This item has the following downloads:
1 A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEG REE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Jennifer Joy Fiers
3 To my Mom and Dad
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am deeply indebted to my Mom and Dad, who have been there for me eve ry step of the way with their guidance, love, encouragement, inspiration, support, shelter, and suggestions. I am truly blessed to have them as my parents and I love them with all my heart. I would like to thank my husband Dan whose unconditional love, sup port, respect, patience, friendship, nurturing, cooking, graphic design skills, and editing abilities helped get me through the final stages of this book. I am so grateful to have him as my life p artner. I would also like to thank my entire family for thei r support and for b elieving in me through out this process. And I thank Nick for h elping me transcribe interviews. I would like to thank the great coaches in my life, specifically, George Wolbers and Phil Rogers. They taught me how to be a better person thr ough tennis and that the jo urney, not just the win, is why we play sports I would like to thank my advisors Dr. Faye Harrison, Dr. Catherine Emihovich, and Dr. Tamir Sorek for helping me think through the complexities of what I have been writing, but also for being wonderful guides through my graduate career. Not only have th ey been vital in the research and writing process but they have been great role models both inside and outside the classroom. And, last but not least, I would like to thank my mai n advisor and committee chair, Dr. Brenda Chalfin, who pushed me to be a better writer while also making me believe that I could be. I cannot thank her enough for her guidance, patience, and enthusiasm for my research. I am blessed to have had these a mazin g individuals as mentors.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNO WLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 9 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 10 LIST OF ABBREVI ATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 2 METHODS: YOUTH CENTERED SENSORIAL AUTOETHNOGRAPHY ............... 30 Youth Centered Research at Home ................................ ................................ ........ 30 Sensorial Autoethnography ................................ ................................ ..................... 35 Sensing Participant Emotions ................................ ................................ ........... 36 ................................ ................................ ........................... 38 Sensing Pain, Fatigue, Self Depriva tion, and Burnout ................................ ..... 40 Sensing Politics and Power Dynamics ................................ ............................. 42 Specific Research Techniques ................................ ................................ ............... 44 Informal and Semi Structured Interviews ................................ ......................... 44 Collaborative Narrative ................................ ................................ ..................... 45 Texts and Audio Notes ................................ ................................ ..................... 45 Video Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 46 Questionnaires ................................ ................................ ................................ 47 Participant Journals ................................ ................................ .......................... 47 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 48 Ethics ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 49 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 50 3 EMBODIMENT THROUGH RITUALS OF THE JUNIOR TENNIS HABITUS ......... 53 Junior Tennis as a Social Rite of Passage ................................ .............................. 54 Sport as Social Ritual ................................ ................................ ....................... 57 Communitas and Liminality of/in Rituals of Sport: Anti Structure within Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 60 Flow, as L iminality, to Achieve Communitas ................................ .................... 63 Junior Tennis as Habitus ................................ ................................ ........................ 65 Embedded Rituals in Junior Tennis Body Culture ................................ ............ 67 Periodization cycles ................................ ................................ ................... 69 Tournament, match, and point rituals ................................ ......................... 73
6 ................................ ................................ 79 Bodily expressions of the zone ................................ ................................ .. 81 The zone as shared liminal experience ( communitas ) ............................... 84 Embodied Learning and Identity in the Junior Tennis Habitus ................................ 86 Embodied Learning ................................ ................................ .......................... 87 Constructive and Destructive Flow ................................ ................................ ... 93 ................................ ................................ .......................... 99 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 107 4 RELATIONAL POWER AMONG PARENTS, PLAYERS, AND COACHES .......... 1 14 Approaching Power ................................ ................................ .............................. 115 Technologies of Domination ................................ ................................ ........... 115 Technologies of the Self ................................ ................................ ................. 120 Governmentality ................................ ................................ ............................. 121 Foucault and Bour dieu ................................ ................................ ................... 123 Technologies of Self, Technologies of Domination, or Both? ......................... 127 Governmentality and (Dis)Empowerment in Junior Tennis ............................. 132 The Power Molecule ................................ ................................ ............................. 134 Power Continuums ................................ ................................ ......................... 137 parent/coach) power continuum ................................ ..... 139 ................................ ........... 145 Relational Power Grid ................................ ................................ .................... 150 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 154 5 PLAYER PARENT DYNAMICS ................................ ................................ ............ 161 Parent and Player Power Approaches ................................ ................................ .. 161 Nurturing to Coddling Dynamics ................................ ................................ .... 163 Collaborative Dynamics ................................ ................................ .................. 164 Author itative to Abusive Dynamics ................................ ................................ 167 Paradoxical Spaces of Player Parent Dynamics ................................ ................... 172 Paradoxical Spaces of Choice ................................ ................................ ........ 172 Introduction to tennis ................................ ................................ ................ 173 Goal setting ................................ ................................ .............................. 175 Paradoxical Spaces of Supporting D reams ................................ .................... 180 Paradoxical Spaces of Communication ................................ .......................... 185 Paradoxical Spaces of Involvement ................................ ............................... 187 Exploitative tendencies ................................ ................................ ............ 188 Abusive dynamics ................................ ................................ .................... 203 Under involvement ................................ ................................ ................... 212 Paradoxical Spaces of Pressure ................................ ................................ .... 213 Overt pressure ................................ ................................ ......................... 213 Subtle pressure ................................ ................................ ........................ 219 No pressure ................................ ................................ ............................. 222 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 224
7 6 PLAYER COACH DYNAMICS ................................ ................................ .............. 227 Coach and Player Power Approaches ................................ ................................ .. 227 Nurturing to Coddling Dynamics ................................ ................................ .... 229 Collaborative Dynamics ................................ ................................ .................. 233 Authoritative to Abusive Dynamics ................................ ................................ 237 Paradoxical Spaces of Player Coach Dynamics ................................ ................... 242 Paradoxical Spaces of Intimacy ................................ ................................ ..... 242 ................................ ................................ 249 Paradoxical Spaces of Perfor mance Enhancement ................................ ....... 256 Motivation: fear and anger ................................ ................................ ....... 260 Discipline vs abuse ................................ ................................ .................. 266 Defining coach abuse ................................ ................................ .............. 272 Paradoxical Spaces of Loyalty ................................ ................................ ....... 280 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 282 7 EMBODIMENT OF IDENTITY AND WELL BEING: PAIN, POTENTIAL, AND MORALITY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 286 Paradoxical Spaces of Pain ................................ ................................ .................. 286 Th e Pain Boundary Concept ................................ ................................ .......... 287 (Over)Scheduling ................................ ................................ ........................... 288 (Over)Dependence on Authority ................................ ................................ ..... 291 Physical Pain and Injury ................................ ................................ ................. 294 Emotional Pain and Burnout ................................ ................................ ........... 295 Existential Pain and Depression ................................ ................................ ..... 298 When sacrifice becomes self harm ................................ .......................... 301 Long term effects of disempowering pain ................................ ................ 305 Paradoxical Spaces of Potential ................................ ................................ ........... 307 Early Specialization or the Road to Burnout? ................................ ................. 311 Academies: The Next Step or Hype? ................................ ............................. 314 Paradoxical Spaces of Morality ................................ ................................ ............. 319 Work Ethic: Practice Makes Perfect or Perfectionism? ................................ .. 324 .................... 326 Cheating: learning to cope with deception or learning to deceive? .......... 327 Management of emotions: productive aggression or destructive anger? 337 Confidence: individualism or narcissism? ................................ ................ 338 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 341 8 EMBODIMENT OF IDENTITY AND WELL BEING: TENNIS AND NON TENNIS SOCIAL WORLDS ................................ ................................ ................................ 346 Paradoxical S paces of Tennis Identity ................................ ................................ .. 346 Friendships ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 350 Education ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 358 Famil y Dynamics ................................ ................................ ............................ 363 Gender Differentiation ................................ ................................ .................... 371
8 Peaking: biological truth or cultural construct? ................................ ......... 374 ................................ ................................ 375 Cute and thin, but strong ................................ ................................ .......... 378 Female coaches ................................ ................................ ....................... 380 Racial/Ethnic Differentiation ................................ ................................ ........... 382 American Junior Tennis and International Competition ................................ ........ 388 ................................ ....................... 389 Drive: natural or innate? ................................ ................................ ........... 392 Money and agents: opportunity or exploit ation? ................................ ....... 396 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 400 9 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 403 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 41 9 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 438
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Comparison of liminality and flow char acteristics ................................ ............. 110
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Liminal pathways ................................ ................................ .............................. 111 3 2 Sacred bo un dary ................................ ................................ .............................. 112 3 3 Sponsor banners ................................ ................................ .............................. 112 3 4 States of flow ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 113 4 1 Th e power molecule ................................ ................................ ......................... 157 4 2 Authority (coach/parent) power continuum ................................ ....................... 158 4 3 Subordinate (player) power continuum ................................ ............................. 159 4 4 Relational power grid ................................ ................................ ........................ 160 6 1 Surveillance tower ................................ ................................ ............................ 345 6 2 Long view of cou rts ................................ ................................ ........................... 345
11 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AAA American Anthropological Association HGH Human Growth Hormone IRB Institutional Review Board ITF I nternational Tennis Federation NCAA National Collegiate Athletic Association USTA Un ited States Tennis Association WTA
12 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy PARADOXES OF POWER IN COMPETITIVE YOUTH SPORT: FLORIDA JUNIOR TENNIS for the risk of physical injury, excessive competition, and emotional imbalances. However, as my two years of doctoral fieldwork and thirty years of experience in the competitive junior tennis cult ure shows, the picture is much more complicated. Through daily performance enhancement rituals and the constant oscillation of power among coaches, parents, and players, youths embody the values of the sport culture as well as the larger society in both em powering and disempowering ways. regularly with junior athlete participants and used my own experiences as a junior player and coa ch to inform my inquiries. The p ower that coach es and parents express with their positions of authority fall s along continuums. Likewise, the performance of power that junior athletes exhibit in response to parent/coach power falls along continuums as well embodying their identities and power through training, as they transition between identities of child and adult, student and
13 master. They are both being managed by coaches and parents as well as employing agency in various forms that in turn affect the w ays in which their coaches and parents train and manage them. The power dynamics among the coach player parent triad, or power molecule are described as constantly move back and forth along continuums within the larger context of the junior tennis cultu re. As a result, junior athletes as liminal agents experience paradoxes of power being both empowered and disempowered by their tennis experiences. These paradoxes affect their well being and self making processes in their development of morality, perc eption of identity, experience of pain, family dynamics, school, and social life. This research could contribute to not only sport cultures, but other youth performance enhancement cultures (i.e. academics, the arts) as well as studies on health, gender, childhood, abuse, and human rights.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The competitive junior tennis environment in Florida is a site to behold. Below, my field notes portray a day at one of the most important tournaments around the world where several thousand of the world's most elite junior players have come to compete: The sidewalks stream with players, anxious to start playing their matches. Players wish each other luck. Parents advise their players for their next match in various languages, some very intensel y. Players converse in groups within their various teams. Their federation names brand the backs of their sweat jackets. Other players cross the language barrier and make friends from different countries, speaking in broken English sometimes when it is the only language they share. As Facebook and smart phones help players to keep in touch with each other between tournaments, some players squeal in excitement or give each other high fives as they reunite. Many players are waiting for their names to be calle d on the loudspeaker to come to the tournament desk to start their matches. Some older players sit at the benches with one headphone in an ear while the other one dangles, carrying on conversations with each other. Other players isolate themselves from the rest of the players and stretch in preparation. Some of the younger players play games on their phones and mini tennis on the sidewalk, waiting for their matches to be called. Some players' bodies are bandaged and braced: knees decorated with black bands, thighs wrapped with bandages, ankles supported with braces, or shoulders bathed in ice wraps. the state of junior tennis in America versus elsewhere, the latest pro tournament, col lege recruitments, and professional contracts. Coaches doing for school? Are Walking out to the courts, past the players in waiting, the symbols of the competition environment become more apparent. Signs on the court doors athlete privacy. Permit the coachin g staff matches are going on now and it means the same thing to the players: no parental interference allowed. Signs with the names of various countries label the players' chair s. A sign on the mental toughness office door says, swarm the tournament site to scout for new talent.
15 The emotional ups and downs exposed on the courts are contagious among the player s and spectators. Players moan in agony, trading off points as crowds clap in response to the players' efforts. A girl pumps her after making an error. Another player a few cour ts away screams in blood curdling frustration. Players grunt on the courts as they expel their breaths when their racquets strike the ball of each shot they hit. Some players yell out in anger while others yell out in exuberance. Some come off the court l ooking victorious, while others leave the court with their heads hanging low. A player sobs on the phone explaining to her coach or parent back home why she lost. The rocks crunch under players' feet as they walk back to the tournament desk, along the gian t draws displaying each player's climb to the finish. One player after his match gives the tournament official the balls ( Nov. 28, 2010 Bradenton, FL) simultaneously. The conversations and situations expose the many paradoxes of competitive junior tennis: player independence on the court and dependence upon their parents and coaches off the court, enthusiasm and self destruction, parental motivation and abuse, fair play and cheating, surviving the elements and suffering injury, family bonding and sacrifice, cultural diversity and discrimination. I pursued this research because in my years of playing and coaching junior tennis, I experienced and saw various forms of youth empowerment: enlightenment, encouragement, joy, friendsh ips, respect, and confidence But at the same time, I had experienced or seen various forms of detriment to kids' well being: abuse, exploitation, burnout, injury, stress, unhappiness, self harm, neglect, coddling. I wanted to understand why the disempower ing situations happened and continue to happen in junior tennis (and the youth sport world, in general). But I also wanted to understand why they happen alongside, and simultaneously with, the empowering situations. As
16 such, I am following Coakley's 2011 l ways that sports and sport participation can be organized...for the purpose of empowering young people to make choices about change oriented civic engagement based on a critical awareness of the factors t Youth sports, like junior tennis, are often advocated as good or necessary for kids to become adults and productive members of society (Dyck 2000). They encourage enjoyment, skill acquisition, physical fitness, so opportunities to travel, meet many different people from varied backgrounds, and to develop important personal qualities from a young age like resilience, independence, confidence, courage, self regulation, and work ethic. Through rituals of training and competition guided by their coaches and parents junior athletes not only embody the values of the sport world, they embody t he values of society 1 Competitive tennis is a popular global sport among middle to upper class families in industrialized countries 2 such as the United States. The values of individualism, competition, prioritization of performance enhancement, and goal achievement often dominate values of free play and identity exploration. Through their performance enhancement as good players in game of society. 1 Since tennis is a globalized spo rt, these values tend to include individualist and neo liberal principles. Smith Maguire 2012 notes this about other globalized sports. 2 Although the United States Tennis Association has increased tennis participation to the public parks through their gra ssroots initiatives, it is still considered a sport for the middle to upper classes if elite level competition is the goal due to the expense of training, equipment, and travel.
17 On the other hand, man y of the same values that are upheld as being good for youths' development are also targeted as being detrimental for their development 3 The argument is that kids become overly competitive and are at risk of being injured or exposed to abuse when they ove r train to enhance their performance in competitive sport; that sport actually stunts their development into adulthood because of their performance enhancement. In this sense, they are seen to be rushed into adulthood without the necessary psycho social de 4 There is a dark under belly of junior tennis which can harm child athletes in their adolescence and children who become successful adult athl etes in high performance sport appear to be This research contributes to the study of youth sport as a prime area for 2000:157). While spectators of competitive junior tennis marvel at the feats of these professionalized (or professionalizing 5 ) adolescent athletes, the symbol of their participation is normalized without question: that the athletic training and disciplining of children from an early age (or the professionalizing process) leads to success and ture, is comprised of 3 This concept can be seen in Coakley 2011, Malina 2009, and Wolff 2003. 4 Ma for their tennis dreams. 5 transition process and are transforming into professiona use these terms interchangeably.
18 paradoxes 6 of power both empowerment and disempowerment that are constantly negotiated by youth athletes, their coaches, and their parents. These paradoxes exist in daily practice regimens and relationships performed to enhance at psychological skills as well as commitment to the athlete identity. Well being depends upon how strongly junior players (and their parents and coaches) attach their self worth to their tennis identities, which make and are made up of paradoxical experiences of power. Ultimately, youths are both subjects and agents of this power, both being made by others and making themselves into people and players. As a result, they are both subjects and agents of the junior tennis culture, or habit us 7 Moreover, while they are developing their tennis identities, junior tennis players are also developing physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially through their adolescence as people. These processes influence and are influenced by their tra ining regimens. As intertwi ning of these two transitions, through adolescence and junior tennis, is often neglected by many parents and coaches. With the best intentions, they tend to prioritize performance over holistic well professionals instead of transitional, or liminal, persons. 6 The concept of paradox is inspired by the works of other scholars (I.e. Bateson 1972, Mattingly 2010, Wacquant 1995), a conversation with Olympian and Dr. Megan Neyer, and from conversati ons with my committee chair Brenda Chalfin. 7 Bourdieu (1977, 1990) describes habitus as a durable system of dispositions, perceptions, tastes, preferences, and activities. They are learned through socialization processes and regularly expressed by peopl e as they make lifestyle choices and take action under certain social and material conditions.
