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Diamonds in the Rough

September 3rd, 2012

filed in Youth Sports

Junior Tennis

Finding a talented tennis player in the midst of so many average players is a challenge if you don't know what to look for. You will have to watch many tennis matches and tournaments to be able to see the minute differences between players at young ages. Junior tennis players always lack the polish that older players have, but that doesn't mean that some of them aren't on a higher plane than others. Studying the habits, tendencies, and abilities of certain players will enable you to figure out which players in the group will turn out to be the best.  

The first thing to ask a player or a player's coach is how much they train per week. Naturally talented tennis players don't overwork themselves during their training. They already have an innate ability to be good at the game, and it shows when they play against players who train more than they do. If a player who trains 10 hours per week looks a lot more crisp and fluid than a player who trains 15 hours per week, then it's safe to assume that the first player has superior talent. A work ethic can only help a player so much. The greatest players of all were born to be great and it's visible from a young age.

The age of the player in question relative to their competition plays a factor into determining a good tennis player. Players who are significantly younger than other players they compete against are expected to be less experienced. While this may be true, experience does not always equal success. Naturally talented players can defeat more experienced opponents just with their raw skills.

Take a serve as an example. Perhaps one young tennis player is naturally able to serve the ball in a way that their opponents can't return it. No matter how much the other kid tries to serve the ball the same way, he finds himself unable to replicate the gifted young athlete's skills. Players who began playing tennis at age 6 have a distinct advantage over their competitors in the same age bracket. As their bodies matured and their coordination grew, they realized that they had a gift. 

There's an air of quiet confidence around any child with supreme tennis talent. They don't often boast or draw attention with their attitudes. They allow their playing to do the talking after they show up to the court. There's a good chance that the smaller, faster players at a tournament are going to have more success as they get older. Tennis requires a lot of movement from one side of the court to the other. Kids that can do this easier will have better chances to become great players. 

When you're scouting a young tennis player, find out how much their parents are involved. You want to see players who have supportive parents, but not parents who are obsessed with their child's tennis play. Parents who travel to as many matches as they can offer quiet, consistent support for their young tennis players. Roger Federer's parents went to every match they were able to, but they didn't loudly cheer for him during every game. 

The social context a player grows up in can be just as important as talent when you're discussing good players. A family known for athletic accolades is much more likely to provide a positive atmosphere for that player to grow up in. If you really want to know what makes a young tennis player a great one, you'll have to meet their family. A clearer picture of the entire situation will help you to discover why one player has so many natural advantages over another. 

Sometimes the dormant talent within a young tennis player is easier to spot. If the child is routinely dominating their competition no matter what level they play, they are probably a gifted tennis player. Focusing on the strengths of one player from a young age will help them to develop their weaknesses into a well-rounded game. Professional tennis players probably went through numerous clinics, both free and paid. The entire body of work must be taken into consideration when evaluating the abilities of young tennis players. How far they might go is only up to them.


Brenda is a big tennis lover and a web content writer for Brisbane cardio tennis. She enjoys playing tennis in her free time or just simply watching the match on TV.

All Photos CC Flicker by Dini Patterson