I hope this isn't coming across as boasting of an over proud parent because really I am having a hard time justifying the $500 dollars a month we spend on lessons and group lessons. I know that number will only go up. So, here it is. My son just turned 7 and started playing at 2 1/2. We have gone through the progression of balls red, orange, green dot and now yellow. We are able to do full court rallies of 15 to 20 balls. He's won two 10& under tournaments. He has the technique down. Now he primarily hits with 10 and 11 year olds. Okay, now with that established my question is it really worth it? Let's run the numbers: For boys div I scholarships are extremely hard to get. So, with lessons, tournaments, travel costs etc it seems to me that a parent should expect to pay $10,000 a year or more. If we were to put that money into his college fund he could pretty much go to any college without worrying about getting a scholarship. So, here is my question to those that have a gifted kid. Is it worth it? To pre-answer some questions: Yes, he loves it. He loves the tennis channel. I've had multiple pros and other parents tell me over and over how gifted he is. He loves to compete but $10-20K a year seems ridiculous when American kids compete for such few scholarships with kids from all over the world. I just don't see the ends justifying the means.
This is really a good question because you are asking while your son is age 7......
When the fact is for most parents, the truth dawns on them much later about the scholarship money,
and they feel resentful. You seem to know the answer already.
On a bigger picture, no one on this board knows how college tennis is going to change or what it will look like in the future....
I went to two state schools in two different states..
Today, one state school has an all foreign men's tennis team,
and in my current state, the university has a women's tennis team, and no men's tennis team.
Will the USTA exert influence on the NCAA and will foreigners be capped to two a team in the near future? Probably not. So, most likely, the foreign numbers will expand. Maybe, Johnny will make the team, I doubt he is going to get any $ though.
In regards to other concerns:
1) Success at age 7 doesn't always translate into success at age 18.
2) Many kids get burnt out playing a sport for all those years.
3) Many kids get injuries from repetitive use.
You say you're a baseball guy, so you would know about the kids who now pitch all year, and the subsequent surgery they will face.
4) The money that you are spending now, $6,000 for a 7 year old seems very high for the year.
It will only get higher if he starts to compete. I would save the money for later.
I would try to find some creative ways to spend less money.
Maybe, an uncle can hit with him? Older brother?
5) It is a long journey.
Not so much fun when you are on the court by yourself, and you are not winning and that will happen to him as the other kids catch up....... And they will.
I would try to keep him around team sports until age 12 or 13, so he plays tennis from now until 12 and also a team sport too. At age 12 or 13, he can switch full time to tennis if he so desires.