Lately, I’ve really been struggling even more than usual with how much interaction and involvement I should have in my son’s tennis life. He’s 16 1/2 now, driving a car that we provide him, with 24/7 access to a computer and iPhone. That means he can get himself to the courts and take care of any scheduling or planning that needs to happen related to his tennis. That also means, theoretically, that I can take a step back and let go, let him handle any tennis things with his coach, simply serve as a funding source and chauffeur for the out-of-town tournaments (and, of course, as a sounding board, too, when he needs it). The problem is that he’s a boy, and, like many teenage boys, falls a bit short in the communication department, More >
Last year, about this time, I was writing regularly about my son’s experience on his high school tennis team – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
However, due to some ridiculous eligibility rule changes by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA), my son did not play for his school team this year. It was HIS choice, don’t get me wrong, but, basically, our state governing body made it very unattractive for any high-level players to join their high school teams this year – to summarize, the rule said that a player lost eligibility if he or she trained for his/her sport during stated school hours. For my son and many other tennis players, their school hours are modified in such a way as to include “zero period” and online classes so they More >
I recently read the following letter from coach Bill Patton addressed to the Board of Directors of USTA NorCal before their May 15 vote on whether to expand ROG competition to 12-and-under players:
Dear NorCal Board of Directors,
I have been coaching for 25 years, have 200+ continuing education units with USPTA, and completed coursework and a thesis in Education. I am running the first ever NIKE Tennis Camps that use compression Tennis Balls. I have used compression balls since 1999.
The mandate that all 12 under players must play in a certain format with regression equipment is misguided and heavy handed, for many reasons, but please allow me to cite my top 7 reasons: 1. There is a wide variability of the playability and quality of More >
My son just spent the past 5 days in Athens, Georgia, at UGA’s tennis camp as he has done each of the last 7 years. It is typically the highlight of his summer. The boys stay in the dorms, order late-night takeout, and spend literally all day on the tennis courts hitting with each other and the UGA team members and coaches. What a life, right?
Some will argue that tennis camp is a waste of time for high-level players, that their time would be better spent in drills or playing practice sets or at actual tournaments. I respectfully disagree.
Here’s what my son has gotten out of seven years of tennis camp (so far):
- A realization that he really really really wants to play college tennis
- An understanding of what it takes to progress as a More >
School isn’t the only place – the Junior Tennis World will give you time off for bad behavior, too! And, yes, I do speak from personal experience.
I haven’t really addressed the whole area of conduct and suspension points on ParentingAces yet, so I figure now is as good a time as any given that my kid just avoided a very close call with a 3-month tournament suspension. I suspect there are junior tennis players who will get through their entire tournament career without ever receiving a code violation or suspension point, but my kid isn’t one of them.
Today’s Q&A is with Jerry Hendrick. For more than 20 years, Jerry has been a college professor, college tennis coach, and father. He has three children and all of them have grown up on the court. As a result of a family health crisis, Jerry is now also an author [please see I Love You (But You Should Have Won!)].
Jerry’s oldest child, Ashley, was diagnosed with bone cancer (osteo sarcoma) when she was 16, and this led to a year-long battle as an in-patient at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids Michigan. As a result of her illness and the family’s desire to improve her likelihood of surviving, they chose to have Ashley’s left leg amputated above the knee. Ashley ultimately survived this surgery and the treatment of her illness More >
I am very proud of my son.
In the Region 5AAAAA Final yesterday, my son’s team arrived at the courts ready to warm up with each other before playing their opponents. The weather, however, had a different plan in mind, so the official asked both teams to go ahead and start their matches with a 5-minute warm-up in hopes of finishing before the thunderstorms arrived.
Our #1 singles player, Danny, had been sidelined most of the season with a neck and shoulder issue. He had played the last couple of matches, but yesterday he had a follow-up appointment with his doctor and wasn’t yet at the courts. So, the coach moved everyone up a spot in the lineup, putting my son in at #3 singles.
The boys went on court, began their warmup, then, before More >
Today’s article was contributed by our friends at the International Tennis Performance Association. Research continues to support the need for outside fitness training for athletes, especially those who are specializing in one sport and one sport only. While there is an on-going debate regarding the “right” age to start training, the consensus is that junior athletes need to do work in the gym each week in order to keep their growing bodies in balance. When you have time, be sure to look at ITPA’s website, blog, and Facebook page for more information regarding tennis-specific certifications for fitness trainers and coaches looking to have a better understanding of all the physical aspects of tennis.
Finding certified, competent, More >
My son to his high school tennis coach (after not being in the lineup for 3 consecutive matches): “Coach, when you put me in the lineup last week, did I do what you asked and expected of me?” Coach’s response: “Yep.” Son’s next question: “What do I need to do for you to put me in the lineup again?”
That conversation happened about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Since then, my son has been in the lineup for each subsequent match. What changed? The same 13 boys are still on the team. They all show up for practices and matches. So, why has my son had the opportunity to play these last few matches?
When my son met with his coach, the coach thanked him for taking the time to talk then told him what to do to get back into the starting lineup. My More >
My son has dreamed of playing college tennis since he was 9 years old. That’s the summer he first went to tennis camp at the University of Georgia. That’s the summer he got to be on the court with not only the head coach and assistant coach but, more importantly for him at that age, the guys who actually played on the team! He came home from that first 5-day experience with a new-found commitment to tennis and a goal that has stuck with him ever since.
So, as any dedicated Tennis Parent would do, I started educating myself about college tennis and what it takes to get one of a very few coveted positions on the team. I read articles. I spoke to parents who had already been-there-done-that. I googled NCAA and read up on the rules. More >