19 I explore the professionalizing of youth athlete s for potentially enhanced success in adulthood (whether it is for elite sport or other high performance careers) as it relates to issues of power and well being. These issues merit anthropological study as they raise questions about youths' experience of sport, training, adolescence, embodiment, health, well being, and power. 8 I build upon classic anthropological concepts about ritual (Turner 1969, van Gennep 1960), embodiment (Bourdieu 1977, 1990), and power (Foucault 1975, 1988) as well as the wo rk of feminist sport scholars who have used a Foucauldian approach (i.e. Brownell 1995, Jones and Aitchison 2007, Markula 2003, Smith Maguire 2002). By using the concepts of liminality and ritual process. I analyze the back and forth dynamic of power betwe en adults (parents and coaches) and youths game 9 10 It i nvol ves performed metaphors of the dynamics 8 9 communication. Other scholars exponential meaning. 10 simultaneously the following dimensions: that social life is culturally organized and constructed, in terms of defining categories of actors, rules and goals of the games, and so forth; that social life is precisely social, consisting of webs of relationship and interaction between multiple, shifting interrelated subject positions, none of which can be ex tracted as autonomous 'agents'; and yet at the same time there is 'agency,' that is, actors play with skill, intention, wit, knowledge, intelligence. The idea that the game is 'serious' is meant to add into the equation the idea that power and inequality p ervade the games of life in multiple ways, and that, while there may be playfulness and pleasure in the process, the stakes of these games are often very high. It follows in turn
20 that result between authority figure (coaches/parents) and student (youth athlete) from sharing and struggling for power. individuals' intentiona l agency. Individuals are constructed, in large part, by the power structure (or habitus) in which they perform their agency, the competitiveness for power, and the idea that power roles are not necessarily reproduced due to individual agency (Ortner 1996: 19 20). Along these lines, coaches' and parents' expressions of power fall along continuums 11 as do the performances of power that junior athletes exhibit in response to their coaches' and parents' power, depending upon the context of the situation. While they embody discipline and power through their training, junior players are simultaneously instructed, managed, and monitored by coaches and parents while employing agency themselves in various forms. This, in turn, affects the ways in which their coaches and parents train and manage them. As a result, junior athletes are liminal agents 12 being made and making themselves as they move back and forth between eir progression through junior tennis. As players perform power in these that the games of life must be played with intensity and sometimes deadly ear nestness. As a final note, there is an assumption that there is never only one game, a point that 11 The theoretical concept of continuums is used by Queerist sport scholars (i.e. Jo hnson and Kivel 2007) and feminist sport scholars (i.e. Theberge 1998). 12 connotes only a top down power dynamic from parent/coach to player rather than the two way exchange of power between coach/parent and player in a power dynamic.
21 sense of well being and self making, which can work to reproduce and/or transform the junior tennis habitus.
23 13 14 15 13 14 For instance, players would say that winning would bring them relief instead of joy. They would emphasize that they still had to get up the next day and train for the next match to gain the approval of the coach, parent, sponsor, recruiter, peers, etc. 15 Malina 2009 points this out as well.
24 16 17 16 There is also a continuum of power between coach parent. But because this dissertation focuses on the child's experience, I have left it out of this draft and plan to add it back in for a publishable book. 17 Whil e I recognize the problems of assuming power as a top down or bottom up process. I complicate this essentialization in the following chapters. There is clearly a label of authority that adults have over youths in junior tennis, and society, in general. I w
25 18 18 Since power is dynamic and responsive, coaches, parents, and players are performing metaphors of power and life through their bodily and verbal performances on the tennis court. They are cons tantly sharing, struggling for, and relinquishing power much like the back and forth rally of a tennis point. This is how tennis becomes a performed metaphor
27 19 20 19 20
28 21 22 21 22 T his follows Smith Maguire's 2002 lead.
29 23 While deep ethnography of competitive youth sport is scant in the anthropological record of research on sport and childre n (exceptions include Dyck 2012, Fine 1978, Weiss 2000 ), this research fills a void in the anthropological field as a call to further analyze the long term effects of youth sport training through rituals of power and discipline. It is especially timely wit h the recent public and scholarly scrutiny of youth sport for risks of long term injury and abuse 24 Thus, my research on power dynamics in competitive junior tennis, and the resulting paradoxical effects they can have on junior players' self identification and well being, provides a structure to analyze and house these analyses and debates. 23 South America, baseball in the Caribbean), and jobs may be offered to families of talented youth to bypass official regulations. Th ere is even discussion of international legislation to regulate sport agents and clubs, especially those pursuing under age players (BBC News 2007). Youth baseball coaches select adolescent teams are often labeled as brokers since they control access to co llege coaches. American high schools are, to some extent, a publicly subsidized (i.e. local school taxes) farm system for collegiate and professional basketball and American football and, to a lesser extent, 24 One high profile case that broke during the writing of this book was the sexual abuse of boys by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State. Another high profile case was the physical and emotional abuse of players on the Rutgers University basketball team by coach Mike Rice. There are many other articles and books on athlete abuse (sexual and physical) including Brackenridge 2001, Coakley 2011, Gorman 2005, Malina 2009, Nack and Munson 2000, Nack and Yaeger 1999, Pennington 2005, Robinson 1998, Sokolove 2004, Sydnor 2012, and Wolff 200 3.
30 CHAPTER 2 METHODS: YOUTH CENTERED SENSORIAL AUTOETHNOGRAPHY 1 2 3 Youth Centered Research at Home 4 1 Exceptions include Dyck 2012, Fine 1978, and Weiss 2000. 2 3 ethnogra phy, and phenomenology (Sangar 2003:35). 4 I was a two time national champion in junior tennis, ranked #5 in the U.S. and #1 in Florida. After playing collegiate tennis, I played professionally and, then, became a coach. My story is a common trajectory amo ng professionalized junior tennis players.
31 5 5 which I worked since many of my participants were between 14 and 18. Since it is difficult to describe exactly what is meant
32 6 6
33 7 8 9 7 Raby 2007 warns that this can give false perceptions of commonality about views of social patterns. 8 9 I was invited to play several professional doubles exhibitions in the area since many of the club professionals knew me from my competitive playing days.
34 10 11 10 11 My research methods are very similar to Wacquant's 1995 work with boxers in Philadelphia, Downey's 2005 work with capoeira artists, and Brownell's 1995 work with runners in China. I read their works after my fieldwork was completed.
35 12 Sensorial Autoethnography 13 14 12 13 This term was previously used by Geurts 2002. 14
36 back, shoulder, neck, knee and thigh are angry with me right now. My back is twinged from my kick serve because I have to twist it for the kick. My shoulder hurts from serving and whipping my arm out. My knee collapses because the cartilage is gone. But there is something about tennis that gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. ( April 24, 2010 Sarasota, FL) From the moment I stepped onto the court to do fieldwork, it was challenging to organize all of the sites, feelings, sounds, emotions, conversations and intangibles I sensed. It was equally difficult to appropriately merge the experiences of the various junior tennis participants with, as well as separate them from, my own memories and experiences 15 It was most challenging on a personal level to spend so much time in an environment that had both mixed emotions and experiences of exhilaration dread, frustration, revelation, and exhaustion throughout the research period. S ensing Participant Emotions the body (Stoller 2004). For instance, as Geurts 2002 came to understand her participants' conceptions of the body through experiencing it herself with participants' physical experiences with training as well as the more psychological and emotional power dynamics they experienced with coaches and parents. My exper iences 15 Child researchers warn about this (i.e. Best 2007).
37 of empathy during fieldwork reminded me of Geurts' 2002 description of becoming sensitized to her participants' sensibilities. When I was talking to a former player about our experiences with an emotionally abusive coach, my neck tensed and I got a migraine several minutes later. This player noticed this, as I started to rub my neck, and said that she also feels the pain from her experience sometimes. Fifteen years later, she still has dreams about her experiences with him. My phy sical pain seemed t o be the manifestation of her psych ical pain. The shared experience of pain made us feel bonded even though we had never met each other before this interview 16 Similarly, I had several interviews with parents who became emotional during our interviews. O ne father started to cry when he spoke with regret about how he used to yell at his daughter after she lost matches. Another mother started to get teary eyed when vocalizing the frustration she felt over the fact that her daughter was not happy playing ten nis but was still compelled to keep training. Another mother broke down in front of me in a casual conversation, admitting to the tension in her home between her son and husband. I found myself often consoling people when this happened as it seemed the mos t natural thing to do. As my emotions and senses of other people's emotions took over, I became more focused on what the participants felt by paying close attention to their body and gaze rather than just listening to what they said. At the beginning of the fieldwork, I tried to resist this urge in order to keep the interview more organized and structured. But as the research progressed, I realized that the richest information with which the participants provided me did not come in the form of an answer t o my question. It usually came in the form of a question or comment 16 We were introduced through a mutual friend.
38 posed by them. While I had a list of topics I tried to cover with everyone, I allowed my senses of participants' emotions to guide our conversations when it was apparent that they were pas sionate about certain topics. This also applied to topics that they did not want to discuss. If I sensed a reluctance to talk about sensitive issues (i.e. discriminat ion, abuse), I did not push Overall, interviewing participants about their senses (i.e. f eelings during competition, reactions to others, perspectives about training, frustrations about junior tennis) by using my own senses was a methodology upon which I relied heavily. 17 18 19 17 18 These concepts will be discussed in Chapter 3. 19
39 20 21 too excited. I do essentially, being neutral but at an elevated level. I have to focus on the specific bodily mechanics, not just the end result o think about how big the point is or what will happen if I lose this point. I may be polite but not overly talkative. My grunts sound almost animalistic. I just be obnoxious; all my energy just goes into making that shot. I notice sounds, myself. I'm so insulated, so far away from other people even though I'm standing next to them. I'm so in it, so in tune with what my body needs to do...It just seems like the most real place, the most genuine state of my 20 Jackson and Csikszentimihalyi 1999 and Pickard 2007 discuss the numbing of pain in the flow state. 21
40 is exhausted but my spirit is energized. It takes so much out of me It is not just a physical endeavor. It is so mentally and emotionally draining. ( May 29, 2010 Sarasota, FL) From these experiences, I also understood how players develop a higher sense of spatial awareness and bodily sensing than a non athlete might ( i.e. Wacquant 1995, Downey 2010). Coming out of my sedentary academic self, I regained my own bodily graduate school. Over time, I was able to regain the automaticity I had during my competitive playing days. In line with how Wacquant 1995 referred to boxers building their identity around the physicality and social world of boxing, tennis was not something I just did; it was (and still is) who I am. My field notes reveal this feeling of automaticity a year and a half after entering the field: The more I practice, the more I can hit the ball without thinking about it. My body just knows what to do. My body knows how to hit it, where to hit, how much to turn, what kind of torqu e to use, how to contort, when to push forward, where to put my foot before hitting, what kind of spin to use, how high to hit it, how deep to hit it, and what pace to use. I am a player again. I feel most myself like this. ( Feb. 23, 2011 Sarasota, FL) S ensing Pain, Fatigue, Self Deprivation, and Burnout 22 22 This is discussed in later chapters. Pushing past the pain boundary can result in both enhanced performance as well as burnout and injury in the long term.
41 Because I did the footwork...huffing and puffing with the players, they respect me more. I fel t pain in my stomach, cramping, out of breath, and my good from working so hard that the endorphins kick in, a sense of accomplishment is achieved, and my level of respect from t he kids has increased. ( Sept. 28, 2010 Sarasota, FL) tired of interviewing actually. This are also constantly fatigued and in pain. ( Dec. 16, 2010 Sarasota, FL) My shin, lower back, right shoulder/scapula, and neck are stiff and in major pain. I am just p am just waiting for the time to pass during practice so I can get off the court.
42 engage anymore. I am tired of seeing these players and coaches and just being in the junior tennis environment, in general. I'm ready for the research to be ov er I think. ( March 16, 2011 Sarasota, FL) Sensing Politics and Power Dynamics
44 Specific Research Techniques Informal and Semi Structured Interviews 23 23 Institutional Review Board at the University of Florida approved my research.
45 Collaborative Narrative Texts and Audio Notes
46 Video Analysis
47 Questionnaires 24 Participant Journals 24 It could be useful i n future research on behavior and attitude prevalence.
48 Data Analys is I found that Mattingly's 2010 use of narrative phenomenology helped propel my writing and focus on the s tories that my participants told me. Even though my The dissertation oscillates among individuals to the stories, vents, ramblings, exaltations of those individuals whose perspectives form those patterns. Re reading the transcripts of the interviews and listening to the raw a udio footage helped me settle into the skin of my participants. I effectively.
50 Summar y This youth centered, sensorial autoethnographic methodology was inspired by several forms of ethnographic inquiry: 1) child centered approaches that place th e perspectives and experiences of youths at the center of focus for anthropological study (i.e. Best 2007, Chin 2007, Fine and Sandstrom 1988, Montgomery 2009); 2)
51 ethnographies that validate the body as not just a subject of study but a tool through which to study the body and its various contextually contingent senses (i.e. Bledsoe 2002, Csordas 1994, de Boeck and Plissart 2004, Geurts 2002, Mattingly 2010, Pink 2011, Stoller 2004; Turner and Bruner 1986); 3) ethnographers who use this sensorial, or exper iential, approach in the sport field (i.e. Brownell 1995, de Garis 1999, Wacquant 1995); 4) reflexive methodologies in the field as well as in writing (i.e. Behar and Gordon 1996, Harrison 2008, Myerhoff and Ruby 1982), especially those who rely on autoeth nographic perspectives (i.e. Ellis 2004, Richardson 2000, Sparkes 2000); 5) anthropologists who helped me understand multiple perspectives even without a recording device i n my hand (i.e. Pink 2011, MacDougall 1998). 25 I approached the field with intent to remain reflexive throughout the research given my familiarity with the field context. I wanted to be sure to use my personal experiences with this subject to inform my th eoretical questions without letting it take over and smother the perspectives of my participants. Some individuals may assume that autoethnography is an easier route than entering a completely novel environment. This is certainly not the case. Because juni or tennis was an environment in which I enhanced both my self esteem as well as a hyper self scrutiny, I found it challenging to distance myself emotionally from some of the issues and the insecurities that I felt in my 25 I had been inspired by some of these scholars before entering the field to which I was exposed by my professors in my graduate ethnography and methods classes: African Ethnography led by Brenda Chalfi n; Black Feminist Theory led by Faye Harrison; Sociology of Sport led by Tamir Sorek; Advanced Video Editing led by Roger Beebe; and Film Editing by Mark Nygren.
52 own adolescence 26 And there were tim es when I felt that the research was just too draining and uncomfortable to continue. I felt at home in the tennis world and on the tennis court. I could navigate the culture just like I could the court. As challenging as it was to cont inue, it was also difficult to stop collecting interviews and going to tournaments to start the writing phase. I lost myself in the fieldwork and became a coach and player again. But, as my body started breaking down, I was forced to start writing. Once I did, I was faced with the ultimate lesson learned: do not collect too much data and just start writing. Since I had been unprepared for the time and energy it took me to transition from graduate student to field ethnographer and tennis player to writer, I found that reading ethnographies and re experiencing the field from my computer by focusing on the interviews first was the catalyst to putting this mountain of data into a somewhat organized, yet nuanced, piece of work. The following chapters focus on t he processes through which power and learning is embodied 27 and the various dynamics and paradoxical spaces that power exposes. Stoller 2004 notes, y own body became a tool with well as the effects of that power. 26 Bourdieu 2003 alludes to this problem about autoethnographic methods. 27 Fors et al. 2012 als context of the learning environment.
53 CHAPTE R 3 EMBODIMENT THROUGH RITUALS OF THE JUNIOR TENNIS HABITUS 1 2 1 Other work that has been done in the embodiment of identity through sport includes Brownell 1995, Downey 2005, Pickard 2007, Wacquant 1992, Woodward 2007 2 Coakley 2006b also refers to a habitus of sport in American middle to upper class childhood which is centered on sport participation and achievement goals and values.
54 Junior Tennis as a Social Rite of Passage Junior tennis, like most youth sports, is not just played for fun 3 Youth sports are 4 (Turner 1987, Ortner 2006) for competitive junio r players who share a strong sense of obligation, and even dread at times, in performing their training routines t participation is a major life cycle event made of ritual processes through which they embody cultural values of work ethic and social hierarchy. Most participants in my research have referred to their junior hey continue to compete, not just 5 but for the goals they have set for themselves that usually include attaining a college scholarship to play tennis, to play for a top Division I team, and/or to 3 This position is discussed as a detriment to youths' development. 4 This point will be elaborated upon later in this section. Ortner (1996, 2006) also uses Chapter 4. 5 to tennis as a vehicle to achieve the ultimate goals of college and professional status, so tennis is not something that most players do for recreation, at this level but to improve their social mobility.
55 play professionally. To make these goals, they obligate themselves to their training and competition routines, along with the obligations that their parents and coaches enforce. In addition to the existential meaning that participating in competitive sport may pr ovide for players ( Nesti 2007 (Bauman 2007 ) is a central reason why junior tennis players and their parents invest so much time and money into tennis. At first, parents use sport as a socializing tool for their childr en to learn social values of teamwork, self reliance, respect for authority, resilience, etc. 6 7 parents and their children both start to think about what they could achieve wi th that potential. As their children get better, parents tend to invest more money and time into their sport 8 This in turn, makes children feel obligated to invest more commitment into it, which makes parents feel obligated to invest more money, and the cycle continues. By their teens, youth athletes often face burnout or injury but are reticent to leave their sport if they do so because so much has been invested in it. Parents and their teen athletes, thus, often justify their commitment as an attempt to earn a college s cholarship (if, as for most, a professional career is out of reach). Even if parents can afford college tuition, they still strive for a scholarship for its symbolic capital (Bourdieu 1990) as it is seen to enhance players' (and paren ts') social marketabil ity. T he symbol of the college scholarship, especially at a Division I school is seen to maintain or improve players' and parents social and employment status in the 6 This will be explored further in later chapters. 7 This will be elaborated upon in the last section of this chapter. 8 in the spor t habitus.
