“A Real Love of the Sport Could Prevent Tennis Burnout”
“When athletes spend an inordinate amount of time training in one sport from an early age, they lose their passion, become “burnt out” and often quit their sport even before college.” Dr Patrick Cohn
Luke Jensen credits Patrick McEnroe with the recent surge of american professional tennis success on the men’s and the women’s sides. Targeting the 10 & Under with smaller courts and reasonably sized equipment American families were able to comfortably get their young tennis players started even younger and with higher success rates. Starting at 5 years old in 2008, a young player would likely be about 20 years old currently and just about to figure out the professional levels.
In full appreciation of the differing opinions about the QuickStart programs, I can understand that Robert Lansdorp will use the past successes of young players as proof that change is unnecessary. However, even if the size adjusted equipment (used by almost every other sport in the world) isn’t necessary for some players, the ability to allow players as young as 3 or 4 years old to safely enjoy learning to appreciate the sport is invaluable. With burnout being a strong concern in the teenage years, the inherent “love of the sport” is what keeps some kids playing.
Just because I ate dirt as a kid and survived doesn’t mean it’s actually the best way to build up the immune system of my own son. So to those like Lansdorp who argue that the addition of reasonably sized equipment for young tennis players was unnecessary, I won’t aggressively disagree. But I will point out that we might as well use the tools available, especially if we can get the kids to really *love the sport* because they will be better equipped to break through any potential tennis burnout.