Why, you might ask, is there a French magazine cover pictured at the top of this post? Well, 2 reasons . . . first of all, because I want everyone to notice that it features French pro, Richard Gasquet, at the age of 9, playing tennis using a yellow ball. Second of all, because in just a few weeks I’ll be at Roland Garros watching a couple of days of phenomenal tennis at the French Open and am pretty darn excited! (P.S. Anyone who wants to hook me up with courtside seats, you know how to reach me!)
Some of you may have gotten wind of the changes happening across the country with 10-and-under tennis and the mandated use of the ROG balls in tournament play. What you may not know is that ROG is now infiltrating the 12s, too.
This past weekend, we had one of the Regional Segment tournaments in Atlanta. My son didn’t play, but one of his good friends from North Carolina did. And we invited him and his dad to stay with us.
My son met Danny (and I met Danny’s mom) about 3 years ago when they were both playing a tournament in Augusta. The boys hit it off right away and have stayed friends ever since. While they don’t get to see each other as often as they would like, they communicate daily and are a strong presence in each other’s lives.
I swear, having Danny and his dad, Steve, at our house made me feel like I had gone back in time to when I was playing tournaments as a kid! My family always had kids staying with us during tournaments, and my favorite events More >
The longer your child plays tennis, the more likely he or she is to face a friend across the net in a tournament match. For my son, at this stage of the game, it happens more often than not, especially in local or sectional events. It’s really important that we help our kids learn how to separate competition from friendship – easier said than done!
When my son was younger, I used to have a little chat with him before he went on the court to play a friend. We would talk about how preserving his friendships is very important, how he needs to always treat his opponents with respect but how that becomes even more crucial when the opponent is a friend, how what happens on the court stays on the court once the match has ended. That said, More >
The tennis community is truly something special. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just wait . . . you will. Whether it’s a coach inviting your child to join his academy’s warmup at a tournament or a parent offering a protein bar to your child when he forgot to pack one or a child comforting your child after a tough loss, the community is there and it’s there en force.
And, when a challenge or a tragedy strikes our tennis community, we rally. We speak out. We show up. We stand together in support.
Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the support coming out for one of our top junior players, Sean Karl. I wrote about Sean‘s recent diagnosis of Ewings Sarcoma a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the Facebook group created by a More >
The further we get in my son’s junior tennis journey, the more I realize how many mistakes I’ve made along the way. Given that my stated purpose for writing this blog is helping others avoid the pitfalls I’ve experienced, the following is a list of some things I would do differently IF I could start this whole process over again. I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting about (selective memory?!?), but this is a good jumping-off point.
- I would interview several coaches before choosing one for my son. I would also interview several of the parents of children training with those coaches to get their input on things such as time commitment, financial commitment, expectations, discipline, fitness training, nutrition training, communication 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.
I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine over the weekend whose two elementary-school-age sons have recently taken up tennis. They were playing in their first USTA Junior Team Tennis match, and the mom was rudely informed by another parent that cheering was NOT allowed. These two brothers also play baseball – where parental cheering is not only allowed but often gets way out of hand – so Mom just assumed she could vocally encourage her boys during their tennis match in the same way.
In the interest of helping other Tennis Parents avoid any untoward (ha!) behavior during their children’s tennis matches, here are some tips:
League Tennis Matches
- No coaching of any kind is allowed; saying, “Move your feet” or “Hit to her backhand” is More >