56 social world 9 Thus, most parents ultimately spend the same amount or much more money for this symbolic capital in the form of payments for coaches, equipment, and traveling. As will be discussed further in the final chapters, there are enormous personal inve stments made by the family for this symbolic capital, which are often not considered u ntil far into the journey. These personal investments which often overwhelm young include family separation, pressure to succeed, isolation from non tennis peers, narrowed identity formation, compromised academics, mental burnout, chronic injury, and exhaustion. But, despite the costs, they see sport in this study, junior tennis as a necessary investment of time, money, and energy in order to be competitive with their pe ers in tennis, and the larger social world. In short, parents and players invest in sport, to attain positive social values and marketable, competitive working skills to set themselves apart from the rest of their peers in order to have the chance at being more successful and fulfilled in their personal lives as well as in the workforce. Thus, competitive sport, at least in the context of competitive junior tennis, is considered a necessary social rite of passage into adulthood involving numerous and vari ous obligatory rituals through which players come to know themselves. To support this argument further, I briefly discuss the perspective (that has been debated among echner 1986 Turner 9 Usually the financial investment for tennis often between $30,000 and $100,000 per year is much more than the value of the college scholarship or professional career with which families are hoping to be awarded in the end. Training costs $1 0,000 $70,000 per year depending on whether the player trains at an academy, a club, or with a private coach; traveling to tournaments costs $10,000 $30,000 per year (according to my participants); equipment costs $0 $5,000 per year depending on spon sorships.
57 1982). Then, I explain the relationship between liminality and flow as they pertain to the creation of communitas (Turner 1969) in sport and junior tennis, specifically. Sport a s Social Ritual Rowe 2008, Schechner 1986 Turner 1982) as it helps people make sense of themselves [by showing] themselves to 356), exhibiting the performance of a range of emotions from elation to despair and the idealization of humanity through liminal devices for rousing, channeling, and domesticating powerful emotions such as hate, frustration, aggression, competition, etc. In the 1970s and 80 s, many anthropol ogists and sociologists likened sport to ritual (i.e. Beran 1981, B irrell 1981, Cheska 1981, Dunleavy and Miracle 1981, Foley 1990, Gmelch 1971, Harris 1982, Kil mer 1976, Ness 1999 Womack 1979 ). But some scholars question the characterization of sp ort as a ritual because they see it as optional, secular and unpredictable while ritual was considered obligatory (i.e. Gluckman and Glu ckman 1977). Even Turner 1983 who focuses on ritual theory, first liminal experience: 10 it is demandi 146). Howe ver, several years later, he sees the 10
58 t 11 [W]hen play makes serious statements about the human condition, people take its outcomes serio liminal social drama 12 that began to serve as a form of plural reflexivity 13 (albeit secular) as the decline of religious ritual accompanied the rise of post paradoxically, has become a more serious matter with the decline of ritual and the contradiction of the religious sphere in whic h people used to become morally reflexive...The play frame...has to some extent inherited the function of the ritual frame. The messages it delivers are often serious beneath the outward trappings of 124). In essence, then, wha at all ability levels and across cultural, gender, racial, national, and socioeconomic identities participants and s pectators a large part of their lives and self identification 14 S ports are 11 Ortner 1996, 2006 applies the concept of serious games to social power and agency, as will be elaborated upon in the next chapter. 12 Although, Turner 1987 still hesitates t is for me, a liminal or liminoid mode. Play is neither ritual action nor meditation, nor is it 13 Many scholars have looked at the re lationship and shared characteristics between sport and religion. Some classify sport as a religion (i.e. Novak 1992) while others see it as religion like (i.e. Chandler 1992, Hoffman 1992). 14 The Association for the Anthropological Study of Play (TAASP) a nd sport theorists have debated about how to define competitive sport, but agree that it can no longer be confused with recreational play (i.e. Huizinga 1938) and encompasses qualities of both play and work (i.e. Bateson 1978, Blanchard 1995, Guttman 1978, Schwartzman 1982).
59 mean 15 obstacles to be o Csikszentmihalyi 1977:377). Sports become a way for us to experience risk without e of life, or what Turner 1987 also calls 16 which is the ultimate paradox of sport 17 To the other ritual requisites secularity and predictability scholars have pointed out that some cultures do perform athletic contests as superna tural worship (I.e. Firth 1930, Salter 1970 ). As Harris 1982 points out, m any researchers associate sport performance with a sense of cosmological power resulting from str ong emotional experiences precipitated by the performance of sport itself. Sport incorporates a spiritual, transcendental dimension within the individual athlete as well as among the the sense that they are organized institutions, disciplines, and liturgies; and also in the sense that they 15 dramas (such as sports). But because sports are a form of symbolic capital as well as monetary capital for many people, as a result of the growth o f the sport industry since how Turner was trying to explain, perhaps to himself, why social dramas, if not necessary for survival, are taken so seriously. I think thi s contributes to the conversation 16 The following chapters outline the real life consequences both empowering and disempowering that participating in junior tennis can have on junior players' well being and identity. 17 I d iscuss, further, the paradoxes within sport in later chapters.
60 see no need for a supernatural factor as a requisite for an event to be considered as ritual (i.e. Harris and Park 1982 van Gennep 1960 the athletes' performance s as well as the way s in which the fans and coaches have a role in that performance that provides a somewhat spiritual experience for fans and athletes. Thus, in social rituals of sports, regardless of religious or super natural connotations or not, a communitas ( Turner 1968: 96) is formed through liminal experience from whic h self making and social transformation occurs. 18 Communitas and Liminality of/in Ri tuals of Sport: Anti Structure w ithin Structure Communitas takes place ). To briefly outline, this ritual process ( Turner 1969, va n Gennep 1960 ) is comprised of three progressive stages: pre liminal rites of separation, liminal rites of transition, and post liminal rites of reincorporation. The separation phase signifie s the ritual individual or group's detachment from any prior social status or cultural conditions and everyday life activities, which can involve physical isolation from the normal community. The liminal stage of transition refers to the individual or soci al group as vulnerable and malleable with a temporary, ambiguous status. This is where communitas occurs as normally unacceptable activities become acceptable, and participants are free from usual social constraints and roles in order to coexist. After the liminal phase, the individual or group reincorporates into society with a new role or identity. 18 Rowe 2008 makes this same conclusion in her in discussion of the liminal and liminoid applied to sport as she concludes that sports are modern rituals with liminal p henomena.
61 As social rituals, sports have the predictable structures of which participants and spectators share a knowledge and understanding: rules, boundaries, shared knowledge 19 (Turner 1987) in the form of a winner and a loser at the end of the ritual. These structures house spaces of liminality and communitas (anti structure) with the uncertainty of which athlete or te am will reincorporate into society with which status (winner or loser) and the manner in which that decision will be reached. For instance, during the ritual process of a tennis co mpetition, each player/team (along with spectators) embodies liminal status as they oscillate between winning and losing within the moment to moment playing of the match until the last point is won. While tennis players hit a ball back and forth and score points, end of the match. In general, as participants and spectators are comforted 20 by the predictable structure of the line boundaries, rules, traditions, scoring, and winner/loser roles of sport a structure that c ommunicates a shared message. T hey are, at the same time, held in a temporary state of suspense by the unpredictability of its outcome and the process of reaching that outcome. Turner 1987 certainly sees how sport incorporates both structure and anti str structure and back again to transformed structure; from hierarchy to equality...from the person to the individual; from systems of status roles to communitas 19 20 Scholars note how structure of rituals can be comforting to individuals (i.e. Downey 2010, Harris 1982, Seligman 2010, Turner 1987). My participants noted this too.
62 sport incorporates aspects of creativity, chaos, unpredictability, improvisation, interpretation (thus, play) whic h Turne r 1987 explains stru also recognizes the paradox of play (and thus sport) to be both inside and outside of consciousness and structure; involving an escape from reality while, at the same time, communicating something abo 1995). This duality of structure and anti structure in sport is what Turner refers to, then, as liminality and communitas Social rituals work through communitas reached during the liminal stage of the ritual process (Turner 1969) to transform society and, thus, the individuals involved in it. Individual bodies are both subjects and agents of ritual classificati 1987:75) which can work to either transgress or reaffirm social norms and power structures 21 And as Turner 1987 in his later work writes proces s linking performative behavior art, sports 22 ritual, play with social and ethical structure: the way people think about and organize their lives and specify individual process. 21 P ower dynamics will be the focus of the following chapter. 22 Italics are mine.
63 Flow, as Liminality, to Achieve Communitas As liminality is a state of being both inside and outside of consciousness, the state. Both liminality and flow insp ire communitas which communicates a message to its participants. For instance, junior tennis matches communicate social values of competition, adversity, life lessons, and life metaphors of struggle and self empowerment through the liminal suspension o f not knowing who the winner will be for the communitas (the social group of players, parents, and coaches). Flow has been studied in athletes by Jackson and Csikszentimihalyi 1999 as an experience of complete control over the body and environment without having to take control. Athletes describe it as a temporary experience where performance feels automatic and the sense of identity is detached from judgment or crit icism. A comparison of liminality (as d escribed by Turner 1969), and flow (as described by J ackson and Csikszentimihalyi 1999), can be seen in Table 3 1 Thus liminality and flow are very similar. Turner 1987 sees this relationship in the context of drama, which I ext end to the sport context, in that flow is defined as a state a person experien ces when A ction and awareness are one and there is loss of the sense of ego, and secondary processes, where cognitive discriminations are made, that constitutes the distinctive quality of performative genres. The actors [i.e. athletes], to do their work reflexive secondary processes te's] absorption in primary relationships, cultural values, and moral issues. But the actors [i.e. athletes] wh performance a flow that engages the audience [i.e. parents, peers, total production (Turner 1987: 124).
64 While flo w can be a technique for achieving communitas Turner (in his early work) was unconvinced by the idea that flow could be used as a synonym for communitas as he saw it within the domain of structure (Turner 1974:162 163). In other words, he saw flow as some thing that can be prepared for. However, flow has been recently studied as a phenomenon that occurs spontaneously among groups of sport participants : as a form of social cohesion among teammates 2009); communitas 23 in spectatorship (Ing ham and McDonald 2003:28). Late in his career, Turner 1987 of the flow rather than being imposed on it fr om w ithout 133). B oth flow and communitas the situation all at one time...[without need to] pay attention to the plethora of roles and statuses which one normally occupies in s words, liminality and flow can be applied to determine individual transformation as well as group transformation through communitas A s Turner saw liminality as a technique for achieving communitas and discuss ed flow in a similar fashion to liminality, I see liminality and flow as having a metaphorical relationship, perhaps even a metonymical one, whe reas flow state could is an extreme liminal state: a state in which individuals/groups involved in transformatio n experience heightened states of ecstasy as well as destructive states of depression, anger, or withdrawal. I see flow as providing the same function in sport: to achieve communitas 23 Communitas can be economically exploited by governments as harmonious
65 among participants of social ritual, such as junior tennis (i.e. parents, players, and coaches) and its embedded rituals 24 Junior Tennis as Habitus As explained above, junior tennis is a site where communitas is created through shared liminality, or transformation, among players in the junior tennis culture. This culture can b e considered a form of habitus, or dispositions...found in the body schema [that] is capable of orienting practices in a way shared understan 55). Within habitus is a few generative prin ciples, which are closely interrelated and constitute a practically integ 86). Sport anthropologists have used the concept of habitus in their analyses of sport cultur es. For instance, Coakley 2006b applies the concept of habi tus to show how youth sport in the United States involves a belief system and lifestyle that is influenced by material conditions and historical practices that constitute family life where parents are morally responsible for introducing their children to a ctivities (such as sport) 25 Brownell 2000 applies Bourdieu's concep t of habitus and Mauss's 19 34 describes as the entire repertoire of things that people do to and with their bodies and 24 This is described in the next section of this chapter. 25 This is e laborated upon in Chapter 4.
66 t he elements of culture that shape their doing 26 This includes daily practices of bodily body is publicly displayed and the meanings that are expressed (Brownell 2000 :51). And as Mentore 2000 explains, the individual body acquires its agency and moral values by being made into a social person through these techniques of culture. Bourdieu's 1990 ractice excludes attention to itself...is unaware of the principles that govern it and the possibilities they contain; it can only discover them by e itual ions that are not emphatic that transmission must not be conscious when we can observe in many forms of bodily training that the body must be brought into and out of cons ciousness in order 27 Following Downey's 2010 lead, I apply Bourdieu's habitus to the junior tennis culture, ) as habitus is reinforced and challenged in the spa ce of communitas ior tennis. Building on 2008 position of sport a s a social ritual and Turner's 1969 explain my conception of the rituals that comprise the junior tennis habitu s as a network of embedded rituals involving seasonal, tournament, match, and point rituals. Then, I 26 to imply a sport habitus. 27 Downey 2010 takes Bourdieu's conception of habitus further by showing how mply changing an underlying 'structure' but
67 and by showing how the zone is evident in the junior tenn 2000 ). Embedded Rituals in Junior Tennis Body Culture With a highly ritualized lifestyle, junior tennis players can be seen as liminal individuals constantly progressing through embedded rituals performing rituals within rituals, as they progress through the rite of passage of competitive tennis. For instance, the structure of tennis can be seen as ritual performances built upon ritual performances where points make up games, which make up matches, which make up tournaments, which mak e up seasons, which make up a career. A point is the anti structure within a match's structure, as the point is the unknown liminal space where players can be free to create and improvise with spontaneous shots and, perhaps, reach a flow state. The match is the structure that houses points as it provides a set of rules (i.e. score, time, processual guidelines of where to start the next point and when to change sides) and the fence that distinguishes the players' space from the parents). Junior tennis participants understand the structure of a junior tennis career and how it progresses through stages of development, age divisions, and other lessons learned as families conti nue their journey through the junior tennis career. But there are many variations 28 (i.e. as seen in the multitude of training philosophies) of how people progress through this journey and it is unknown what is waiting for them in the end, even though they hope to live up to their potential for a college scholarship or professional career. 28 depending on participants' social status, class, ability, etc.
68 Turner (1987:74 75) noted four stages of social drama between parties: 1) begi of the two parties as united or parties involved is socially recognized and legitimated. Similarly, junio r players progress through similar stages, or what I call, liminal pathways (Figure 3 1). Junior players mastery in order to move on to o re engage in repetitive liminal transitions until they achieve self mastery, or withdraw from the ritual entirely either depends largely upon the manner in which junior pla yers are trained and guided by their coaches and parents through the liminal phases of the various rituals embedded within the junior tennis habitus. Equally important is how they interpret, internalize, and enact their experience as liminal individuals. Thus, the post liminal/reincorporation phase of one ritual is also the pre liminal/ phase, and therefore move onto the next ritual realm to continue their enhan cement through junior tennis. On the other hand, they may get worse (or maintain their skill level) and start the ritual over in an attempt to master it so that they can move on to the next ritual (i.e. practicing a shot over and over until they master it; playing an opponent ov er and over until they win ). If they do neither, players may also quit. But the point to make here is that mastery is a process of various pathways of which success, failure and withdrawal
69 are all a part. By the end of their junior career, players form their identities based on these ritual pathways driven by both external (i.e. rankings, comparisons to other players, coach feedback) and internal goals (i.e. a chievement of personal goals, overcoming psychological and physical challenges). By progressing through these liminal pathways, or realms of liminality improving, starting over, quitting players are pursue their potential and, thus, transform in constructive and destructive ways. C 29 training practices in competitive junior tennis involve a complex of embedded rituals and liminal pathways. Below are some examples of rituals realms or the temporal space in which speci fic rituals are performed through which junior players progress through in order to affirm or transform their status in the junior tennis hierarchy. They include the annual and weekly periodization cycles to the daily and minute to minute rituals within these training and tournament cycles. Periodization cycles As mentioned earlier, players, parents, and coaches see the junior tennis career as a socializing tool and a rite of passage into college and the adu lt working world; a necessary investment of time, money, and energy in order to raise a child to stand apart from the rest of their peers and enhance their social marketability (Bauman 2007) training and competition schedules make up a player's annual schedule, and several annual cycles c omprise a junior tennis career. For instance, training schedules for 29 schedules. It is also discussed as a method of power in Denison 2007, which will be discussed in subsequent chapters.
70 players during weeks that do not include a tournament generally i nvolve about three to six hours of practice, six days a week. 30 Training includes group and private instruction on the court, conditioning in the gym or on the track, and mental toughness training for some players. During tournament weeks, weekends are rese rved for tournaments, unless there is a national tournament which lasts for a week. On average, players play two or three tournaments a month. Typically, the higher the competition level, the more tournaments players play, the more they travel, and the lon ger the tournaments tend to last. The goal for most players is to play as many tournaments as they can to accumulate ranking points, so that they can get into the bigger tournaments where there are more points a warded per match, more opportunities to i mpro ve ranking, and more chances to be seen and considered by top college coaches, sponsors, and agents at the national and international levels. 31 As such preparation and recovery in order for a season, and their career. To peak for a tournament at the end of the week, players use the first part of the week to do technical drills, the last part of the week to play points, and the day before t he tournament to play a minimal amount in order to be ready to peak for the weekend. Sometimes, certain tournaments are used as part of the periodization process in order to peak for a major tournament season. Most players follow these periodization schedu les as coaches know that players cannot be expected 30 Depending on whether players go to school or do on line sc hooling at home, which is becoming more common in the junior tennis culture, players spend four to seven hours of day on school work. 31 Burnout and injury are acknowledged as chronic problems in junior tennis by the parents and coaches because of this cycl e.
