranking system is a quick and dirty way to see where your relative tennis level is compared to the pack. A rank of +/- 10 really doesn't tell the story as one could gather more points just by entering more tournaments. And those closely ranked can win and lose against the same opponent throughout the year.

Entering tournaments is seen as a way to prove the players abilities in a match environment. I agree it is a privilege and if other areas are not meeting standards, then tournaments should be with held. But if performance in drills/practice/class is not apparent, then it will also show during tournaments. So not sure about the value of not allowing participation in tournaments based on poor practice results. Now, if it's about attitude, not paying attention, and not showing respect to coaches and other players, then I can see it as losing privileges. Actually, they should not be allowed to participate in class.
 
#10
Somewhat, I procrastinated on this below suggestion, although I had a strong feeling about it.
Clearly, some parents and players game the system, trying to find tournaments with weak draws to more easily earn ranking points.
I think that there are a lot more youth and pro tennis people who game the system. Not only the young ones/their parents and coaches may choose the right place at the right time but also the top players in the sport. Even though there may be explanations to why Rafa and Roger rule when playing or not, the idea they both play on and off the court to be the best is as enticing. Just have a look at the beginning of this year and see how Rafa and Roger have exchanged their lead at the top of ATP. Both of those player's fine calculators tell'em when/where to sit or play; and, when they sit they get to the top. Rafa was watching TV when he moved to the first ATP place, while Roger was just told by his wifie how he became the number one without playing. Yes, you could argue that Rafa got injured in the US or that Roger has his issues not to play now; however, you may also listen to the clicks of the electronic devices of both of those players too.

I guess I'm more in the majority of private tennis club program kids; advance in tennis but only a very few are headed to pro or college programs.

The ones that are highest ranked get looks from colleges and manufacturer's sponsorship.

The rest of the pack continue to seek improvements in their own development by entering tournaments and the ranking system is a quick and dirty way to see where your relative tennis level is compared to the pack. A rank of +/- 10 really doesn't tell the story as one could gather more points just by entering more tournaments. And those closely ranked can win and lose against the same opponent throughout the year.
I can imagine that this is the case. Here probably is the flaw in the system that is, in my humble opinion, harder to set than it is at the top in the pro ATP group. Making young kids and their parents travel around too much would be unreasonable which I don't think is with the pros at the highest level. Anyhow, whether it is at early ages or up in the top of pros many competitors seek rewards and assistance.
 
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