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The tennis journey - a parents perspective

Looking back on your childs tennis experience
By: Simon Grieve

Often you will hear parents say ‘is it really worth it’, and in certain situations if the goals are unachievable then maybe re-evaluation has to take place. Nevertheless, if tennis is used as the vehicle to help develop character, then competitive tennis (plus sport in general) is one of life’s greatest treasures.

I recently received the following letter from a dad who spent many hours waiting on the side of a cold court for his children to finish their squads, a dad who spent thousands of pounds on training, equipment and travel and a dad who watched his children deal with the lows of losing or not being selected and the highs of winning tough matches. I thank Derek for taking the time to write this letter and completely share his view that tennis can have a profoundly positive effect on the lives of those who chose to play and compete.

I hope the message is helpful.

Dear Simon

With Ed graduating from USC Aiken, in December having played his last 'college' tennis, with Katie now graduated and working in London and Charlotte graduating in July from Coventry, comes the end of their 'junior' competitive tennis years and a time perhaps for us, as parents, to look back over all those years and assess how the 'game' has influenced and shaped the lives of all three.
Seventeen years ago Katie started her tennis at the then 'Record Tennis Centre' and two years later the twins joined her. The twins were 7 years old and Katie 2 years older. Initially they were all coached by Adrian Moll and subsequently by other coaches elsewhere, although always returning over the years to practice and compete at the club. As their ratings improved so they participated in junior and county tournaments. They enjoyed successes at county level and learnt to deal with the wins and cope with the inevitable losses.
At the age of 17 Katie completed her GCSE's at Sutton Valence School and had the inner confidence to use her tennis experience to apply for a scholarship at a US University.  Her tennis ability obtained her a place on the University team and she never looked back. Today at 24 years old she is firmly established in her business career in London.
Ed at 18 decided to follow Katie's footsteps after completing his A Levels at Sutton Valence School and now at 22, graduates this December after 4 years of great team tennis at the University of South Carolina Aiken. Last week he rounded off a highly successful year by winning the prestigious Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award for the US South East Region and he received the 'All American' award for athletic acheivment.
Charlotte graduates in Sports Management in June of this year from Coventry University and will seek employment in that field, her tennis ability and athleticism giving her a strong plus on her C.V.  Interestingly Charlotte chose, 'Why would you want to become a Tennis Player' as the subject for her final dissertation for her degree.
Summing up - without National success, plenty of up's and down's in their game, just what have all those years of striving and hard work actually yielded?
Certainly discipline, an awareness of physical fitness, the courage that competitive singles demands and an ability to deal with both success and failure, resulting in a development of character, personality and definitely a strong independence.  All three dealt with the main problems of the teenage years without the necessity for parental interference.  For us a huge bonus.
They will always have a skill in one of the most social sports which they will take through life and retain enduring friendships.
So - at the end of it all as parents we must give 'game set and match' to the truly beautiful game!
Kind regards

Once again I would like to thank Derek and wish his children all the best in the future.

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