71 to peak for several weeks in a row. In fact, coaches usually advise players to play no more than three tournaments in a row so that they can have time to recover and develop certain skills and p eak for th e long term. Coach Linda who was also a grand slam player, describes it this way: What I have found is the best way to peak before a tournament is to taper off, and you want to make a schedule...Let's say the player is playing three tournaments in July, a nd you want to establish what tournament they want to play in, what's the most important tournament. So for example, if they want to peak at that second tournament that they entered of the three, then the first tournament is a warm up tournament. So you do n't focus on results as much, just getting a lot of match play, and getting enough rest, hydration, getting good food in them so that they have a lot of energy, and train at that tournament that they want to peak at. So basically everything that month befo re the tournament should be geared towards peaking at that tournament a month before the tournam ent, training that first week. M aybe three weeks before the tournament, start tapering off, still do a lot of fitness, but maybe focus on incor porating the stra tegy into it. The second week, you want to do match play, and the week before the tournament, they're getting match play and the fine tune things that are fo r the tournament. Nina describes her daughters' weekly training ritual this way: cine balls or anything [that could] pull muscles on Friday but we still do fitness. We still train just as many hours on Friday. y they won the singles and doubles, then you gotta give them a rest during the week. But because they just rest their bodies and recover. No f itness, no tennis. 32 that is referred to throughout the junior tennis community when speaking about optimal performance in a match, a tournament, a season of tournaments, the junior career, and the tennis career beyond juniors. Therefore, much like the stages of ritual process, periodization cycles are based on a structure of preparation (pre liminal/separation), 32 This is elaborated upon later in this chapter.
72 peak (liminal), and recovery (post li minal/reincorporation) stages. For instance, to train for a tournament season, some players leave home to train at an academy or tournament, which would be considered a separation phase. As rites of passage deconstruct selves so that they may be reconstructed in a new status (van Gennep ches through liminal phases in order to be built back up in various ways 33 through daily practices within the periodization cycle over time. Coaches all have unique ways that they implement these rituals warm up rituals, various drilling rituals, and cool down rituals but they all follow the warm up drill cool down routine with the intention of instilling automatic behavior that eventually becomes self instilled by the players themselves. The separation of players from their non tennis identities (i.e. home, peers, and school) also aids in this breaking down process of their original status in order to through w hich the player progresses. I f players improve through the seas on of training communities outside of tennis) with a sense of mastery and ability to progress to the next level of training and competition. If they get worse or stay the same du ring this liminal training season, they start the training and competition schedule over until they master it. If they do not improve or continue to repeat their training, they may remove themselves by emotionally withdrawing by just going through the moti ons of training, 33 them, but they all have the intention of molding their players through ritualized behavior in their own way. This has m any expressions as will be discussed in following chapters.
73 starting a different type of training, or withdrawing completely by quitting tennis altogether. Tournament, match, and point rituals I see these pathways in the realms within the training season such as the tournament ritual, the match ritual within those tournaments, and the point rituals within those matches. Through the repetition of playing competitive matches in tournament after tournament, players learn to automate performances as part of the junior tennis habitus with rituals tha tournament. Tournament rituals. Tournaments are ritual processes. They are prepared for through periodization training, begun with pre liminal opening ceremonies, comprised of a liminal week or wee kend of match play, and completed with post liminal award ceremonies by which each remaining player is reincorporated into the tennis community with a new status. D uring t he ceremony for the National Girls 12 and U nder Tournament, there was an introduction ritual where players walked out to the court with their region written on name tags, much like the Olympics opening ceremony. This made it official that the tournament had begun. It brought the girls together to remind them that they are all a part of a c ommunity where they are all starting on an even playing field, or communitas The players' party was another ceremony that brought the players together and functioned to remind players and parents that they are members of a social community as well as comp etitors. At the end of the tournament, the winner and runner ups were celebrated as achieving higher status than the rest of the players These tournament ceremonies symbolize professionalism to all of the junior tennis participants, further connecting the m in communitas under the same shared set
74 of values and meanings that incorporate long term goals of winning, college tennis careers, and professional tennis careers. This is communicated through the material culture of the ceremonial setting: trophies sit ting on a table by the tournament desk reminding players of the long term goal of winning; umpires wearing uniforms to represent the organized structure of rules; corporate logos on players' bags and banners representing the commercial and media aspects of professionalized youth sport; and plaques on the walls displaying past winners who became professional stars and represent the legends in tennis that help perpetuate the culture from gener ation to generation Tournament match rituals. The tournament mat ches that make up a tournament ritual involve the stages of ritual process (pre liminal, liminal, and post liminal) within the structure of the tennis court which provides the well defined spaces where ritualistic behavior takes place. Players prepare for a match with a preliminal, or separation stage, play the match in a series of points (described below) as the liminal stage, and reincorporate into the player community after the match with a new status as 34 Before a match, some players chat with friends to quell nerves while other players isolate themselves from other players to begin the transformation into playing listening to music on he adphones, taking a run or str etching away from everyone else. As former player, Don, expresses, 34 This identity becomes official when the first question players ask each other is if they won.
75 Everything had to be a certain way... when I get in th e right frame. And g et into it. or sacred boundary (Figure 3 2) of the court's gate, they have five minutes of rallying and a coin toss to complete the pre liminal stage of the match ritual Once players have crossed that boundary, they temporarily leave behind the guidance of the coach and parent to start the match ritual on their own as parents/coaches are not allowed to communicate with their players once on the court. Nina, a mother of two players, describe s it: The second you walk through that ga step on the tenni However, this rule is not always followed as parents commonly shout out wo rds of support or disapproval to their on court during matches. The tennis court unacceptable behavior is accepted during the liminal progression of a tournament match and where rules and taboos 35 are adhered to depending on certain spaces of the court 36 This is why junior players often show behavior of rebellion against their parents through yelling back or s imply ignoring them. They also exhibit behavior in the liminal spa ce of the court that they normally would not show off the court such as signs of both flow state and dissociative state (described later in the chapter). One coach Henry, 35 The taboos associated with match rituals are talking to each other, showing emotion, and taking a ba throom break to change the momentum of the match. 36 For example, structural rules include hitting the ball so that it bounces inside or on the lines, switching sides to start the next point, etc. It is taboo for players to stand on the service line while returning serve even though it is not against the rules, to grunt loudly even though it helps keep them in flow state, etc.
76 describe s the space of the court as a metonym of junior tennis where players can esc ape the complexities of their lives and lose themselves in their game: The court was sort of my home. It was my common space. So t hat's why I teach tennis. T he only t hing I can w eave any consistency in my life is tennis. So it's very comfortable for me. It's a safe place. Point play. The playing of points within sets within games symbolizes the liminal period, and the handshake symbolizes the end of the match or post liminal reincorporation stage of the match ritual. During the match, players create po ints within the scoring structure and physical boundaries of the court 37 by exchanging rallies, or physical exhibitions of power, between each other. The point can be seen as a ritual in itself as the time between points could be seen as the separation phas e before a point (as players generally go to the back fence away from the backline of the court) as well as the reincorporation phase as they recover from the last point to prepare for the next. In this way, the separation and reincorporation phases of con secutive rituals can be point ritual can exist within the structure of the point ritual process. For example, the beginning (pre liminal phase) of the point is marked by the serv er bouncing the ball just before she serves, the liminal phase of the point is the exchange of strokes between opponents as they oscillate between offensive and defensive plays, and the reincorporation phase is when the last ball of the point is hit and th e players are inscribed with a winner or loser status for that point. 37 This is elaborated upon in my unpublished master's thesis.
77 Between point rituals. T he between point rituals 38 which players exhibit in various ways but following similar structures, could also be seen as a ritual process in itself. Within this limited time structure, there is creativity, variability, and individuality in how players perform their between point rituals within the twenty second time lim it. The most professionally trained players have defined rituals that they perform between ever y single point, and before and after every single match. They may not be the exact same rituals or be done in the exact same way, but most players hav e a routine. In general, p layers react to the previous point during the pre liminal phase of the between p oint ritual, which is the initial reaction after a point has ended. Depending on the outcome of the point, they may pump their fist, yell, throw their racquet, turn their back towards the opponent, or walk toward the back fence This is followed by a few s econds of recovery and reflection the liminal phase of the between point ritual which may include toweling off, fixing the strings, and talking to themselves. T his is followed by a few seconds of composing, resetting, and reincorporating into the game to play the next point by, for instance, walking to the baseline to get ready for the next point, jogging in place, or bouncing the ball before a serve. Players even have mental rituals, such as described below by former player Don : I was a different play er on the court. Sometimes I'd get out there and do different things, and I was thinking like I gotta play the point like this [and st at the point where I wanted to cry walking back to the baseline. I literally felt like I just wanted to cry. Or [I felt like] I could not break that racket into m ore pieces. [I'd say] e! But when I was doing the right thing, I would walk the line back to the 38 Between point rituals are the things that players do between the playi ng of points to use this time to stay in their Ideal Performance State (Loehr 2011).
78 myself the right sho co urt. The second I would let that go, then it would be t he emotions. Game switch overs. The between point ritual at game switchovers when players switc h ends of the court and have a ninety second break to drink water, eat, and sit down has a ritual process with cer tain taboos and symbols During the pre liminal phase of this ritual, players leave the court boundaries (but stay inside the fence) and wal k to their chair at the side of the court, usually placed a few feet from their opponent's chair facing toward the court. During the liminal phase, players recover and calm themselves down by reflecting on the match, drinking water, eating, checking their equipment to keep themselves busy, or just by sitting silently sometimes with a towel over their head to help them stay calm and relaxed. During the reincorporation phase of the switchover ritual, players leave their chairs, change the score on the score p ost perched upon the net post between them, and walk back to their respective lines on opposite ends of the court in order to start the next play. Post match rituals. Once players shake hands and walk of the court, they begin to reincorporate into the to urnament community. This stage is also used for recovery with post match rituals such as reporting the score, talking with the coach/parent, hanging out with peers, or going off by themselves if they lose. Rituals vary depending upon the player and how the match went. Players' s established once peers ask them, as they walk toward the tournament desk, whether they won or lost. Usually, it is apparent if a player lost by their body language and the
79 winner is the one carrying th e balls back to the desk. Thus, the player at the end of a Flow as t he st common term to describe flow within the junior tennis habitus. The experiences of flow which are often used interchangeably by sport psychologists (I.e. Loehr 1986) and sport partici pants have the same characteristics (outlined above). Turner 1969 refers to liminality in a state of communitas what Csikszentmih erfo rmance psychologists use the terms ) per 39 Flow is described by positive psychologists in the sport context in the following way: It appears that spiritual notions like selflessness, disinterestedness and passive receptivity are the precursor, and there is an internal logic which seems to need no conscious intervention on our part...We experience it as a unified flowing from one moment to the next, in which we feel in control of our actions [with little effort], and in which there is little distinction betw een self and environment; between stimulus and response, or between past, when the athlete comes out of this state, he can feel amaze d at the time that has passed (Jackson and Cs ikszentimihalyi 1999). Flow is where the individual can see the effects of her actions (i.e. hitting a shot perfectly), when things happen automatically as the analytical mind takes a backseat to bodily sensing, when there is no distraction (i.e. noises a nd movements of the crowd 39 ibe flow state within the liminal state of the match. But outside of the match, they did not refer to any of these states.
80 are folded into the experience without causing distraction), and when the possibility of failure rarely enters the mind, even if it is the end result (Jackson and Csikszentimihalyi 1999). To reach flow, the task must be sufficient ly challenging relative to the skill level as a challenge that is too easy bores the indivi dual while a challenge that is too hard makes the individual anxious (Jackson and Csikszentimihalyi 1999). Similarly, Dr. Jim Loehr (performance psychologist, Hum an Performance Institute, CEO) in conversation with me, October 2011, of achieving optimal mental focus and being equal to the state of flow while participants 40 In their interviews about experiencing the zone, they reiterate notions of bodily sensing and feeling as they describe the zone as a state of mind where they do not have to think about things; they just do it automatically, letting their body take over. They are not distracte d by things going on outside the court, and are not worried by how others are judging them or about the end result. They focus on the p oint, the shot, their breathing, and things they can control The experience of playing in the zone is similar to flow a s, players say, that it is They know that it is often a temporary state of feeling in control that they, ironically, cannot control. This applies not just to a match, but to a to urnament, a season, and their career as the zone is easier to stay in through continuous repetition and movement 41 Moreover, most players say that they feel they have gone through a transformation as 40 The characteristics players describe about the zone are similar to my own experiences as I trained in my junior career as well as i n my research. 41 tennis habitus.
81 they learn something about themselves with each m atch t hey play. T hey feel they can more easily access and maintain the zone as they practice their preparatory and recovery rituals and expose themselves to challenging drills and competition, even though flow happens spontaneously and unpredictably. Furth er, they characterize the zone as a space to be playful and creative with their instructed and practiced skills but also as a space of self destructive behavior and thoughts 42 Bodily expressions of the zone E vidence of the liminal training and competiti is in players' body language and game styles, which express players' mentality 43 and transformations of mentality throughout a ma tch. For instance, if players a re agg ressive and fearless, they approach the net leaning forwar d and follow through with their swings without hes itating. If fearful, they stay deep in the court behind the baseline with their bodies more upright and stop short of following through with the swing c ompletely. If angry, they make rash decisions in shot selection and rush to the net without properly setting up the point. Players exhibit the zone during their training sessions and tournamen t matches with their facial expressions, grunts, self talk, acknowledgement of pain, sportsmanship, and reactions be tween points. For instance, while in the zone 44 players' facial expressions a re more neutral immediately after a point, and usually throughout the 42 This is explained in the section below about constructive and destructive flow. 43 I asked players what they were feeling after a point or game they played against me when I noticed a change in their bodily comportment. 44 I asked players once they were at a resting point if they felt like they were in the zone. I also replayed video footage to corroborate what I had seen.
82 between point rituals and point ralli es. They seem to be performing without judging themselves because there was no hesitation in their speech or movements. They seem to become less self conscious about the intensi ty of their grunts when they mak e contact w ith the ball. Grunts that sound guttural and primal 45 a re often a sign of being in the zone and often attract spectators who recognize the signs and sounds of a heated climactic point in a match. Pla yers in the zone often refrain from talking to themselves between points except for short phrases like P layers who are not in the zone tend to talk to th emselves in complete sentences players in the zone seemed to ignore their pain 46 For instance, I watched as one 17 year old player vomited in the back of the court durin g a heated battle and continue to play, seemingly unfazed by his pain. Players who were not in the zone tend to play with their bandages or look at their injury more often, as if to blame it for a missed shot. Lastl y, players in the zone display sportsman ship in a subdued way (i.e. clapping the hand against their racquet strings to applaud a good shot), while playe rs out of the zone either show poor sportsmanship (i.e. making a sarcastic remark about why their opponent hit a winner) or show too much sports manship (i.e. praising the opponent for every good shot). 45 I realized this ab out myself, as well, and how good it felt to not care what people thought about these sounds of effort I was putting forth. 46 Players often said how they did not feel their injuries during a match. I experienced this, as well.
83 I experienced the zone myself as I trained with junior players, sensing feelings, bodily sensations, and spatial awareness 47 For instance, my footwork became more like dancing: unaware of my feet until it felt right to put my foot down in a certain place at a certain time. I would feel the need to skip around more with several little steps, while taking my racquet back, in order to take one big step to strike the ball. It was intuitive and automati c. As I trained more and more, I felt I could turn my brain on when I needed to change a strategy or adjust a stroke technique and keep it off to stay automatic. I re learned (from my own competitive playing days) how to breathe for endurance: breathe in w hen the ball bounce s, breathe out as my racquet mak e s contact with the ball. My rhythm ic breathing and footwork dance d together with the ball bounce to clima x at the moment my racquet hit the ball. There was a certain frequency of breaths depending on the pace of the ball being hit so that I could tell the rhythm of the point with the pace of the ba ll. Overall, I felt that I 82) as I spent more time practicing. I was not in the zone when I was worried about the outcome of my shots or 48 Since the mind and body influence each other (i.e. Denis on 2007, Downey 2010, Seligman 2010, Turner 1987), players learn to increase their chances of accessing the zone by consciously changing their behaviors from out of zone behaviors to in the zone 47 This is like Guerts' 2002 wo rk on sensing. 48
84 behaviors. By consciously changing their thoughts and behavio rs, they affect their mentality which perpetuates the cycle of performance. As they consciously practice these behaviors in training, their performance becomes more automatic in tournaments, Pr and behaviors through rituals of disciplinary training keeping facial expressions neutral, allowing grunts to be naturally expressive, keeping self talk to a minimum and always positive, hiding acknowledgement of pain, and keepin g sportsmanship behaviors to a minimum but positive can increase a player's chances of reaching and maintaining the zone, or constructive flow state 49 However, by practicing the non zone behaviors over and o ver, players more often access a destructive s tate where their bodily expressions and emotions spiral into self destruction (i.e. negative self talk, self hitting). This usually negatively affects their playing performance, and thus, makes them feel angrier and out of control. 50 The zone as shared lim inal experience ( communitas ) Parents, coaches and spectators share this experience, albeit vicariously, through the players. Parents watch their players and are usually separated, each on their own end of the court. They know that their own separation fro m the opponent's parents will give their players more support. Parents and players, thus, feel bonded in that they are competing against the opposing player (and parent) together: the parent 49 Performance Institute 2011). 50 The ways in which behavior affects psycholo gical and physiological changes in the body is beyond the scope of this project, but is discussed in Downey 2010 as a neuroanthropological focus.
