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8 Dangers For Talented Junior Tennis Players (And Their Parents)



When junior players are talented, there are many dangers they must try to avoid.

First, it's nice to see them picking up instructions from their tennis coach easily and enjoying the game of tennis very much.

But as soon as they are better than their peers, everybody around these junior players wants to get involved with them and is promising them a golden future.

Also, the pressure is going up, everybody is expecting a lot from the player.


Below are 8 dangers for talented junior tennis players.


1. Too much focus on the results.

Talented junior players are often focused only on results and rankings.

They measure their progress based on their results. When they drop in the rankings, they feel like they are not progressing enough, but the opposite may be the case.

Maybe they are practicing a new serve, this costs a lot of time before you see results in matches. Or maybe they are changing the tactical way of playing. When they persevere in this new way of playing, then the results will come in time.


2. Comparing themselves too much with other junior tennis players.

Focus on yourself and your own goals. Everybody is a different player, also with a different background. Maybe the player who is higher in the ranking than you, is practicing already more years and more hours per week than you. Focus on your progress from day to day.

Maybe your competitors are taller and physically stronger at the moment, because of early growth during puberty. When you become taller and stronger, the physical differences disappear and the player who has developed the best will be highest in the ranking.


3. Meeting parental expectations.

Sometimes talented junior players (maybe subconsciously) are under pressure from their parents. They feel pressure to perform. Their parents invested money, time, and energy, and they feel obligated to pay back with good achievements. Important for talented junior players is to realize that they play tennis for the love of the sport and not because of the expectations of their parents.


4. Changing coaches quickly.

When you are happy with your coach and with your progress, just stick to him and don't change your coach quickly in case of a setback.

Sometimes players (and especially their parents) think that another new coach automatically means faster progress, winning more matches, and a higher ranking. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Players (and their parents) don't realize that every player has his learning speed and that learning new things depends on the player's learning speed. Not always the coach is the disturbing factor. When having doubts, talk to the coach and tell him your concerns.


5. Current results are no guarantee for the future.

Winning many matches and having a high ranking at a young age is no guarantee for a successful future. It's important to keep developing your skills.

Game development and winning matches must go hand in hand. Remember, that learning new skills is easier at a young age than at an older age. At a young age, the player with the best consistency usually wins the match, but at an older age, only consistency is not enough.

Knowing your specific game style and practicing specific goals is very important at an older age.


6. Be careful with signing long-term contracts.

Sponsors sometimes offer contracts to talented junior players.

It's nice to get free rackets, tennis clothing, and tennis shoes.

It supports the player during his tennis journey.

But it becomes a different story when sponsors offer long-term contracts for several years.

Be careful with this, because you don't know what is going to happen in the future.

Maybe the player wants to switch to another brand for his equipment, but at that moment he is bound by the long-term contract of his current sponsor.

Maybe the player will be very successful in the near future, but still, he is bound to a long-term contract, where the benefits do not equate to better player performance.


Also, be careful with signing long-term contracts with coaches or tennis academies.

When the moment arrives that the player wants to spread out his wings and is ready for the next step in his tennis journey somewhere else, he is still bound to his current coach/tennis academy and he must stay.

Freedom in the future is more important than current benefits.


7. Taking care of your mental and physical health.

A lot of players (and their parents) are thinking of quantity instead of quality.

The more hours they practice the better. But it's important to have a balanced practice and tournament schedule that gives you enough physical rest to avoid injuries.

This balanced practice and tournament schedule must also be good for your mental health.

Too much practice can cause burnout. Too many strong tournaments will cause mental problems when you lose every time in the first round. Try to balance your tournament schedule and focus on the win/loss ratio.

When you practice for many hours, keep being disciplined to do your warming up and cooling down, both for practice and matches. Take care of your body to avoid injuries.


8. Balance between practice and match play.

Sometimes junior players practice a lot but don't play many matches.

The goal for talented junior players is to perform in matches, and practices are an excellent preparation for these matches.

Match play is important, to find out which things have to be focussed on in practice.

In match play, players must use the things they've learned and have to deal with the pressure.


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