Guest Post: Why Would You Want Your Kids to Play Tennis?

Please click on the link below to read a guest post from Javier Palenque. Thank you to Javier for sharing with ParentingAces!

Why would you want your kids to play tennis

Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments below.

 

 

 

19 Comments on “Guest Post: Why Would You Want Your Kids to Play Tennis?”

  1. Honestly parents put kids in Tennis to turn pro! I just find this so incredibly stupid I wonder who needs this post to simply state the obvious!

    Funny like when John Isner talks about basketball lost the coin toss. He would’ve been a D leaguer @ best!

    We are in tennis because cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball, dance …….

    ALL LOOKED BORING!

    Plus best friends daughter did competitive cheer, the travel $$$ and time he couldn’t control. So individual sport allows control. Now my son plays hockey and if my daughter were the youngest we’d be in figure skating!!!!

    Yea tennis is $$$. (5 string jobs 10 days) but we can travel when and where we want. That is LIBERATING!

    Figure PARENTS got to fill ~ 15-17 hrs week with your kids, choose something that allows a bit of flexibility and TENNIS MOMs are HOT (haha)

  2. SeminolG…’hot tennis mom’ here! (hee hee)
    but seriously.. your comments right on for me… Love of the game! Well, I am am from a ‘tennis family’ ( 70’s style) my Dad started us ,my brother and I (teens– late!)… he played 5 days a week /senior circuit and loved it! Then on weekends ( no tennis channel) hunkered down for a major on TV… curtains drawn, snacks at the ready, and hooting and cheering the players on–such enthusiasm and FUN! Yeah, I started my daughter ( at 4 ) cuz she was athletic and I loved the game ( the self-improvement through dedicated practice, the study (through videos back then and of course reading and could pass this on). My daughter loves the friends, the daily practice, and sense of common purpose, the fun of competing and just plain excelling at something she is good at. Thanks Javier too for the excellent post to tennis parents– right on! No ‘delusions of grandeur’ for me and my child holding up a grand slam trophy… no prodigy in our home… she just loves to play… then there is traveling and sharing a cheap hotel room with her best girl friend from the club, giggling the nite away nervous a bit before the tournament, then ‘high fives’ the next day after matches—win or lose. Pursuing goals, learning to be a gracious loser (or winner), sticking with training even when tired ( grit for life Javier), supporting others, good sportsmanship, staying busy after school/weekends with other athletes instead of … fill in the blank for wayward youth stuff.

    Love the sport–that’s why we play! That’s why we are a tennis family– as ‘identities’ go, it’s pretty good one right? As an aside, I have a bit of a higher purpose propelling me along… affecting ‘change for the better’ such as dispersing funds at pro tournaments more equitably for instance, more opportunity for talented juniors from all economic back rounds to play etc, and promoting USTA player development supported programs BEYOND ‘ten and under’ and just helping a select few….so much potential!

  3. From what I see down here in SE FL., pretty much every tennis dad thinks their girls will go pro. Not sure if it is the same elsewhere.

    I get the feeling there will not be a ton of responses to this thread because lots of the parents reading this do not want to be reminded of the overwhelming odds and expenses! My girl thinks she will be “the best girl player ever”, as do pretty much all of her tennis friends and associates.

    So there might be crickets chirping on this thread because if my experience here is correct, most of the parents who would be inclined to check out this blog are the same ones who think they have a future pro….and those stats by Javier are truly depressing!!

    1. Jim, I hope everyone takes the time to listen to this week’s podcast with junior tennis coach, Noel Wadawu (you can find it at parentingaces.com/radio-show). He addresses the very issue you bring up here – the odds are much better for our kids to play college tennis than they are to turn pro, and it’s time we accept the statistics as accurate and plan our children’s tennis development accordingly.

  4. Like the Mastercard commercial — “Seeing the smile on her face when she wins a tough match… Priceless”

  5. Well someone has to be the NEXT Williams, Sharapova, Federer, Nadal……….. So I’d expect EVERY “Family” to set the GOAL hi, BUT as you progress and things become REALISTIC adjust adjust adjust, and prepare your kid for whatever Level they reach.

    YES @13 enter the ITF and see where you stand.