85 as spectator and the player as performer. For instance, one playe r I interviewed over a bracelets. She told me this as she mentioned that she was afraid to move from her spot on the bleachers for fear it oved from his chair at home as she was texting him about the progress of the match. Parents can even tell when their players are in the zone by their body language One mother, Carol, notes, Her pony tail swings side to side as she struts ba ck to the fenc e. Her shoulders are back and she just has an energy about her. Another mother of a former player, Susan, She just looked strong and focused. Y any doubt. Those times were just so joyo And, this way: not the coach ; they d put a towel over their head, t Carol can also recognize when her daughter is not in the zone: [When she's not in the zone] s he bounces her racket talks to herself. And she'll start speeding up when she gets mad, start going 100 mph. Like walk up the line and blast a serve, no bounces, but she always bou nces it like 3 times normally. She just get s out there and bangs it. You can tell she gets frazzled and works herself up. It's almost like a panic attack sometime. Nina adds, W hen they get out of the zone, they get upset and start looking around. hat am I doing here? I h, they have a tendency to get lief that g oing through the seeds unseeded, they stay more zoned in because
86 P arents seemed to mimic their players' emotions and flow along with them, sometimes, as they flinched, looked down, shook their heads, clapped, pumped fists, leaned forwar d in suspense, breathed sighs of reliefs after the suspense, sat still in reflection, withdrew (emotionally) or left the court entirely. I see sport as forming a communitas between athletes, coaches, and spectators. This communitas occurs throughout enti re matches, but it is most apparent and visibly noticed through the body language of players, coaches, and parents during the liminal liminality, and communitas all connote a period of vulnerability where change is certain but the type of change is uncertain. Thus, comparing the characteristics of flow and even an extreme liminal state as wil l be explained in a moment. So, while ritual shows ourselves to ourselves (Geertz 1975, Turner 1986), the sport ritual does the same thing as players and spectators engage together in journeys filled with elation and despair. Embodied Learning and Identi ty in the Junior Tennis Habitus As Seligman cognitive and bodily aspects of self are mutually constitutive...information does not enter 29 Thus, players learn to build their identities through their experiences along various liminal pathways and flow experiences within embedded r ituals of training and in the junior tennis culture create a perpetual state of liminality that involves various liminal pathways along their junior tennis career.
87 As sho wn in the previous sections, flow and liminality have a metonymic relationship in achieving communitas among participants in the junior tennis culture as well as within individual participants. This section shows how individual junior players learn through their bodies and transform themselves in the process. Through various liminal pathways and flow in their training rituals and lifestyles, they transform in constructive a nd destructive ways. They build concept ions of themselves based on these bodily exper iences of constructive/destructive flow, which I explain as liminal states. These extreme states the pain that accompanies that pursuit. Embodied Learning Junior players embody knowledge th rough their experiences of liminality and flow through embedded bodily 51 rituals in the habitus, or body culture, of junior tennis: intentional training regimens that involve direct guidance from coaches as well as mimicry of coaches, professional players a nd peers. Learning the movements of junior tennis affects players' personal kinesthetic style, social interactions, and perceptions (as also seen in Downey's 2005 analysis of capoeira), both in and outside the tennis court and general environment. 52 Ritua ls within the junior tennis habitus are unconscious and conscious. Some rituals may be unconsciously absorbed and mimic k ed by junior players through their interactions and observations of peers. For instance, the 51 performance. 52 While Downey 2010 explores the neurological evidence of embodied knowledge and enculturation, this is not the purposes of this dissertation. However, it is important to Garis, S junior tennis participants and myself as researcher.
88 body/verbal language and material culture t hat players use is often an unconscious absorption of the environment. Metaphors uttered during training rituals become lucky charms, outfits, hairstyles, jewelry, towel s ) and discipline were also described by players. Former player, Don, describe s this: [My coach] would really stress anything you want; make it anything but have little things that in your mind are strictly you're doing just to discipline reality [was] someth ing he used to stretch a shoulder, but he called it his stick of discipline. I just made one, like I never used to stretch my shoulder, but I had that in my bag and it was something that I would just look at when I was playing matches, and things like that help me to go back to my mind just to be disciplined. comprehension is (essentially) corporeal...[C]ommunication...is entirely oral and visual, 161). Other rituals may be taught to the player by the coach as a conscious act, but then be automated through the repetitive rituals of training and competition. They t hus, become unconscious. H abitus can be seen as comprised of practices that entail the mo ving in and out of conscious and unconscious learning; the result being a transformation of self and of habitus itself. 53 Much like communitas becomes a site of individual and social transformation, Bourdieu 1990 says of habitus, The corrections and adjust ments the agents themselves consciously carry out presuppose mastery of a common code; and undertakings of collective 53 As the athletic self changes, so does the non athletic self (i.e. school, social, and family) as discussed in later chapters.
89 mobilization cannot succeed without a minimum of concordance between o recognize themselves in their practices or words, and, above all, without th e (59). Thus, transformation of habitus occurs through a social group of liminal individuals in communitas As a result, tennis training and learni ng involves, relies on, and transforms the individual player's sensing 54 of the body, the space around the body, and time as Alkemeyer 2002 Downey 2010, Wacquant 2009, Bourdieu 1990, Foucault 1975) interacts with a player's experiences of flow, and the zone, to incorporate a kind of altered state of consciousness or, an Nesti 2004). 55 As mentioned earlier, the transpersonal and transcendental experiences of sport often involve feelings for the individual of being part of something much bigger than oneself and even t he paradox of flow state, or the zone, is that it involves perceptions of complete control accompanied by a sense of the self dis appearing (Mugford 2009). F l ow can be likened to Bourdieu's 1990 concept of who is completely mastered by it, who possess es it, but so much so that he is totally ecause flow state requires a balance between the individual's 54 See Chapter 2 for a more complete description of the work on sensing. It applies to my methodology as well as the junior players' conception of self (i.e. Alkemeyer 2002, Downey 2010, Fors et al. 2013, Wacquant 2009). 55 not simply the 'embodiment' of 'knowledge', but rather physical, neurological, perceptual, and behavioural change of the individual subject so that he or she can accomplish tasks that, prior to enskillment, were
90 skill level and the challenge being attempted, flow does not necessarily result in optimal performance and can often accompany As mentioned earlier, players use rituals to help them access and maintain flow, but it does not always work. If flow does occur, it does so spontaneously, intermittently, and temporarily. Junior players say that perfor ming rituals of practice and preparation, under. 56 T hese rituals might be dismissed as forms of superstitious behavior, but they are still seen as techniques to attem pt access to flow state and to feel activity, then they can actually serve the purpose of achieving the focus necessary to ikszentimihalyi 1999:139). Flow state is what makes (Csikszentimihalyi 2008). T hus, as rites of initiation provide structure and predictability to a society (Turner 1969, van Gennep 1960), so do rituals of preparation and training provide comfort to players; although they perform them and are affected in varying ways. One father Te d, explains how ritual helps his children feel more comfortable in their surroundings, especially during stressful situations: I think routine is important for anything in a child 's life. I think when kids are bounced around all over the place, I think it' s pretty easy to get dis tracted and unfocused if they don't know what th ey're doing on a sort of a timely basis...You know, even particularly between points; this is partic ularly true for [my son] who's very emotional about things. But getting him to have 56 This is true for on cou rt and off court pressures as many players comment that school pressures are easy to handle compared to pressures they face in tennis.
91 certain routines be tween points so he doesn't rush, or he doesn't get distracted, or get upset wit h the opponent. And former player Don, describes the sense of confidence he felt through practice rituals: Repetition with just hitting balls I think, n aturally, just gives you confidence. Practice, if anything, repetition with discipline, helped me feel like I was more professional, so I would act more professional. And when I was acting more professional, I would do better on the court with like competi ng the right way and not getting caught up with other side garbage. By feeling secure with rituals, players feel a sense of control in their drills which can lead to self mastery of the skills they are practicing. A twelve year old player Skye, de scribe s it : If you practice something long enough, you might be able to do it right, after. Do it like perfectly But the practice of rituals can also be taken to an extreme level of perfectionism as several coaches like Henry, describe: [Ritual s can provi de a] relaxed flow. But it can definitely get you obsessive, it can go too far. Thus, learning is embodied through liminal states of flow, or the zone, and elicits some kind of transformation as it is a reflexive process where individuals become aware o f the fact that they are feeling or sensing something, and adjusting their behavior according to this sense. As this awareness interplays with the bodily experience, it sens towards the ball as it bounces inside the court, turn one more inch before swinging, or choose to hit open stance to save time and turn a defensive position into an offensive o practices her footwork, agility, coordination, and training over and over, she will be more
92 likely to do it automatically in a liminal state of flow 57 In other words, te nnis is about getting the opponent off balance and out of time to reach the next shot. If a player can hit the ball faster and recover faster by optimizing footwork and balance, then she is one step ahead of the opponent literally and figuratively and has a better chance of getting the opponent off balance. Similarly, in the realm of the life cycle of a junior tennis career, if a player can she can rest in order to allow herself a lo nger career. But the player who does not rest before injury and burns out 58 59 her physical and mental energy for early in their ten nis lives, so that they may quit before college and many quit playing tennis entirely im mediately after college. As coach Linda put it, [A burned out] player is just unable to get through a practice for s everal consecutive days, you can see it in their fa ce or hear it in their voice, so it's not motivation, it's inability to get the energy to perform. They just don't have anything left in the tank that's when they need to rest...Some parents are just putting their kids in a tournament every week, s ome o f those kids are going to just di e and hate tennis. 57 This is discussed below. 58 Chapter 6 discusses in more detail how burnout and injury occur and affect players. Here, the discussion is just related to the ways in which injury and burnout are ways in which players sense themselves. 59 Bledsoe's 2002 work shows how Gambian women viewed time as contingent upon their reproductive lives, instead of their reproductive lives being contingent upon comes earlier as the body gets used up over the course of more physic al and emotional trauma to the body.
93 Despite warnings of burnout, players often do not like to take time off because it several days of rest. They al so feel an intense pressure to stay ahead of the competition as they know that this is a year round sport. I f they are not practicing, their rivals are. It is a culture of constant training with no off season. One mother Nina, discuss es a coach's warnings about her daughter playing too much at too early an age while another coach advised her to go to Florida He told her that coaches are less likely to judge a parent for training a young player and more likely to encourage it there : court ve in Florida verybody plays everywhere. all over the world. There is no h oliday in Florida. Constructive and Destructive Flow While I have discussed flow as a state of enlightenment and mastery within liminal stages of competition rituals, are ritual processes manipulated for the purpose of abuse and oppression, [and] what mes positive self disciplining rituals get lost or morph into self that is opposite of the flow state that Csikszentimihalyi 1975 described. But both states occur in a liminal transitio n and can be considered states of liminality, just with opposite effects. As players are liminal both on and off the court, they are constantly oscillating between the extremes of autonomous master and struggling novice, between offensive player and defens ive player, between exaltation and devastation.
94 While some players in my study have credited the zone for an ability to be playful and creative with their skills, it is also a period of self destruction in the form of misbehavior and negative self talk. This highlights another common quality between flow and liminality: that they result in either a heightened or lower status, with creative or destructive consequences. With this in mind, flow state actually could be considered more of a metonym than a syno nym of liminality States of flow (Figure 3 4), thus, incorporate constructive or destructive extreme s of liminality In higher levels of per formance and sense of self O n the other hand, they cause players to self performance, judgment, and ultimate well being. Players often oscillate between these extremes in a matter of moments. L iminality within a match can leave junior players vulnerable to both the negative, and positive experiences of a competitive match. This is also true in the larger realm of the junior tennis career as players are formed by the positi ve and negative factors of junior tennis, in general. For instance, they learn to self regulate, to be independent, to respect authority, to be self motivating and to work in a team But they are also open to the negative factors of junior tennis when the y are vulnerable to agents and coaches who exploit child athletes for their talent; escape from learning social skills and the demands of academic pressures; ignore the need for having a fallback plan aside from tennis ( as optimal performance is thought to require ) ; ignore signs of illness or injury; exhibit negative s elf talk, self abusive behavior; and develop low self esteem because of the pressure they put on themselves. Junior players who have learned self regulation
95 skills tend to play their matches w ith control of their emotions and view their matches as a part of their lives instead of the center of their lives. Those who have not learned self regulation rituals often have little control over themselves and their emotional responses and can be seen a s acting out family problems, pressures they feel, and their strong identity development around tennis. up to the level of pressure they endure. For instance, some players, in this state, throw tantrums, yell at themselves, throw their racquet, hit themselves, cheat, get into arguments with the opponent, parent s, etc. In these cases, some coaches told me that this is a sign of tr ue passion and self discipline. O thers say it is a form of self abuse, especially if done every day over several years. In one situation I witnessed, a twelve year old player named Taylor seemed to reach a level of consciousness that was out of his control during a tournament match. He exhibi ted a destru ctive flow state during a match marked by sobbing and yelling at himself after every point. This was something that this particular player was known for doing after losing a point, even if winning the match. Some said he may have been acting out pressure i mposed from his father, a former professional athlete, or from the national team who was recruiting him for the national team. His coach told his mother that this was a sign that he really wanted to be a good player and that he would transform this behavio r into a healthy competitive fire as he gets older. But other coaches, including myself, wondered about the amount of damage he was doing to himself psychologically. Was he making himself stronger by criticizing himself so
96 harshly, or was he abusing himsel f to the point of burnout or depression? 60 Was he Taylor disintegrate on the court. They highlight the constant oscillation between constructive and destructiv e flow tha t Taylor seemed to exhibit in a bipolar 61 way: One mother says Taylor has a split personality. Anot her player says that she knows what he feels like and that it's as if he's bipolar because that's what it feels like to her. Taylor He goes from being okay to having a look of fear and trauma. He looks scared. My friend, who is a mother o f a player there, says that the federation likes how Taylor gets as emotional as he does. They say that Fe derer used to cry in fear like that, and th gonna be a good player, why they like him. He is in the end of the th ird set against another player who is also being recruited by the federation. They are bo th eleven. Taylor is losing his sanity on the court n ext to me as I hit with a player whom I'm coaching. He screams to himse The next point the opponent hits a winner and he yel anguished, guttural scream. He whimpers to h t out of desperation during the wi ped by his sides as he directs his fury at his oppon nes than the crying o ut in pain as he loses another point. His crying is obvious with an is trying to let out his cries but s tifle t hem at the same time. Taylor yells at hims elf in the second Every ball in the ferent person; a schizophrenic type behavior. But no matter how upset he gets, he steps up to the line ready to play the next point Still, whether he ends up winnin g or losing a point, happiness still seems to evade him. Losing provides despa ir while winning only seems to provide relief. He physically abuses himself on the court when he loses the point: slaps his head, slaps the grou nd with his hand, hi ts himself in the leg with his W hat are you ( Dec. 20, 2011 Miami, FL) 60 Psychoimmunological research has shown a link between chronic stress in youth and problems with PTSD, depression, and auto immune disorders in adulthood. This may 61 when they felt like they were out of control emotionally on the court.
97 After the match, Taylor match: Taylor loses the match on a short aggres sive play from his opponent. He to it on the second bounce. The referee has to duck out of the way. Taylor then bounces his racquet on the ground and cries out the loudest yet, pected of players. He turns around and walks to his bag at the bench and throws his racquet on the bag and is sobbing when he continues to talk to himself but in the first door to leave the court. He passes his mother and throws his water jug against the fence. She follows several paces behind and picks it up. This is a common theme where the mother has to manage h after losing a match: a combination of enabling entitlement mixed with intense pressure. ( Dec. 20, 2011 Miami, FL) that match the individual's former su ffering in their intensity, but do not have the same negative valence (i.e. being isolated from friends and family) and by keeping the examples like seclusion from the ever yday world and learning techniques involving intense focus away from self (305). Likewise, I see players, who have been coached to do so, focusing on the ritual o f healing through positive self talk b etween points in order to divert attention from the symptoms of their pain (i.e. losing). But for t hose who have gone deep into a destructive flow state, like Taylor self abuse (physical and emotional) often gets expressed regardless of how much the junio r player h as been tra ined to do otherwise. Tina describes her frustration with her daughter's lack of control over her emotions: She has an anger problem and we are trying to deal with that on the court. So, we just went to the sectional and she didn't do well at all because she
98 doesn't handle emotion well. She gets very angry. Now, as her mom, I question if she's not emotionally stable enough to handle that; [if] we shouldn't continue to encourage her to go on...the one thing I told her is that the way she acts and the things she says, we know her mannerisms...I e happy C inside, whatever you're doing there, the outside won't change...You can't mask this...because when you do, then it really becomes an expl osion. You have to be calm. [But] just saying that doesn't work. These examples show that flow state can be destructive as well as constructive. Reaching a constructive flow state can be an escape for kids from over controlling parents and coaches, a way to learn how to concentrate intensely, to be creative within a given structure, and a way to exp erience mind body spirit connection. Reaching a destructive flow state can lead players to burnout, withdraw, and identify the mselves as layers must reach these extreme liminal states in order to know themselves to think through the body, and learn to turn off the analytical mind at certain times while turning on the body sensing system (i.e. the sense of space around the body, the emotional sens e of body pain, the sense of time and rhythm). Without reaching a liminal phase over and over again with exposure to repetitive training and competition, players cannot reach these levels of body sensing and maintain them for long periods of time 62 Junior players, in this sense, may acquire this ability more so than other youths that do not play sports or engage in other physical activities at an elite level. They have the capacity to know themselves through their bodies, when and how they approach their li mits, and how long they can sustain themselves and their bodies outside their limits. 62 I discuss this with the pain boundary in a later chapter.
