People always ask me to predict who the next top tennis player will be. Let me start by saying tennis is an extremely tough sport. Kids need to train many hours from an early age, while parents need to invest their savings to support their dreams to become tennis stars. At the same time, only very few players succeed to become professional athletes who can make their living through their career.
While a professional tennis player can make a living once he is inside the top 150 in the world, less than a percent of junior players in fact reach such a ranking. And even amongst the top junior players, very few succeed to become top athletes. Apparently, less that 10 percent of the top juniors ever become players who can really make their living through tennis.
With this is mind, is it worth playing junior tennis? Well, I definitely think if you love tennis, and can dedicate your time for the sport you feel so passionately about, then for sure! And I say this for several reasons:
First of all, tennis teaches kids to pursue their dreams. To me, the prospect of doing what I enjoy most, on a daily basis, seems very fulfilling.
In addition to that, kids learn to be disciplined, focused and goal orientated. They learn to delay gratification in order to fulfill their career dreams. I think this is a valuable lesson for every kid.
Thirdly, tennis is a sport that challenges our mind and our body. It encourages us to live a healthy life style, eat properly, stay fit and recover well, in order to perform at our best. Tennis also teaches us to become stronger in our minds, and avoiding distractions so that we can perform at our best.
And finally, the biggest value I think tennis gives children is that it educates them to be fearless. Kids learn to believe in their skills, to play aggressive and smart, and to accept losses and failures as part of the process to become a professional tennis player. In fact, only by being able to cope losing and learning from losses, will a kid become resilient enough to become a top professional- this is because in tennis tournaments usually everyone but the winner loses!
In short, tennis gives kids lots of values that will help them later in life, regardless if they will end up becoming pros. Those who manage to implement these values early on might have a chance to become a top tennis player.
Ah, I promised to share which junior player I predict will have a big future…The one to watch in my opinion is a15 year young girl called Olga Fridman. So keep an eye on her;-)
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