Little Eagles are still …Eagles!
There was once an eagle that built a great nest and laid 3 eggs in her nest high up in the mountains. She sat on the eggs and waited. Soon the eggs hatched. Proud of her brood she flew high into the air and screeched her achievements. She flew to the next mountain and screeched some more, visited her friends, her family, in fact everyone in the forest heard the news.
Three days later she returned to her nest to find no chicks. Puzzled and upset she asked another passing eagle if she knew what happened to her brood. “One fell out, one got eaten by a hawk and one starved!” said the other eagle. “But there are eagles!” the mother responded, “And I built them a great nest!”
My little eagle diversion is a metaphor for a few issues that I still don’t think are happening quite like they should in ten and under tennis.
First, people build the nest and then expect things to just happen. There is a strange message that now we don’t need to feed the eagle (teach) or that as long as the kids are using the slower balls and smaller courts that everything is fine, and this is just not true. There is a very different set of skills involved in teaching this age group but the reality is that you still need to get in and make things happen. The great thing is that your teaching will be more powerful at this age but you must teach and some of this will involve technical corrections and adjustments. Just creating the nest (balls, courts, racquets) is not enough!
Back to my eagles!
The next year the mother laid and hatched a new brood. Worried about the events of the previous year she asked a young mountain goat to watch over them. Again off she flew to announce the new additions. Three days later she returned to find the goat asleep, one chick gone, one tied to the nest and one that had eaten so much that it couldn’t move. “My babies don’t look that great! What happened?” said the mother. “One ran away, one is really badly behaved and one won’t stop eating” responded the goat! “I had no idea what to do!”
The second thing that we mustn’t forget is that this little eagle is still ….. an eagle. They may be smaller but they need quality care, from quality coaches who understand that one day with the right amount of care and attention they will soar. You can’t let just anyone tend them and your certainly shouldn’t be giving them to least experienced coaches to teach them. If you want eagles to fly then the mission starts from date one.
No kid ever said “When I grow up I want to be a really bad tennis player!” They are all eagles, all potential performance players and are precious commodities. This is not a part of the program to be managed and taught by the least experienced and least skilled coaches in your team. Motivation, understanding and skills are not yet established and our young players need quality professionals who can help create and maintain momentum.
The Revolution Conference is all about developing in-depth understanding of the skills and knowledge that is crucial in the U12 age group. We can’t promise any eagles but we can promise the highest quality on court presentations you have even seen!