    When I showed up @ FSU it was very obvious the first season I was not going to play PRO, but until then that was the GOAL and Paid for my EDUCATION.

    I’m a firm believer that a good percentage of people do FALL short of their gorals, so I say AIM HI! (BUT be realistic )

    Some ingredients (Told to me by 2 separate Well respected Hi Performance NATL Champ coaches 6 years ago)

    – DNA doesn’t lie. If your 5’2 and mom is 5’2 then the kid isn’t going to be 6′ makes the journey tougher. (cover court in 4-5 steps vs 6-8 steps)
    – You Can’t $$$ for EVERY ball. If your not hitting with your kid or them playing with adults in some capacity (warm up/Mini Tennis etc) THEY HAVE NO CHANCE
    – U construct (U10,U12,U14) if you are following the U and your kid plays ONLY their age group and their ability cannot surpass their age group. GUESS what they are in the GROUP and not a cut above.
    – LASTLY if YOU are in it for YOU they have no chance! If the racquets were in the TRASH today would you leave them there?

    They also said the RANKINGS tell you ONE thing. If a kid is ~50-75 @ 10, 12,14 etc…Guess what!

    If you find yourself in that range as you age up with the SAME kids you need to FORCE a change. Skip an age, step away from Tournaments etc…. Otherwise you get caught competing day in day out against the same kids and he believed that is STUNTING growth. So what if you can beat Alabama Suzy (10 times), Russian Svetlana is waiting!

    Most parents measure their kids on tournament results, tournament play etc. What a few parents that have BLUE CHIP kids do is measure what THEY do. Don’t give a dam about the opponent now. How heavy is that FH on the run? How about hitting that BH on the rise cross court? Did we improve our ability to change direction with pace? Are you getting better at going from defense to offense?

    So an innercity kid can dream to be like Michael Jordan but a kid on a Tennis court cannot dream to be RAFA!

    So yes don’t be shy, or afraid, if you believe your kid has the GOODS give them the tools and step back and watch.

    Believe your EYEs but let the kids lead the way.

    SOMEONE has to be #1, Why not YOU!

    LASTLY – Visit an academy that has kids playing the ITF circuit, compare to one kids playing USTA events!!!!!!! Your eyes will tell you exactly what you need to do.

  6. Jim, that is exactly the point. This ill conceived notion that the kid will be a pro is what behaviors you get as a tennis community and what hurts American tennis the most. Working individually when we should be working together.
    How many challengers does the kid have to win to pay for their travel costs if the prize for winning is $1500.00; and the odds of winning that tournament are 1/32
    Its only math.

  7. There is nothing wrong with a little kid having a dream of playing for the NBA, being a race car driver, or being the next Nadal. But, these are dreams when you are a little kid. And parents will smile.

    The problem I am seeing is that the parents start to believe the dream and pull the kid out of school and do the homeschool routine which guarantees you a 4.0 ( but then again it’s all open book test here), but makes you ill prepared for a rigorous college.

    That’s fine if your kid loves tennis…. and his dream is to play tennis or teach tennis as an adult. We need those passionate adults.

    But, what I am seeing today in the tennis clubs a lot of adults ( young adults) who are teaching tennis and are miserable and have no other pathway because their parents believed the dream and their whole life circled around tennis.
    It’s not good for them or the juniors they teach.

  8. We are not home school, and I was so against it until I met a community of Artists/Dancers/Musicians that HOME SCHOOL. My sons Doctors kids are all in IVY League schools, my Daughters Allergist kids in TOP academic schools all were home schooled NONE were athletes.

    So we need to separate that from this discussion, I don’t do it but it is a viable and the stigma attached with the 80s-90s home school is not accurate.

    Its not for us but I can see the benefits.

    Now to Javier – you hit it on the HEAD working together. Several Parents are taking our kids on the road this summer. We have found a very very receptive group that wants to do the academy style play. We feel that this VILLAGE approach is part of what is missing.

    Now to the ADULTS that are miserable, teaching tennis. I’m guessing they had the opportunity to take classes, and study? At some point they hit 18-19-20 and made decisions. By 25 there parents probably are not controlling them. @ Some age THEY knew it wasn’t going the way they wanted!

