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Big Smiling Tennis Kids

"Raising Big Smiling Tennis Kids" Review

July 2003 -- Never before has American tennis attracted so many kids to the sport in one year. According to a March 2003 survey by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) kids under 18 made up an astounding two-thirds of the 5.1 million players who took up tennis for the first time last year.

The USA Tennis "Plan for Growth", the multi-year initiative spearheaded by the USTA has been hugely successful in attracting kids to the sport.

Tennis offers kids unparalleled opportunities - world travel, money for college, great career choices. Plus: friendships, character and a lifetime of good health.

But too many promising kids are being pushed to chase tennis rankings too early and suffer burnout, injury, poor coaching, money and family problems. Says Keith Kattan, author of the widely acclaimed new book Raising Big Smiling Tennis Kids . . .

"A balanced and long-term roadmap is essential to develop successful, happy and healthy tennis kids. After all, your kid has given you one chance to get it right."

Some feel that, for healthy development, a child should balance a variety of activities. Others believe that to achieve success, the child should be allowed to focus on one thing, in this case - tennis.

Announcing the upcoming release of his new book, Kattan observes, "You don't have to choose one parenting philosophy over the other. The trick is to recognize when to encourage your kid to move from a variety of activities to a tennis focus, depending upon your child's age, tennis proficiency, and level of interest."

The decision should really be made based on a scientific method rather than at the emotional level. Periodically, as a child gains tournament experience, the parent, the coach, and an athletic trainer, along with the kid, ought to make an honest assessment about the interest and more importantly, the ability at all levels, to start focusing exclusively on tennis.

As an avid tennis player, board member of a community tennis association and father of a passionate tennis kid, Kattan draws from over 10 years observing the on and off court development of junior tennis players.
Kattan offers practical answers to the myriad questions that parents ask at various stages of the child's tennis development. How to motivate kids to go back, practice after practice? How to pursue a career in professional tennis?

Kattan presents an inside look at nearly two-dozen tennis organizations, ordered in the way a parent and kid may encounter them. Starting with the USTA; to the NCAA for college tennis scholarships; to professional tennis organizations – the ATP and WTA; and many others along the way.

Especially valuable to coaches and parents, is the book's coverage of player agents, corporate sponsors, and sports marketing companies, the movers and shakers who are invaluable to kids aspiring to become professional tennis players.

Raising Big Smiling Tennis Kids: A Complete Roadmap for Every Parent and Coach is receiving acclaim from Pam Shriver, the respected CBS/ESPN tennis analyst, Peter Burwash, coach and author of a tennis bestseller, as well as national tennis publications. Andre Christopher, Managing Editor, Tennis Week, stated, "An excellent book for parents who want to get their children into tennis, I wish I'd had this book when I was a kid myself! As someone who has grown up with tennis as part of my life, I could have used a lot of this information."

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Related Articles:

The "Ugly Parent Syndrome"
Tennis Ethics

Related FAQ's:

When should my child start playing in tennis tournaments?
Should my child play in tournaments above his or her age group?
When should my child start tennis lessons with a coach?

Other Articles by Chris Lewis:

On Court Coaching: Should it be allowed?
Are Tennis Champions Born? Or Made?
A Tribute to Maria Montessori -- An Article on Child Education


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