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Transitioning from 10u to 12u, and issue w/ keeping energy levels high

Hi!  My almost 10 yr old son is moving from 10u to 12u tennis and the transition has been rough.  He used to be a player making very few mistakes to making mistakes all over the place (long shots, hitting into the net, mis-hits.)  I think his confidence is waning a bit.  To bolster his confidence, I took him back down to 10u but the mistakes carried over and it was probably best to just keep him in 12u and trust that over time, he'll adjust.  A big problem is getting used to the power and speed of the older or better kids.  He needs to hang back in the baseline more.  Anyone else seeing transition issues and advice on how to adjust?

Another issue that has been consistent in every match, his energy seems so much lower than his opponents.  He grunts towards the ends of his matches in total frustration and fatigue.  This may even happen in the first set- being tired already. He's running from corner to corner chasing shots (even when he's the server), whereas his opponent is always the one in the center seemingly in control.  My guesses are: he needs more conditioning or tennis practice for better fitness?  And that he needs to learn to place the ball better to make the opponents do more running?  It's such a contrast when my kid plays with other kids.  The other kids seem like they could go another round of this, whereas my kid looks like he's about to pass out any second!

I'd appreciate any comments, suggestions!  Thanks for reading my post.

Betty K.

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Hi Betty!

For a little background, I'll tell you that I have a daughter that recently moved up to 12u also.  It is a very big jump because the court gets so much bigger.

To me, it sounds as though your son is more of a retriever player rather than a power player.  This can work well on the small 10u courts because there is simply not too much ground to cover.  As I was reading along I was thinking that he needs to work on controlling the point which is one part placement and one part power.  I have a feeling that he is chasing the balls so hard that he is doing his best to get in the court anywhere - which tends to be right in the middle. 

I think you should definitely have his coach work with him on placing the ball into the open court and moving around the opponent.  He is younger now in this division, but before you know it, the older 12s will move up and your son will be right in the middle.  Just make sure that you stay positive and fun about the sport.  You don't want him to associate negativity with the sport of tennis.  Remind him that he is new to 12s and that he is not expected to win every match.

Any specific questions?

M

Thank you Mark for your reply.  I completely agree that my son is more of a retriever player and I talked to his coach about helping him be aware of the open court.  He's going to work on some peripheral vision awareness and I think that will help.  Also, just more time for him to grow taller and develop more power. And thanks for the reminder that fun is important!  As a parent, I catch myself being too invested and I never want my son to lose a love for the game.  

Betty K.

Well, I have one that did lose the love and I wish I could go back and do it differently.  Although I didn't pressure him, he placed a lot of pressure on himself and I think we started him in tournaments too soon.

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