Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Glenn Lines: Australian for “Stefano Capriati”

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2853177069_e0d5c22d64_m1Amazing how that joke has carried on long after that Foster’s ad campaign stopped. It did stop, right?

According to famed tennis coach Rick Macci, we should know in about five years how good a tennis player Mia Lines of Wartirna, Australia can be. After all, by then she’ll be all of NINE FUCKING YEARS OLD!!!!! (Um, emphasis mine.)

From the Telegraph of London (hat tip: Parent Dish):

Mia Lines picked up a racket at the age of only one and is now gaining from the enormous experience of renowned tennis coach Rick Macci at his [Florida] academy.

Macci has coached a series of Grand Slam winners but said he has never seen a more impressive player at the age of four than Mia, who is from Australia.

“I have seen hundreds of kids come through my school in the 25 years I have been doing this and I have never seen a four year old with such god-given talent,” he said.

Stunned by the precision of Mia’s ability to read the court and also because she can hit the ball from baseline to baseline, Rick is cautiously guarded about her potential due to her age.

“It is difficult to compare Mia to players I have coached like Venus and Serena Williams, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova,” the 54-year-old said. “Mia’s technique is incredible and what she is doing is bringing foot-work you can’t teach to the table.

“What I would say is ask me if she can go all the way in five years and I will be able to tell you then.

“In the meantime my opinion is that she can not be any better than she is at this age.”

OK, before we get to Glenn Lines, the budding Svengali behind his daughter, let’s analyze the implications what Rick Macci, he of his beloved Maccisms that are basically ripoffs of every past coach and self-help book you’ve ever heard of, just said:

— He’s seen a lot of four-year-olds play, enough to RANK them.

— He’s not quite douchebagish enough to compare little Mia already with Serena Williams, but he thinks he can do so when she’s NINE FUCKING YEARS OLD!!!!!

maccismsblockbottomrickAnother Maccism: “If you fail to pay me buckets of dough for the privilege, you haven’t really ruined your kid’s childhood.”

OK, but now onto the man who is really going to be responsible for his daughter’s future drug habit/shoplifting spree: Glenn Lines.

Like the most notorious of tennis dads — and that’s a long and distinguished lot — Lines decided sometime between his girl’s conception and birth that she would be a tennis player, and started training her according. Stefano Capriati had Jennifer doing baby sit-ups; Glenn Lines had Mia doing hand-eye coordination drills.

Also like most tennis dads, Lines is deluded that his daughter LOVES this, and needs this accelerated training because she LOVES it so much. Perhaps that is true now, because a four-year-old is more apt to be all about pleasing dad. And I certainly would never begrudge a child gifted at anything the opportunity for advanced work. But it would be one thing if Mia had, without prompting, picked up a tennis racket at one and started hitting balls. But instead it’s Glenn Lines shoving a racket in her hands and making her hit balls.

Lines told the Telegraph that he’s such a big tennis fan, he knew all about Macci (did he know about how annoying his web site is? I mean, beyond the stupid Maccisms, every time you run the mouse over a ball it makes a racket — literally the sound of a racket swinging and hitting a ball). Apparently he’s not enough of a tennis fan to remember how careers of such youngsters as Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaeger got waylaid by injury, or how Jennifer Capriati got waylaid by teenage rebellion.

Because Mia probably doesn’t know how to read, I’ll address this message to Glenn Lines: you think you’re doing well for your daughter, but you’re not. Back off for a while and see if she stays interested in tennis. You might not be able to retired on her winnings at 15, but you’ll have a well-adjusted daughter who loves you. And you won’t have this:


3 Responses

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  1. […] of fundamentals, but without them Oudin doesn’t even sniff the court.) And Oudin wasn’t shipped to some tennis factory in Florida at an early age (as Richard Williams and many others have done with their darlings), instead training near her […]

  2. […] American kids traditionally are enrolled in soccer by the age of 5 or 6, before many can proficiently read and write. We live in an age when the athletic scholarship overshadows the academic scholarship, where the sport you play determines the money you make. It’s a time in which the only way to get where you want to go is if you start early and never stop. […]

  3. […] parents are often key to a player’s development. (In Jennifer’s case, Stefano Capriati was the horror […]

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