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What's New in The Midwest in 2012
USTA College Information Session at the ACC Tournament
Changes in the Tar Heel Qualifier
What's New in The Midwest in 2012   2012 has brought many new changes for junior competitive tournament players. National USTA has made significant changes to the tournament schedule which have reduced opportunities for many. Meanwhile, the Midwest USTA has responded to the requests of players and parents with several notablechanges: • Midwest now "owns" the elevated tournaments (Levels 1-5); this should ensure more consistent standards for tournaments, including:
o No matches starting before 8am
o 12 hours guaranteed between matches from one day to the next
o For 14s, 12s, and10-and-Unders, no matches start/resume after 9pm
o For 16s and 18s, no matches start/resume after 10pm
• Efforts made to better distribute elevated tournaments (Levels 1-5) geographically (53% in Michigan and Ohio, down from 71%)
• All events begin on Saturday
• There are elevated tournaments during all holidays, so less school is missed
• New 2-day 32-draw tournaments added
• Many more doubles added, most with a one-match consolation
• All are Feed-In Consolation
• Boys and Girls 10s compass draws added
• Concurrent events of different levels held on same weekend, allowing players to sign up for both Let us know your thoughts on these changes....join our Facebook community!  
USTA College Information Session at the ACC Tournament High school players, parents, and coaches are invited to attend a College Information Session hosted by the USTA on Saturday April 23rd at the ACC Championships, held at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary NC.
Changes in the Tar Heel Qualifier Changes in the Tar Heel Qualifier We have found information about the 2011 Tar Heel Qualifier changes posted at on since the first of the year but know that some folks are still just finding out. We encourage you to make a regular stop at from time to time as that as forum is used to distribute the most information. But, in case you have not visited the site or have and have questions, please read the following.
A Very Fine Line PDF  | Print |  E-mail

It's a Fine LineAll parents want their junior players to succeed. The extent of parental involvement in that success, however, can form a very fine line. How much involvement is too much? How far is too far? How hard is my child willing to work? All parents are looking for the answers to these questions. However, there are no right answers. If there were, every child would be well on his way to playing professional tennis. In order to look at this important topic from a different angle, consider these questions:

  • Do I have my child’s best interests in mind?
  • Is he happy?
  • Who is my child playing for, me or him?

We have all heard the negative phrase, “Tennis Parent” – and we have all seen our fair share of parental actions we feel are unacceptable around the courts. However, what classifies a person as a “Tennis parent”? Each person would give a different definition of what is acceptable and what steps over the line. What separates a tennis parent from one that pushes just enough is how their children respond.

A few different examples will illustrate this premise:

Player A and B have parents who act in very similar ways:

  • The parents watch every clinic and private lesson in which their child participates.
  • They are seen at tournaments reacting to every missed shot their child makes as well as every winner their child hits. If their child only played one match that day, they go to the practice courts and hit a little more.
  • The parents study the draws, their child’s opponent and the ranking lists endlessly.
  • They consistently look for an extra lesson, extra tournament; ranking points become the center of their child’s focus.

Player A is one of the top ranked juniors in his section. The player is a pleasure to watch on the court; you can never tell if he is winning or losing. He stays after practice to run lines or hit extra serves. During practice and matches, the child is focused on the goal and walks around the court with confidence. Most importantly, the child doesn’t resent and complain to his friends about his parents.

Player B is also one of the top ranked juniors in their section. However, this player is a nightmare on the court – constantly talking and whining in between points and banging or throwing his racquet. He is known to make bad line calls. He is the first to leave practice, almost running to the car and can’t wait to pick up his phone and start texting. He complains about conditioning and don’t willingly work on fitness outside of practice. During practice and matches, the child consistently searches the sidelines for approval from his parents or reacts in fear, hoping they didn’t see that last point he lost. Lastly, the child tries to stay as far away from his parents the second he exits the court and complains to his friends about what his parents are going to say to him.

In this example:

  • Player A’s parents would be looked upon as pushing just the right amount.
  • Player B’s parents would be classified as “Tennis Parents.

Yet both sets parents did exactly the same things. Part of the answer may lie in the way each set of parents went about doing them.

It is a fine line.

In this next example, one parent gives up a successful career, moves with the junior to a different state in order to train and spends each day maintaining his child’s specific training schedule. Is this sacrifice going above and beyond for junior tennis or has this family completely committed their lives to reaching their child’s goals? This player is home-schooled, gets up at 7am every morning and is in bed by 9 pm every night – no exceptions. He is on the court every day for 5-6 hours of tennis plus working with a personal trainer to get stronger and faster. The parent and child live in an extended stay hotel and get to go “home” for about 30 days out of 365. However, this player has never once complained. The child is polite, well-rounded and the most socially developed teenager you could ever meet. The player has one goal, to play professional tennis and is willing to do anything to accomplish this. The coolest thing – the child enjoys being around his parent. Is this parent taking away their child’s youth or is he sacrificing everything to help the player reach their ultimate goal? Is it worth it?

It is a fine line.

The last example involves the same parent and two different children. This parent actually personally coached both of his children. He asked the girls if tennis was what they wanted to play and when they answered, “Yes” he replied, “Okay, then I am going to make you great.” He pushed extremely hard – getting up at 6am to run with the girls, coming home every evening to get them on the court, working overtime in his job to pay for the tournaments, racquets and shoes. The oldest daughter could not separate the player/coach relationship from the father/daughter one. She played, but knew she was playing for him and in turn grew to resent him. Her college search was based upon finding the best program to earn a teaching degree and earned an academic scholarship. She did walk on to the tennis team and lettered for four years. However, she still believes her father pushed too hard and she would much rather just have had the father/daughter relationship. The youngest daughter had a great relationship with the father and also absolutely loved being on the court with him. She did know her dad pushed hard and sometimes it crossed over the line, at certain times playing for him. However, tennis was her life and she enjoyed being good at it. She earned a full-scholarship to a Division I school and was an All-American. Looking back on it today, she wouldn’t change a thing! What works for one child, even in the same family, may not work for the other child.

It is a fine line.

Clearly, then, there is no single answer to the questions posed initially here. Each situation and child is different. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. In the same regard, at certain times you can push, but a week later you need to back off. The key lies in knowing your children and their (not your) motivations and happiness. and in understanding your own attitudes toward their success. As with so many situations, open communication between parent, child and coach is essential. Interest, motivation and desire change over time. The most important thing your children should know is that you have their best interests at heart and want them to be happy.

Not only is it a fine line, but the line continuously moves!

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 02:14
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