99 he Self exteriorized. Not only bodily practices, but the body itself becomes (Rail 1991:747). Not surprisingly, j year old player Hope, says, that would be, like, talki ng to s omeone during the break and I concentrate on my own tennis. But when I step off t like a teddy bear Her mother says that she taught her daughters to be like that: t he court. [She laughs] and they get off and they bette r be a teddy bear again; but I better not see anything but being a nasty pit bull as they can be on that court. anybody. Interestingly, though, this may mean that their liminal, tennis selves are tennis selves are only roles they play; that they embody their tennis performance as their true i T here is often a blurring of the lines between tennis and non tennis identities. Players build their self conceptions based on their bodily knowledge through the junior tennis body culture as well as through their interactions with parents and coaches. The ways in which players see themselves are also influenced by the manner in which parents and coaches praise or criticize players, and whether they are doing so while the play is in flow or not. For instance, a c internalized by the junior player who becomes self critical as a result. There is a fine line between constructive self judgment and destructive self criticism. Low self esteem can
100 come from negatively scrutinizing coaches (as opposed to constructively scrutinizing) w ith the constant commentary upon which kids become depend ent in form ing opinions coaches see them. Leaving the parents to attend an academy and/or relinquishing control to coaches can help players improve away from the comforts of home and their ut it can also open the door to abuse of power by coaches if they forget that they are molding malleable, vulnerable ado lesc ent people and not just It may also be that players internalize parents' and coaches' judg ments more deeply while performing a physical drill during flow state, for instance, than while resting. In other words, the criticisms and praises of a coach/parent are more deeply absorbed by a player as her own self criticism or self praise while she is actively sidelines. This is why coaches tend to yell commands to their players across the net about how to adjust their strokes while they are hitting rather than, or in addition to, just explaining to them how to hit their strokes before the drill starts. This applies to strategy training during m atches too. One coach recognizes this lim inal state of players as he says to strike while the iron is hot. H e i s referring to the need to coach players while they are playing matches ( which is currently not allowed in junior tennis ) Players support this theory when they say they find it frustrating when their coach stops practice frequently to tell them how to d o something rather than let them continue the flow of the rally. They seem to learn more easily while they are moving rather than
101 sitting and listening, most likely because highly accomplished junior tennis players rely on their kinetic senses to learn. Th is supports Csikszentimihalyi's 1975 view that learning is easier in flow. Therefore, making adjustments to technique, strategy, and self thought is more easily accomplished during bodily movement. However, this also may make players more vulnerable to c riticism and judgment 63 As they are molded by their coaches' and parents' judgments, praises, and criticisms during training activities, players could be more prone to internalize these judgments to form their own judgme nts about themselves. They become t hemselves through others' judgments of them, especially disempowering effects on well being 64 Embodiment of identity through pain and potential Pain and suffering is a neces sary part of the transformation process during ritual; there is something in the liminal phase where we meet our threshold 65 to sustain pain, focus, and fatigue and stretch that boundary in order to extend our level of endurance an d, thus, power. As Turner 1986 said, The creation of a detached, still almost sacred liminal space allows us to search for such sources. One wellspring of this excessive meta power is clearly the liberated and disciplined body itself, with its many untapped resources for pleasure, pain, and expression (42 43). 66 63 This is a theory that I am deve loping, but further research is needed to verify it. 64 This will be discussed in the final chapters. 65 66 Turner 1986 is referring to theatre here, but I see the same holding true with t he experience of pain through sport.
102 Junior players progress through various liminal pathways with excessive self criticism which can lead to enlightenment, self destruction, or withdr awal. As seen in the case of Taylor outlined above many players deride the mselves verbally and even hit themselves wh en they miss a point. Seligman 2010 in her discussion of dissociation in Candomble self healing rituals, discusses how awareness of embodiment (mentioned or an over awareness of the zone, can absorb the individual into the activity but hyp erawareness can pull the individual out of the activity altogether. Seligman 2010 is referring to the experience of pain and says that in order to deal with pain, losing oneself in a spiritual activity may regulate arousal and i nfluence autonomic control. In this way destructive flow state could be seen as a kind of dissociative state for junior players when they lose themselves in their suffering (emotionally and physically) as a result of making a mistake or losing, for instance. On the other hand, cons tructive flow state could also be seen as a kind of dissociative state as they lose themselves in the ecstasy of winning. It could be said that they might learn to enjoy suffering and feel more complete when they suffer on the way to winning; that winning is sweeter through sacrifice 67 In both constructive and destructive flow, players can show a detachment of emotion in addition to the moments of ecs tasy and demoralization. I ntertwined with extreme emotional outbursts are also moments of feeling outside th e body, or what Seligman calls, dissociation. This supports the point 67 This is elaborated upon later as players often say that they gladly sacrifice for their tennis enhancement.
103 s in which individuals find it desirable to shift attention away from ordinary self awareness, either to expand the social possi bilities of self or to escape it s psychological and emotional burdens, or both 68 (Seligman and Kirmayer 2008 in Seligman 2010:304). 69 70 68 Italics are mine. 69 A rally can be a relaxing, meditative activity. 70 This is also discussed in Denison 2007 as an expression of the space between compliance and resistance, as will be discussed further in the following chapter.
104 71 As Jackson 1994 emphasizes, a commun itas of pain facilitates mutual understanding among those who are in pain about their pain 72 As players constantly strive to become better players, they develop their tennis and non tennis identities around their experiences with pain. At the same time, th ese identities are often at odds as they experience sport in both empowering and disempowering ways. Thus, junior players transform and come to know themselves through the paradoxical yet powerful experience of pain. These are all forms of pain which youth athletes can interpret, simultaneously, as torture and transcendence depending on the context in which the pain is experienced. It is this paradoxical experience of pain that allows discipline to be embodied through embedded rituals for the sake of buildi ng and meeting one's 71 The boundary between physical and emotional pain cannot really be established since both occur in the body (Jackson 1994:223), but I di stinguish them here for the sake of emphasizing the various ways that pain can be interpreted and embodied in order to build identity. 72 This work was focused on patients in a hospital, but I see the same thing in how athletes valorize injured athletes, an d how those injured athletes form their own community among themselves.
105 along a liminal pathway 73 I it is a per petual state of becoming. B ecause of the emphasis plac ed on reaching it, the general environment is full of symbols of potential and performance enhancement, such as sponsor banners (Figure 3 3). P layers conceive themselves and build their identities around this concept of potential as it become s a unit of measurement by which their performance is judged by their coaches, parents, peers and themselves. Much like Bledsoe 2002 experiences, aging in the junior tennis habitus be comes contingent, not necessarily upon one's chronological age, but upon one's potential. The more potential one has, the through the highs and lows of pain along her tennis life but, at the same time, maintains because of the pain she has endured. Through the repetitive performance of these bodily rituals, and thus the experience of pain and potential 74 junior players embody skills that contribute to their overall self making 75 This self making, in turn, contributes to the reaffirmation and/or challenge of the junior tennis habitus (i.e. the value of potential over personhood) which constantly seeks to survive through the individual body (Mentore 2002). 73 This is mentioned earlier. 74 This will be discussed in Chapter 6. 75 As Downey 2010 notes, this self making influences the individual at the neurological level as well.
106 learn how to stretch the b oundaries 76 of pain during training and competition rituals in order to attain physical achievement, personal and spiritual fulfillment, and maximal performance. At the same time, there is a paradox inherent in the experience of pain from pushing past their pain boundaries as adhering to the habitus of sacrifice, risk, pain no pushed too far to the point of injury and burnout 77 also risk those routines of their habitus that have become part of their own bodies; by going to the limits of their personal abilities, they extend the boundaries of the cultures My research shows how athletes developed in env ironments that prioritize personal well being and pay attention to individual needs push the liminal boundaries of pain and achievement with appropriate recovery time 78 The resulting sensations of mind body spirit connection and ultimate control of the sel f and environment can be empowering for youth athletes. But athletes developed in environments that prioritize immediate performance over long term personal well being, or guided by coaches who are uninformed about the psychological, emotional and physiolo gical nuances of developing (pre)adolescent athletes, tend to push too far or too fast past the pain 76 77 This is elaborated upon in the final chapters. 78 This is elaborated upon in the final chapters.
107 can have destructive consequences for overall well being. 79 Summary are submissive to their instructors and are told that they are in the presence of things from the origins of society and that they are being filled with mystical power...this allows them the ability to take on tasks successfully. The communication of the sacra teaches them how to think about their cultural position and environment and transform them from one being to another (108). 79 The result can be disempowering, producing injury, burnout, and overdependence on the coach or sport, in general, for identity. This will be discussed in the final chapters.
108 As a result of the embedded rituals through which junior players progress, there are changes taking place. These changes occur within the player, within the player parent coach dynamic, and among other player parent coach dynamics within the junior tennis environment, much like the cultural change with which Turner credits communitas Depending on the progression through these embedded rituals and various liminal pathways, junior players are empowered and dise mpowered by these transformatio ns. They are embodying the tools of, and the scars from, their perseverance through and endurance of long periods of stress and challenge. These transformations are a perpetual process as players are in a constant state of learn to self identify based on external motivators like rankings, comparisons to other play ers, and coach feedback, but also through their body, especially in relation to their potential and pain.
109 resent experience in society (i.e. Best 2007). N ot taking their transitional status into account can be equally disempowering as it portrays them as mini adults who are affected by stress like adults and who have adult expectations placed upon them. This c ould raise their risk of exploitation, at least in the youth sports world (David 2004). I see youths, then, in a paradoxical state as both being kids and becoming adults. T can ultimately contribute to the prioritization of junior players as performers rather than people. This can lead to a devaluing of holistic well being as a priority, as the following chapters describe. Junior players are, as a result most able to reach personal heights, and at the same time, most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by parents, coaches, and the junior tennis industry during training and competition rituals due to their status as transitional human beings. Experiences of liminality through positive and negative flow make this even more p ossible. Empowerment of competitive junior players most likely results when they are viewed, not as just objects of performance enhancement looking building their life skills improving their personal well being, and transforming overall through the rite of passage of junior tennis. As junior players embody the junior tennis habitus through embedded rituals of training and competition, they make and are made by the relations o f power within that environment, as will be discussed in the next chapter.
110 Table 3 1. Comparison of liminality and f low characteristics Liminality (Turner 1969) Flow (Csikszentimihalyi 1975) At the limen O utside the norm An automaton proceeding in a trance Automatic performance Fusing of mind and body Effortless mind body control Feeling of control, guided by instructor Feeling in control w/out trying Full immersion in the present Total absorption/focused attention Timelessness Transformat ion of time Loss of a sense of identity Loss of ego and self consciousness Ambiguous state of ecstasy/uncertainty Heightened awareness and joy Achieved through repetition More easily accessed w/practice Reassembling culture in new ways Applying skills in creative ways Unacceptable becomes acceptable Unacceptable becomes unacceptable Period of transformation Become different person but true self Temporary state Can come and go Creative as well as destructive Can result in a win or a loss The new a nd novel becomes norm Heightened states become normalized Status fluctuates b/t winning/losing T olerance of pain/sacrifice Tolerance of pain/sacrifice
111 Figure 3 1. Liminal pathways
112 A) Photo courtesy of Jennifer J. Fiers B) Photo courtesy of Jennifer J. Fiers Figure 3 2. Sacred boundary. A) Of professional tennis court, B) Of junior tennis court. A) Photo courtesy of Jennifer J. Fiers B) Photo courtesy of Jennifer J. Fiers Fi gure 3 3 Sponsor banners A) Of pot ential. B) Of performance enhancement.
113 Constructive flow s tate Separation --------------LIMINALITY --------------Reincorporation Destructive flow s tate Figure 3 4. States of f low
114 CHAPTER 4 RELATIO NAL POWER AMONG PARENTS, PLAYERS, AND C OACHES 1 1 I am aware of those who do not agree with a Foucauldian approach to power (i.e. Foucauldian analysis o f sport is concerned with how relations of power target and shape the body through different types of practices, forms of knowledge, and sets of norms in order to produce specific bodily capacities and particular attitudes towards the ith Maguire 2002:293).
115 Approaching Power Technologies of D omination 2 affirm and 2 Smith Maguire 2002 points out that Foucault was likely influenced by Elias's 1939 notion of the civilizing process and Douglas' 1966 concept of bodily symbolism.
116 Coakley 1991). Through the objectification of the individual, technolo gies of domination work in both individualizing and totalizing modes that rationalize optimization (performance enhancement) through normalization 3 (i.e. coach) relies on individuals to maintain social order (i.e. perfo rmance), and productivity (Smith Maguire 2002:299 ). I initially 4 5 3 John Hargreaves 1987 notes this in his work on physical education. 4 Shogan 1999 points out that docile bodies are not necessarily passive bodies and that they are productive, but that many authors have not seen it this way. Thus, she says, 5 This is true at least in part, based on my own past experiences and observations as a junior player and coach.
117 I never had as a goal in my mind going to anything like being number one in the world. That was just sort of what we did: come home, do school work, go play tennis, repeat. If you want to go pro don't go to [a place where] they will teach you to go to college and do the right things in life: how to build a human bei ng, not a human tennis machine. If you worry about just building a human tennis machine, you ain't g onna get the rest.
118 the modern individual [ ] is contingent upon knowing, monitoring, and improving 6 6 John Hargreaves 1987 also applied Foucault's 1975 perspective of power on physical education and how it is a form of domination used to reproduce the class, gender, and race relations thr
119 he objectification of junior athletes' rankings and signs of potential reaffirm s their place in the social order as well as their coaches and parents positions in the social order. When coaches and parents attach their status to the performance of their players, it is often looked down upon ( even though it is quite common). One paren t, Clark, discusses this: A lot of coaches are the problem. Even parents who are coaches. The problems with coaches are the same ones with parents. That is, they judge their own performance on the outcome of the child. They should be put in a mental instit ution A well A lot of [parents] already have their tickets booked at Wimbledon fo r their twelve year As players become more focused on their own individual bodies and potential, they are more likely to stay focused in order to be accepted by the general junior tennis society. The norms of junior tennis center on enhancement. Players are, then, less likely to question the ways in which those norms have been produced th e more they focus. Consequently, performance enhancement of the junior tennis industry (including the coaching industry, the national federation, sponsors, etc.) relies on regu lation of the player population through the acceptance and rejection of
120 to be in control of performance enhancement practices (or else suffer the social, economic, and psych ological consequences). As a result of normalizing performance enhancement goals (i.e. collegiate and professional tennis careers) and strategies (i.e. hiring a coach, moving to an academy, doing on line schooling ), the authority position of coaches and pa rents is reaffirmed and players focus more on their self management and self discipline with less reflexive, critical analysis about the dynamics in which they are involved. Technologies of the S elf discipline), they must recognize themselve s within the social order so that they enact their freedom appropriately...Recognition of oneself as both governed and self governing is contingent upon knowing and defining oneself in certain ways that are historically specific to modern, non coercive soc ieties (Smith Maguire 2002:302).
121 Even when you're rolling around the court in agony, it's something of a good feeling. Because you know you're getting better. Y ou voluntarily do it. If you don't put a little pain into it, then you're never gonna get anywhere. Governmentality echnologies of self and technologies of domination not only need each other to exist, they work together in their co existence: Technologies of domination and technologies of the self do no t work in mutual isolation. Rather, they are deeply interconnected, each forming the condition for the other. Without the support and participation of free subjects, disciplinary and regulatory mechanisms devolve into oppression. Without the resources and rules of institutions and bodies of knowledge,
122 self managing subjectivities would not be formed (Smith Maguire 2002:306). It is this interdependency, at the everyday level, that reaffirms the perpetuation and reproduction of the social order: The point o f contact between technologies of domination and of the self between discipline and self discipline, regulation and freedom is ultimately what gives shape to the social order and ensures its reproduction. That is, the social order rests on the self man aging individual choosing to act in a way that reproduces the status quo (Smith Maguire 2002: 307) ourselves lies at the heart of the social order, and its potential tran Maguire 2002:307 ).
123 Foucault and Bourdieu
124 It was always trying, you know, [figuring out] what's the next thing?...It was never good enough [though]. It was never quite enough, never quite the one...that was gonna make the breakthrough...It was about chasing t hat elusive goal.
125 7 7 This is discussed in Chapter 3.
126 8 8
127 are always involved in, and can never act outside of, the multiplicity of social relations in which they are enmeshed. W hile all social actors are assumed to 'have' agency, the idea of actors as always being engaged with others in the play of serious games is meant to make it virtually impossi ble to im agine that the agent is free... (130). 9 Technologies of Self, Technologies of Domination, or B oth? Through my fieldwork and writing, I argue that the paradoxes of power in th e junior tennis culture involve this interact ion of power technologies. It i s often difficult to discern between technologies of domination and technologies of self. This difficulty is emphasized by the few scholars who apply Foucault's concept of technologies of self to sport (i.e. Jones and Aitchison 2007, Markula 2003, Smith Mag uire 2002). S cholars (i.e. Jones and Aitchison 2007, Markula 2003, Markula and Pringle 2006, Shogan 1999, 9 Ortner 2006 also points out how agency takes two forms: one involving the domination/resistance against someone, and the other bein g focused on the pursuit of goals (152).
