Opinion

Seeing both sides of: early athlete development

Aaron Ungprasert of Vancouver returns a serve to Joshua Williams of Portland in the boys
Aaron Ungprasert of Vancouver returns a serve to Joshua Williams of Portland in the boys' U14 singles during the 26th-annual Biondo Junior Grass Court Tennis Tournament.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

The case for

 

Kids have to start early, especially in tennis, if they hope to become potential elite players in Canada or internationally.

Many of the current top players in the world are still in their 20s, with a few in their late teens.

If you aren’t on top of your game well before that time, you aren’t going to make it. Like every sport, having youth on your side is a benefit before all the aches and pains kick in.

 

The case against

There’s always a chance of athlete burnout if kids are pushed too hard in their early years.

But it really is a personal choice and parents have to realize it.

Most of the kids in the Biondo Junior Tournament at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club showed they wanted to be there and it had nothing to do with a personal preference by parents to push them into it.

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