Sports Parenting

Stoking the Fire


If you’ve read any of the recent books on the talent question, you realize how important purposeful practice is in the tennis development equation. And purposeful practice requires passion, because who wants to do the same thing over and over and over again for 10,000 hours if they aren’t enjoying it? Certainly not me!

I struggle with how to help fuel the passion fire in my tennis player. I’ve always thought that if I learn as much as I can about his sport, then we can have interesting discussions together which will keep him psyched up about learning and growing as a player. So, I read – A LOT! – and I talk to other tennis parents – A LOT! – and I seek out information and knowledge from coaches and former touring pros and anyone and everyone who is willing to share what they know – A LOT! And I try to keep my own passion for tennis alive by playing the game myself, with friends, to show my son that tennis is truly a sport for a lifetime.

And, the bottom line is that, really, I can keep doing all that ’til the proverbial cows come home, but the fire and the passion and the desire can only come from one place – my son. He has to want this. He has to put in the hard time. He has to sacrifice a “normal” high school experience. He has to be willing to work on the minutiae day in and day out.

My job is to keep supporting. To keep encouraging. To keep schlepping. To keep learning.

His job is to keep growing, whether it’s as a tennis player or just as a “normal” teenage boy. Either way, I will always keep doing my ultimate job which is simply to love him.

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