128 Smith Maguire 2002, Rail and Harvey 1995) who apply this interaction of technologies 10 (Dostie 1988:225 in Rail and Harvey 1995) I build on their work in order to conceptualize power in competitive youth sport. The individual agency performed by high performance athletes because of, and in spite of, this sportization of the body creates and is created by the discourse of sport as well as the body (Shogan 1999). Specifically, feminist sport scholars use Foucault to show how sport normalizes male power over women with training regimens that expose bodies to constant surveill ance by coaches and peer athletes In this way, sport discipline s women as docile bodies to mold themselves into feminine figures according to the dominant ideal athletic form (i.e. Cole 1993, Johns and Johns 2000, Markula 1995, Rail & Harvey 1995). But so me of these same scholars, and others, show how sport can be used as a tool to resist dominant power which frees individuals from oppressive ideological forms through self transformation as empowered subjects, or as a technology of the self (i.e. Jones and Aitchison 2007, Markula 2003, Smith Maguire 2002, Theberge 1991). Thus, p ower can be both controlling and productive through the constraints of sport training not just coach over at hlete where coaches exert power; but athletes are free because of that power (through the mastery of their skill) to resist it (Shogan 1999:10). If sport practices are empowering individuals to succeed under the dominant ideal of success, these practice s may not actually be transformative when they are 10 This is the process through which the body becomes a sporting body and acquires the characteristics and skills that are favorable for maximal performance in the sporting context.
129 reproducing the dominant ideal of femini ni ty, success, athleticism, etc. They may act a defense against power instead of a conscious embodiment of the self through activities to overcome power to meet the requirement of the dominant discourse (Johns and Johns 2000, Markula 2003). Sport practices can be both a form of coping and transgression. 11 An example of this would be cheating, which is very common in junior tennis. Player s cheat to avoid being dominated as well as to cope with the pressures of winning that are placed upon them by their coaches, the long run, this does not overcome oppressive power dynamics and reproduces the culture's philosophy of winning at all costs. Does this mean that coping practices are disempowering, nonetheless? 12 Foucault 1988 points out that when cultural practices of resistance provide a sense of empowerment to individuals as well as involve critical awareness ethical self care, self stylization and critique of the self and external social environment they coul d be considered as technologies of the self in that th ey consciously challenge the dominant discourses of power (Jones and Aitchison 2007, Markula 2003). Practices that are intended to have empowering effects can have disempowering effects when they are performed without applying a critical analysis of how th ey will be empowering. For 11 Jones and Aitchison 2007 point ou t how triathlon is a strategy of resistance as well as a technology of self which can ultimately be both a process of freedom and imprisonment for women athletes. And Chapman 1997 described the sport of rowing as ous site of domination and opportunity to create a feminine self for women athletes. 12 This is a question I address further throughout the dissertation through examples of paradoxical spaces of power.
130 example, forms of external discipline can become abusive at the point coaches and parents stop considering the long term, overall well being of the child and when they devalue their own coaching philosophies and methods compared to perfect a machine when you're really dealing with a child Likewise, forms of self discipline can become self harming when players stop putting their own well being over the values of the sport culture referred to as 13 (Hughes and Coakley 1991) or deviant ove rconformity (C oakley 2006a). They tend to devalue their own personal needs, game styles, training styles, and intuitions compared with the way coaches and parents want them to do things. However, even when disempowering practices are acknowledged as disempowering, they may be continued, anyway, as they may provide an immediate sense of empowerment to players. Forms of abuse and self abuse can sometimes be mastery of sport, and thus e mpow ering. One parent exemplifies this when she says would be considered abuse here to where it's not in foreign cou ntries, and those kids are so As Bordo 1993 notes, in their efforts to become ideal women and athletes, girls and women can junior and collegiate tennis, disordered eating is prevalent among female athletes in 13 Overcommitment to sport ethic refers to the unquestio ned commitment to participating in sport through injuries and eating disorders (Hughes and Coakley 1991).
131 forms of restrictive calorie intake, binging, and purging. And as Messner 2003 notes, boys and men build their male identities around violence. Athletes also can also feel agitated and depressed when they refrain from training for a few days. power strong become makes bodies strong at first self disciplinary training techniques can also be the same factor in their injury and illness in the long run. As Smith Magu i re 2002 notes: The bodily capacities of strength and speed produce results such as better and faster performances, but they also expose the body to new problems, injuries, and risks. Technologies of the self (such as the self discipline involved in training) are not reducible to technologies of power (the established training techniques), and the effects of power are never fully predictable. The contradictory effects of training virtuosity and vulnerability create the possibility of athletes challenging the ends to which their competence is put, and directing their capacity for self management towards ends and goals quite different from those originally intended (Smith Maguire 2002: 304 305). This makes it difficult to discern between empowering technologies of the self and disempowering technologies of domination that keep junior athletes in the cycle of exploitation and self exploitation for their sport. of social management, technologies of the self are also, always, a potential means of players reflexively follow certain regimens to enhance performance, they may become capable of employing the very knowledge they gain throu gh their training to critically analyze that training (i.e. whether it is to their benefit or detriment). Sport can be seen as a technology of domination through training and disciplining bodies and, at the same time, an ethical technology of self that aid s self
132 2002:304). There is a fine line between empowerment and disempowerment in junior tennis as the outcomes of disciplinary powe r can be contradictory, unpredictable, and paradoxical. The paradox is that in order to reconfigure the discursive power relations, technologies of self in ways that are first har nessed by technologies of domination. through which players form their identities and a skepticism about what they consider as normal and natural (Shogan 1999). Gove rnmentality and (Dis)Empowerment in Junior Tennis is both a matter of regulated and autonomous bodies, junior have some natural desire to. Sports perf ormance enhancement reinforces a discourse the systems behind the social order (i.e. distract attention from protesting against exploitative coaches or training practice s). But it can also act as a tool to develop greater self awareness which could, in the end, enable individuals to become more aware of the social order and junior tennis It may encourage question ing the ultimat e goals of perfor mance enhancement for which players are training their bodies (and minds). This further supports my view of junior tennis practices as having paradoxical effects on individual player power and well being, but also on how these practices can both reproduce and challenge the social or der. of players by coaches and parents through technologies of domination (surveillance) regulation through technologies of the self (Smith
13 3 Maguire 2002:310). The paradox is that junior players can come to question the effects of their training and competition, through the qualities they develop from their training and competition, and how their autonomous decisions contribute to social manag ement can provide the tools (i.e. self discipline, determination, analytical though, competing against opponents, adversity) for social disruption and resistance to t he social order of junior tennis. This intersection could be called the liminal space where society and selves are transformed to either reinstate or breakdown the social order and their individual status. In other words, through rituals of discipline and embedded realms of liminality 14 experienced at the micro level (within individual players as well as within the junior tennis context), the social order of junior tennis becomes reinforced or broken down. The empowerment of both individual players and the s ocial system of tennis is dependent upon the manner in which technologies of power are employed and interpreted in their cultural context by the junior players themselves, their parents, and their coaches. As will be s hown in subsequent chapters, player s are disempowered when they, their coaches, and their parents approach practices and interactions with each other in ways that neglect the holistic well being of the player as well as the coach player parent triad Player s are empowered, though, when they, their parents, and their coaches apply constant, reflexive analysis to the ir daily practices. Most importantly, junior players can be empowered in one context while disempowered in the next, thus, experiencing a paradox of power. A s it is often difficult to discern between technologies of power and 14 This is explained in Chapter 3.
134 of self ( Markula 2003, Ortner 1995), it can be difficult to discern when sport practices are empowering or disempowering for youths. 15 Chapters 5 and 6 look at the paradoxes within the power approaches performe d by parents, coaches, and players with each other within the power molecule. These power approaches can be visualized along continuums of power for each the authority figure (parent/coach) and the subordinate figure (player). The power relations between t hese two entities show how these power roles can be transformed, reinforced, and abused causing paradoxical spaces of power within the parent player and coach player relationships 16 This research, then, answers Smith Maguire's 2002 call to study power in t he sport environment by using Foucault's concepts of governmentality the interaction between technologies of domination and technologies of self in ways that allow them to interact and respond to each other. The Power Molecule 15 It depends on the context, although some practices are generally considered disempowering by most junior tennis part icipants. 16 There is also a dynamic between parent and coach but there is no room to explain it in this project. However, it would complete the analysis of the ways in which power works in the power molecule.
135 W e need to be able to distinguish between power in the physical sense of energy embedded in substances and power in the social sense of the coordina tion and mobilization of feelings, thoughts, and actions towards ends...At the same time, if we are too stringent in this distinction, we lose track of underlying connection s, and miss something important (5). 17 17
137 Power Continuums 18 Queer theory encourages researchers to combine diverse subjectivities with multiple theoretical utilities, studying phenomenon such as leisure and sport in ways that challenge normative discursive ideologies and arouse political activism in an effort to eliminate injustice and create social change; a social change that can be galvanized t hrough the research efforts of lei sure and sport studies scholars (103). As a form o f identity (Queer), a system of thinking (queer theory), and a means of action (queering), queer subverts the privilege, entitlement, and status obtained through compulsive heterosexuality and questi ons how heteronormative behaviors enacted by both heteros exuals and homosexuals function to maintain het erosexuality's dominance (102). 18 Theberge 1998 applies a continuum approach to gender in women's ice hockey.
138 In conjunction with Foucault's 1983 conceptualizations of power relations in social contexts, leisure and sport studies, scholars might use queer theory to extend our examination of leisure and sport constraints to explore how power relations reflect issues of negotiation (control and evadin g control) in leisure and sport (103). 19 19
139 20 20 Chapters 5 and 6 go into more detail.
140 Coddling When coaches and parents use permissive approaches with their players/kids, they favor the individual player's needs and desires over the needs of the family, team, or group. Sometimes, coaches and parents coddle their players to this extreme with false praise, encouragement of arrogance, avoidance of accountability, and may even teach them to cheat. Coddl ing approaches often involve a parent's or coach's excessive dependence on their player's tennis performance for their own identity. Players may feel they are above the rules of the coach/parent, the team or training environment, and, perhaps, of junior te nnis rules. These approaches tend to foster an excessive amount of dependence in players upon coaches and parents to take care of players' responsibilities and to bolster their self esteem and sense of superiority. Example s of coddling approaches, accordi ng to players in my research, are when parents do their children's homework for them, buy them the latest equipment, or carry their bags for them at tournaments. By giving too much power to the players these coaches and parents often disempower their pla yers in the long run with a sense of entitlement (or a sense that they can treat people poorly or have poor work ethic without consequence), learned deceptiveness, anarchy, and social deviance 21 S ome players respond to th eir parents' suggestions with yell ing, cursing, complaining, and blame. In response to this, their parents often stay silent or try to correct th eir own behavior in order to avoid upset ting their chil d further. Coakley 2006a ethic through ig noring or rejecting norms of the sport ethic, such as abiding by the 21
141 social system (159). Thus, extreme permissiveness of players' actions and attitudes by coaches an d adults can lead to anarchy within the power molecule and eventual disempowerment for the player's overall and long term well being. Nurturing Parents and coaches who use nurturing approaches may be using approaches similar to coddling approaches and al low their player to lead the decision making and rely on self motivation. But parents and coaches in this case do not take care of the player's responsibilities, and they are less dependent on their player's tennis for their identity. Parents and coaches a approaches as being empowering for players as well as parents and coaches. For instance, some parents say that they wish their children were not so driven with their eekends. These parents support their children to pursue their goals, though, allowing their children to dictate the family's schedule. 22 T his approach is very similar to collaborative approaches except that players guide the parents and coaches. This is often the case as players get older and are seen as more capable to take on responsibilities for themselves as parents and coaches adjust th eir approaches from coddling or authoritative behaviors to approach a more collaborative dynamic. On the other hand, the nurturing approach can easily become an extreme coddling approach when parents and coaches are reluctant to put restrictions on players behaviors and attitudes or when players are not reflexive about the support 22 This has ramifications for siblings which will be discussed in Chapter 8.
142 their parents and coaches provide. If used in the direction of the collaborative middle, Collaborative At the middle of this continuum are collaborative coaching and parenting approaches where coaches/parents acknowledge that their job is to train their players with independence and enough self esteem to eventually be their own coaches on the court during comp etition, and in life. Coaches and parents that use these approaches nurture players with confidence and respect for their authority through strict but fair guidelines and behaviors without intimidation or threats. By sharing power with players, they mainta in respect, not by dominating or coddling them, but by demanding of them their best effort. They also communicate with them about tennis related decisions as well as about their lives outside of tennis and prioritize the well being of their players over ju st their performance or their own reputations. They equally take into account the players' needs outside of tennis as well as inside, and they recognize a balance between the well being of the group and coach, or the family and parent, with the well being of the individual player. This dynamic promotes a sense of democracy and team effort within the power molecule as the coach and parent include the player in the decision making about their future goals and the best way to attain them. A good example of c ollaborative approaches is when coaches ask their players for their constant feedback about goals and training techniques. This helps ascertain ch made a point to ask in his lessons how his students felt about the drills they were doing or how they interpreted it during drills and water breaks: Coach : show us
143 these last few bal ls how low you can g how do you feel with that? Player: Good. Coach : You feel like you have more control with that? Player: Yeah. Coach : Is it hard to remem ber what you need to do? Player : Sometimes. Coach : Are you really tired? Pla yer: No. Coach : mo re Doing okay? P layer : Yeah. Coach : Feeling alright? Tell me your thoughts. [Walk back to water jugs again.] pretty good at it but not perfect [smiles]. Player : d I think in general when my backhand goes in, then my whole game fits together. Taking into account the player's perspective and emotional/physical states on a daily basis helps prevent injury and burnout in junior players. This approach would correspond to what Coakley 2006 a and long term well being. Because the traditional form of coaching often involves coaches demanding players to perform tasks in order to succeed, without asking them to contribute to the decision making, any approach moving toward this collaborative ideal could be seen as a technology of self.
144 23 23 Training regimens that harm players physically could be considered an indirect form of physical abuse. Direct forms of physical abuse, such as punishing players by hitting them or threatening to, starts to bleed into another continuum of violence.
145 24 25 ) power continuum 24 25 Power does not equal violence; power is influential, but inflicting or threatening bodily harm is violence (not power) (Smith Maguire 2002:295). The far right of the continuum can be considered to bleed into an abuse continu um.
147 26 26 to time of writing that shed light on this dynamic.
150 27 Relational Power Grid 27
151 Foucauldian approach to power within the power molecule helps me see how power can be laid alo ng these continuums of approaches in a relational power grid (Figure 4 4 ): This grid portrays how more overall empowerment (of the player, the parent, the coach, and the overall dynamic among them) results when both authority figure (i.e. coach or parent ) and subordinate figure (junior player) work together toward a collaborative dynamic within the zone of optimal empowerment. More disempowerment results at the extremes where power is imbalanced. The lines connecting certain power approaches with others i n the grid are some of the dynamics that can be seen in junior tennis and have been discussed above. But there are many dynamics between authority figures (coach or parent) 28 and subordinate figures (player) that occur within the relational power grid depen ding on contextual factors (i.e. individual personalities, culture, time, family dynamic, level of ability). This grid is not meant to predict behaviors within the power molecule as always having these combinations. It is only meant to conceptualize power as contextually contingent and the ways in which power dynamics are formed, reproduced, and challenged. Approaches moving along the continuum 28 Parents and coaches also have their own power dynamics bet ween them which influences the power molecule's relational power. But for this dissertation, I focus on those dynamics that directly involve the junior player as this is a child centered project. Future research should include all three dynamics for a more complete picture of how power circulates through all three participants of the power molecule.
152 sometimes, even, involve a range of these approaches within one dynamic. I use it to show how parents/coaches and dynamic if they each use the same approach with the other. But if one uses a different A shifting dynamic may move towards a collaborative power relation (ideally) if an individual in a power dynamic shifts her approach to make the dynamic move toward the collaborative center. An example would be if a player used resistant disobedience instead of submissive obedience to transgress the oppressive power of a coach. Tha t would be considered a technology of the self, attempting to move the dynamic to the zone of empowerment. On the other hand, if a player continues to use submissive obedience, it can move the dynamic more towards the abusive extreme. Another example of th is would be if a coach used more abuse to counteract this player's move to a resistant disobedience approach. E 29 29 Coakley 2006a and Hughes and Coakley 1991 discuss deviance at the extremes of conformity (underconformity and overconformity) to sport ethic.
153 This model is also meant to show how the extremes might be performed within a power relation between parent/coach and player. For instance, at one ex treme, a coach or parent's oppressive/abusive power generates and is perpetuated by a player's submissive obedience. On the other extreme, a coach's or parent's permissive/coddling approach generates and is perpetuated by a player's entitlement. 30 30 Coakley 2006a us continuum of deviance in sports at the extremes of these continuums. Along the lines of
154 s power increases for one individual, freedom of choice decreases for the other in a dyad power relationship. P 31 Summary onceptualizing power with a relational power grid of power continuums within power molecules of coaches, players, and parents shows that power is always shifting as individuals use different power approaches with each other. Power continuums help to visualize how it can be shifted from one extreme to the other along a variety of approaches between them depending upon the context This complicates the binary approaches are used by coaches, parents, and players with each other in a specific context. As these approaches become repeated daily and over time, dynamics among them become normalized as the habitus of the power molecule, which as Bourdieu 1990 said is difficult to transform. But these dynamics can be transformed through the agency of one individual to shift their power approach. When this ha ppens, it causes a shift in the approach of others and an eventual shift in the dynamic. R are used to constrain choices of individuals at the coddling or abusive extremes of these 31 In a triad, such as the power molec ule, the third member outside the dyad usually joins one side or serves as mediator between the two. For instance, if a parent yells at his child for losing a match or not trying hard enough, the coach will serve as mediator by talking to each the parent a nd child separately about how to handle the other. If the coach does not do this, he or she may simply join the side of the parent or the child. The coach may decide to ignore the situation, but this is not likely as it will affect his relationship with th em both if they do not say something to at least one of them. This dynamic will be elaborated upon in future writings.
