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Before They Play a Grand Slam: Parenting the Junior Tennis Player Paperback – February 9, 2004
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It is written in an entertaining and direct style. The chapters are short; each addresses a particular aspect of playing junior tennis (and parenting the tennis player). The advantage of this is that once you've read the book, it is easy to return to a particular chapter to re-visit a specific issue. Moreover, the chapters can be read in just about any order you wish -- each is a bit like a self-contained essay on a particular subject.
Our entire family has read the book (we have two tennis-playing sons). Because we've all read the book, we have a shared starting point for some of our discussions.
The chapters cover topics ranging from equipment to nutrition to training to pressure, sportsmanship, traveling to tournaments, choosing and interacting with a coach, and parent-child relationships and how they are affected by competitive play.
We have taken the book to tournaments with us, and turned to a particular chapter after returning to the hotel. It's kind of like taking the coach along. You can draw on that little nugget of wisdom at just the right time!
I highly recommend this book to families raising junior tennis players.
The book is too long, half of the text can be omitted as they don't bring much value, while Britt's "funny anecdotes" often don't relate to the subject matter. Again, think personal blog.
To starry-eyed tennis parents however, Britt's book is an excellent wake-up call to the grim realities of being a "tennis pro". The road to stardom is filled with potholes and the odds of "making it", i.e. earning enough to pay your own way, are extremely slim. Staying on the tour costs upwards of $70,000 per year which includes travel expenses, hotel bills, restaurant meals, coaching fees, medical insurance, rackets, strings, incidentals. A pro has to earn at least that much to stay on the tour.
I agree with Britt's take on the pro tour as I have seen first-hand NCAA Div.-I college friends struggle on the tour. They were top juniors and #1 and 2 players on Div.I teams, but consider this: I was often asked to open up my then-modest apartment to accommodate them and their doubles partners (they could not afford hotels), and they would ask for rides to tournaments, gladly coming along even though I had to leave for work hours before tournaments began. They could not afford cabs, not even shared among 4. Britt talks about pros sleeping 4-to-a-room and the most popular evening activity is scouting for dinner deals. It IS TRUE.Read more ›