    Just like the Waiter, Bar Maid, etc, moving to Hollywood the dream ends and life begins.

    So their LIFE begins and they are doing WHAT? Yea Parents may have put them BEHIND but I know 30,40,45 year olds that start completely new careers.

    My words to them PACK your SHI@#$ get off the court and GRAB HOLD of your life. Those hours you put on the court, those hours traveling chasing a dream, are EXACTLY what will make you succeed GO OUT THERE and DO it.

    My friend their problem ISN’T trying to turn pro, their problem is a SOFT up bring in to a privileged class of folks that play a privileged sport.

    NO OTHER PATHWAY = A COP OUT!

  9. seminoleG, your post about someone will be the next great player sums up exactly how I feel. The odds are very general. If a girl is 4’5″ at 11 years old, parents are short, her results are mediocre, of course her odds of making it are almost impossible. But if a girl is tall, fast, crushing kids a few years older than her, coachable, dad can rally with her to absorb some expenses, etc, her odds are a lot better.

    Its up to parents to encourage, be realistic, and have a solid plan B built on education and not having the families self worth totally wrapped up in tennis.

  10. True, its very low odds. But we need to prorate odds for each entrant. Its not really an equal 1/32 odds of winning for each player. A few entrants will be very talented, a few will be the worse players in the draw. The odds of each winning is different.

  11. My friend their problem ISN’T trying to turn pro, their problem is a SOFT up bring in to a privileged class of folks that play a privileged sport. When the dream ends and life begins, those hours you put on the court, those hours traveling chasing a dream, are EXACTLY what will make you succeed GO OUT THERE and DO it. NO OTHER PATHWAY = A COP OUT!

    SeminoleG… What an awesome post!!!! Yes, life doesn’t end at the end of one dream, just like it does not end at the end of one match. Life is not over til its over!!

  12. Sorry if I hit any nerves. Just sitting watching these kids work hr after hr in 90 deg sun and IF they don’t make it I’m to somehow feel sorry for them! They’ve got every skill to start the NEXT thing if they’d step back take a breath and DO SOMETHING other than try to find the next parent with a fat wallet to feed off.

    So why put your kids in tennis – so they will succeed in life. IF they are as driven By success as they were to make the next LEVEL 1

  13. tennis5, I am not seeing miserable young adults teaching tennis. In fact, they seem to be the happy ones. The unhappy ones leave the sport or are to lazy to make a solid living as a teaching pro. We have met many, many former D-1 or lower ranked ATP players and they love that they are still involved in tennis. In fact my girl takes a clinic with 2 of them at a local public tennis center, not exactly the highest rung of tennis. Both were ranked in the 700s when they attempted the pros. Both are amazing coaches and quite happy people.

  14. Some really good points being made here. That’s why it’s important to have your kid love the game. Even if they don’t make it, they can make a decent living being around the game. As a teaching pro, tournament director, trainer, etc. The problem is when we force the game on them and burn them out. They flame out as players and they leave the game altogether. Then your “investment” goes down the drain.

  15. A huge amount of USA’s tennis problems would be solved with one simple word
    ” EDUCATION” for coaches, for the parents, for the kids. Then all would know where they stand and know the facts and choose what they want. Then the whole ecosystem would revolve around smart decisions and not ignorant ones. Amercas’ tennis needs a makeover and its starts with us. No organization will do it, no club will do it, only the parents can do it. The kids are our champions, and how they do in life is a measure of our decisions today.
    I can steal a work that applies perfectly to tennis lovers

    ” Ask not what Tennis can do for you, ask what you can do for Tennis”

  16. I am seeing a lot of young unhappy twenty year old guys teaching tennis. The only plus at my club is they last two years and quit.
    I think part of the problem is they also major in these useless majors, can’t get a job and then decide to teach tennis cause it is so easy, not realizing that shepherding a bunch of little kids is not easy. Lot of hard work to be a pro!

  17. Guess our experience is different Randy. We have lots of twenty somethings down here teaching and they are still jazzed about tennis. Some still pop into ITFs to see how they do. They make it fun for the kids and also teach adult classes. Have not run into any miserable tennis pros in our area.

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