I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting awfully tired of reading and hearing all the sweeping generalizations made about junior tennis players and their parents. Not all junior players are spoiled, entitled brats. Not all tennis parents are pushy, overbearing brutes. There are plenty of sweet, well-grounded, hard-working, focused kids out there with parents who support and encourage those positive traits.
Yes, I know the bad ones rear their ugly heads from time to time – we all have our War Stories to share in this regard – but why all the generalizations?
I was talking with a good friend of mine recently, and she flat out told me that she encouraged her daughter to quit tennis and to play a different sport because “tennis players cheat and their parents are horrible” – wow! What do you say to something like that? I was really taken aback. If that’s the prevailing public attitude about junior tennis players and parents, how can we hope to continue to draw young players to our sport? And, what can we do to shift that attitude toward something more positive? What is USTA’s responsibility in all this – should they play a role?
I’m really curious to hear your thoughts on this issue – it’s something that’s been bugging me for a while, but I’m not really sure what to do about it (other than blog). Do we need more parent education? Do we need a great PR campaign showcasing the positive aspects of junior tennis? How do we get the message out there that tennis is a great sport choice for kids, regardless of their athletic ability and regardless of their income level? C’mon, folks, let’s hear your ideas!