155 c ontinuums. Technologies of the self are used to shift power relations along the continuum towards the empowering collaborative middle, or zone of optimal empowerment. Distinguishing power approaches as technologies of domination, coping strategies, or tech nologies of the self depends upon the context of the power relation between authority figures (coach/parent) and subordinate figures (junior player) as well as the perspective of the individual doing the distinguishing. 32 32 An example of context is the direction that approaches takes along the continuum.
156 33 33 6a refers to underconformity or overconformity to sport ethic (159).
157 Figure 4 1. The p ower m olecule
158 Figure 4 2. Authority (coach/parent) power continuum
159 Figure 4 3. Subordinate (player) power continuum
160 Figure 4 4. Relational power grid
161 CHAPTER 5 PLAYER PARENT DYNAMICS In this chapter I build up on Chapter s 3 and 4 to show how the liminal identities of as they use power approaches with one another along the ir power continuums I elaborate upon my discussion of relational power to focus on the power dynamics between parent and player 1 First, I introduce the power approaches that players and parents use with each other Then I discuss t he pa radoxical spaces of the player parent dynamic, using examples from interviews and observations. Parent a nd Player Power Approaches 2 1 Several large studies have focused on junior tennis parents (Gould et al. 2005, Gould et al. 2006, Gould et al. 2008). 2 Holt et al. 2008 provides a similar continuum of parental verb al reactions in youth
162 3 3
163 Nurturing to Coddling Dynamics
164 4 I would really sort of channel my an ger toward my mom when she was watching m e play tournaments. I would yell at her on the court l ike it was her fault...I regret ever, like, punishing her. Collaborative Dynamics 4
165 I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in thos e tournaments. The good thing about my mom and dad is that after a match, whe ther I won or lost, they would always treat me the same. I h my god, you played so well and asn't the end of the world and major depression. It was always an even ke el and that made me normal and stable, where the other kids were so high if the y won and if they lost, it was depression time. So that was the main thing for me, and why I stayed out there for so long, because I had that stability, and I woul d say that the majority of the kids did not have that. Just talk about working through things, what I was working on, when I would figure things out, even if it was as simple as something like a little thing I and talk about. And when I was frustrated trying to get somewhere, my mom was always so positive and she could know when I was frustrated. I what to do.
166 Parents also realize there is a need to balance power approaches between the coach and parent. One often takes an authoritative approach while the other counterbalances with a nurturing approach in order to empower the mother, Nina, explains: If t he coach is being strict, the parent has to be the nice guy by the court. g six hours a day, thing off the court if they One of the most important aspects of the collaborative approach was an avoidance of prioritizing results, as player Terri notes about her father when she was competing : [You have to] be supportive during a loss, too. You have to be there for your child. My dad would always tell me, he was ha ppy sometimes when I did lose. I know that's weird, but he'd say that sometimes y ou learn more from a loss than from a win. I'm not saying he was happy, but he'd tur n it into a lesson and say I'd have so many more matches to play that this one won 't even be significant, so don't worry about it.
167 Authoritative t o Abusive Dynamics
168 5 Player responses Resistant disobedience is sometimes used by players when the parent displays an authoritative to abusive approach. Players using this approach are direct with their parents about how they feel when their parents are becoming overly involved in their tennis (i.e. coaching them d uring their matches, interrupting their coach during practice, making suggestions about their tennis). One player politely but succinctly put his mother in her place when she continu es to tell him to move his feet. He responded with a smile, doing all the work here. I wonder h Sometimes, the resistance is not so polite and comes in the form of yelling as a coach and former player (Linda) describes : 5 This is discussed later in the chapter.
169 I used to yell at my that, but I only had yelled at my mom to be quiet, stop this stuff or whatever... My mom wasn't my coach, so that was a whole other issue, because she was trying to coach me concentrate anymore and making excuses is his way of trying to take power. He says he hates coming to net and is not comfortable there at all. serious. His joking is a way to take back power. ( April 20, 2011 Sarasota, FL) [My player] had so much pressure on her shoulders and guess who she let it out on? Me I was the punching bag. Her dad wanted to do it, and I was the punching bag, and I'm suppose d to be the coach. So that was a very awkward situation and didn't help the dynamic at all
170 6 My father was one of the worst of the worst. My relationship with my father is the worst. I haven't spoken to him since I was 18. He never cared for me. He made that very clear growing up...He had mental stability issues. I had to get a restraining order because he has the tendency to become very violent...Once I got old enough, I took action on my own....I think he would have been like that anyway, but tennis provided the outlet for that to come out more f requently. 6
171 tired, th anymore, not in our f say that your parent is not a good parent. We are b rought into this world to love our parents, and that is the role that most parent s abuse. You can get away with a lot more towards your kids than you can with any body else. I see the way some parents talk to their children t talk to your worst enemy the thing.
172 When I was twelve I wasn' t really playing for mysel f. I was just kind of playing because I was good at it. Other people were telling me to play... It was a lot of pressure from outside sources, I didn't real ly care that much about it. But it was all about winning. It was just ou have to win! after I quit, and came back, it was more for me, because I like to play Paradoxical Spaces of Player Parent Dynamics Paradoxica l Spaces of Choice Junior tennis requires players and parents to make many decisions. Children are usually introduced to tennis by their parents, but once players have been playing for a while, decision making about which goals to make and how to pursue t hose goals becomes a daily process. The long term goals are taken into account when making daily decisions about where to train, with whom to train, which tournaments to play, which type of game to develop, and many more decisions. The manner in which the
173 decision making process is approached depends upon the power approaches used by players and their parents. Introduction to tennis something I got pushed into...I play ed an hour a day from age four to seven My favorite part of that spending that time with my Dad
174 I remember always being near the tennis courts because that was what my dad did it was his profession so it was going to see him at the court and bein g around it. I would say the first time I picked up a racquet, I was probably three. I got my first formal lesson at three from my dad. I played because I loved it My parents exposed me to tennis, and then it was up to me to decide if I wanted to play My dad played and was aybe my daughters will want to play tennis, hanging out with us and seeing something that's totally different from his day job. So after work, we'd go play tennis with him... And my sisters were three and six years older, so I just wanted to hang out with them and be with them, and it just started becoming this family activity after school I remember when we first took her to [a coach]...as parents, we saw this e were so thrilled. They were bred. We wanted two tennis players and we both had the genes and hand eye c oordination. We always hung a ball up and they slapped at the ball in their crib. And when they sat in their little chairs on the tennis court all day, we always had one hanging down from the awning. So they would just slap it with their hands... We were o n the tennis court all day so
175 they sat in their playpens from when they were born, from a few weeks old on, so they always had tons of tennis balls in the play pen, and they just, it was the first thing they ever threw, the first thing they picked up. or 7 year old. It was reall y bad....When you're young you don't know any different. You don't know that you're not happy. I remember being 7, 8, 9 d be like [to I don't even know that when I turned pro I even enjoyed it then. I am a really driven individual and I wanted to succeed and that was the environment I was t hrown in Goal setting
176 7 sad thing is there are a limited number of sports for girls that offer a career me lear n to be well rounded pretty early. But I want them to have a passion The stresses of being a female athlete (discussed in Chapter 8) are paired with the benefits of having more opportunities than male play ers to earn college scholarships. 7 Another scenario is the parent who does not make goals for their players and lets them play for fun. But at the competitive levels, this is not a common occurrence.
177 The parent below Ted, describes how he used an authoritative approach to establish goals for his children when they were younger and moves toward a collaborative approach by transferring power to them as they get older. I n his interview, he elaborated on this parenting philosophy and explained that he helps set high goals for his children so that they will have higher outcomes: I always felt that it was better to shoot high and score a little short of a high goal than exce ed in a That was always my philosophy, just to have a high goal. And then even if you shoot to be top 10 and you come in 15 it's he goal is to gradually transfer that power away. My transfer of authority from the parent to the chil d as they mature and grow up. You know, [it's] pretty easy to just let the kid, [if he] doesn't want to do metimes you 15, if they're not showing the desire to do it themselves, then I think you just have to let it go. [With] competitive tennis, y to go if you have high goals. To go to college, pro. Just to play recreation, happy to play le different level than turning into the competition level
178 hing your child to get them over a hump season, then at least the kids could be in other sports and enjoy it. I swam hy athletic ability, bu t my parents never gave me the choice. As soon as I had interest in playing something else, my parents would pull me out. Other sports teach kids other skills. Being able to play sports without pressure is to release [pressure]. I loved the challenge of it. I loved hearing the ball come off the strings of my racquet when I hit it well. I loved the challenge of just trying to get 100 balls over the net. I set goals for myself each time go out. I'd start out at 50, then I'd go to 75, then I'd want 10 0 balls over the net. I just loved to see my improvement over time. That's what I
179 important for when the time comes that he recognizes fun wi th it anymore or that it may not happen. And I wish that when he important for a young kid to rec ognize the moment where he would need to find any more the strength to build his [identity from tennis]. This is my worry. Maybe I should just go with the flow and see what will happen, but I really wish I would recognize this and give him good advice tha t he would not be so disappointed when the time comes because this is the problem with the parents
180 this is their dream, then t hey are in trouble. Paradoxical Spaces o f Supporting Dreams unconditionally. You have to take risks. The greatest players feel like they can walk on the court with no fear. And to be able to achieve that no fear [mentality] is that you got to come from a place in something else Nic from me, b ut I like it
181 more because th Even when they practice with the coach, and they want to show their best, Competition, that it drives them. Because you h ave to have energy and something that drives you, and this is the competition, because there are so there? So many good players... Whatever the thing you want will involve hard work. You have to work hard even nine when he started, and since then, I was driving him all the time every single day. Every single day. And on the weekends, This is the best stuff that you have in your life. moral values and good academic knowledge and experience and everything. And then the saddest thing to be ol kid to do with time to help. How many times you are tired and sick and you have a a book. I can read. If I want to watch, here is my place. This is my child. I have because my neighbor next door said to me once, I was driving Nick [to I can support him.
183 We try to microwave our talent instead of nurture take talent and cook it on the back burner, turn up the heat, turn down the heat, add spices, and nurture it. But now people try to microwave it. Parents fa il, so very rarely do we the best cultures challenge kids I remember mul plan on it Former player Rita reiterates this s entiment:
184 flip side is that some of these kids are so egocentric and nasty. I know, for me, if I won a t ournament, my parents would give me anything. If I lost, they Tennis is bad for life. [Players] a re insecure and [entitled]. They think that they should be abl e to do what they want because they were really good at this one thing. They think that everyone should be at their beckon call. And they treat people like shit. They are very egocentric. I think sports bring it s such an individual sport. You children. Those are not skills that you want someone to have if you want them to have a successful life, period. This lack of skill development for later in life at the entitled extremes is an example of how tennis can become a technology of domination. If tennis does not provide players skills that can be transferrab le to their lives outside and after means th at tennis training may distract children from developing life skills instead of helping them develop those skills.
185 In general, beca use of these power struggles, the time commitments, and the sacrifices their families make, parents often experience burnout. Some mothers started welling up with tears while they talked to me about their schedules, exhaustion for motions and schedules, the effect of junior tennis on their family dynamic, and frustrations with junior tennis, in general. Others joked about how wonderful it would be to stay home on the weekends. Paradoxical Spaces of Communication Communicati on i s c ited as one of the most important factors in making the relationship work between many paren ts and players. In other cases, some players fin d it oppressive or smot hering when their parents want them to communicate constantly about tennis and their feelings about tennis. Players often say that they do not like it when their parents start lecturing them about the match the moment they come off the court. Players say they need As Chap ter 3 explains, p layers are seen as experiencing liminal phases in their matches T he post liminal phase often requires a time of separation before they reincorporate into the junior tennis community off the court. Coaches like Linda, also advise parents like the dinner table or wherever they relax: It's important for the child to have a break from tennis when they get home. They have to hav e a safe place. I alwa ys had that w ith my students I told them, especially when I 'm sharing a room with my players, that you need to fe el like you have a safe place. So when we're in the hotel room, we don't talk about tennis unless we talk a quick strategy or game plan or you want to ask me a question real quick, most of the tennis, hopefully 90 to 99 percent, is outside of the hotel room. Because they ne ed to have that break as well. So that' s where burnout comes out, too. When they're constantly
186 b ombarded with information. I think that' s a big thing for par ents to recognize. Parent coach and player should come together. When the player is young, three needs to be involved [in parent needs to know what t he coach is working on with the player I think if you have an open communication with your child and you're really asking them how they feel, it gives you a better i dea of what they want to do, because a lot of parents, they don't ask and they just assume that the kid wants to play if they don't. They don't communicate about how they're feeling and it is a lot of pressure...If you don't talk to your kids, you're just not going to know what they're feeling
187 Paradoxical Spaces o f Involvement [Parents] concentrate way too much on results instead of the process y biggest advice to all parents is twofold : it needs to be about the kid, not o. So many adults are little kids in big costumes anyway. So, I mean, if you literally judge them on something they have control ov T they want your critic ut you have to judge them in life on things they have control over. The result of the tennis match they putting in the effort, preparing right, making sure you eat.
188 ont of Gary that he hit about forty balls in the net during his match this weekend. When I asked Gary if he noticed that in the mat I asked Gary if he did the same thing the whole match, but his dad answered for atch! Right to the last point!... I think we identified that the second he gets tight, where does it go? Bang, ( March 10, 2011 Sarasota, FL) Exploitative tendencies
189 I think that because we have a son who is on the pro track we believe he this guy is un freaking believable. H [in the state] world, for mechanics. He is one of the few that catches the ball early. He Most of the kids wait for the ball, but at the highest level you can forget about that. You know 8 Our goal is top 95 percentile both academically and athletically. Well the goal is 99%, but if we fall short and get to 95%, we can live with that. Okay. 8 This is discus sed in Chapter 4.
190 what I mean? That takes constant monitoring with objective te sting, you know, it takes a lot of things. O ur idea of all of it is that they learn life skills...People have poor moral codes. Most people, they let their kids go out unsupervised. [for instance] do I know if my daughter has had sex or not? Of course I know. I have around at the mall at age 14 with a bunch of iers to all that, but generally speaking childhood/teenage] stuff They used it as a form of parenting. Instead of s with them 24/7 all the time, seven just depend on home and the rest of
191 being taking breaks to pick up balls, and getting drinks. We hydrate before we go on the court, and I pick up balls on the court. nna pick up balls. through your child and you're trying to play through your old dreams. Or things you just wish you had. As parents learn more about tennis and travel to all of the tournaments with their child, they often come to feel they have earned the right to coach t heir players and help guide them in the training process and the match analysis. While parents invest an inordinate amount of time, emotion, and money into their worth on the In this sense, parents might be seen as liminal agents along with their children. They may feel that they are transitioning in certain ways which are dependent upon the performance and status of their child. As their children embod y
192 their tennis identities, so do the parents. A former player Bonnie, acknowledges that her mot her wa s overly involved in her tennis and is the same way with her little sisters building her identity on her daughter s : to change. She gets so nervous and all worked e that, if all of them are tionally. To me, a downside is you put your self put pressure on, but, e ven as parents, your whole self worth is wrapped up in a win or a loss, which is so ridiculous. And the trav el, and look, we saw terms of friends and experiences that I would have never had without tennis.
193 It was a burden to support my family since age 14. But at the same time, I deal happens in a lot of families where the player ends up being successful. So There ar e crazy abusive parents because they're just crazy and abusive, and the reason behind it could be that they're living their childhood dream or their dream for their child or as an adult that they're going to be the parent of a successful tennis player. But then there's also that this child needs to be successful so they can bring us out of this situation, which I think are two different things. The former you might find more in the US than the latter, you might find in my fellow friends of Bosnia, Croatia or Russia. Or in the academies down in Florida
194 I don't know what happened, she was just mentally not there. So her father took that as a sign that he had to start taking charge. S o he started taking charge of coaching, and he told me what he thought she should be working on. When we went to tournaments, we would travel together with the father, when you're eating breakfast in the morning, I want you to visualize that the egg is your opponent's head, and I want you to fucking rip that head off I want you to eat the head... And I didn't know what to say. I was like, what am I hearing, is this a movie? Is this for real? And I don't like swearing at all, but I have to repeat it word for word to get the facts in. And she's looking at him like, yeah, ok. She had so much respect for her father, she would do anything for him, but in my opinion, that is not the way to coach her. That girl had so much pr essure on her shoulders... I don't know what you want to call it the former athlete father?... The problem is that he had a goal for his daughter, and she didn't...So it was his dream maybe, or his motivation for his daughter. A mother was say her son ather to derogatory, and They almost got in a fight over it. I was sitting right there. One of the other ality o He said, ( Oct. 9, 2010 Orlando, FL)
195 [My dad] was a soccer player and had dreams of playing professionally, and it never came true for him. After that he just wanted to live a lifestyle of an athlete, so h e put me in tenn is. When I was five that was about the time Capriati st arted to do well when she was fourteen and made that huge splash on tour and she was making all this money. He wanted me to support him by the time I was fourteen so that he could quit working and tra vel the world with me ]. He wanted to play professionally when I was born, that was his goal 9 9 Adie et al. 2010 looks at parent coaches in soccer and finds that most of their participants had positive experiences with their parents as coaches of their team, but it depends on the dynamic between parent and child.
197 Ana and her mother are in a fight on the court. Her mother used to be a tennis player an side while her coach is just standing there feeding balls. H er mother is constantly shouting another player at the club if she thought Ana enjoye d playing tennis and, ( Feb. 3, 2011 Sarasota, FL) These kids are doing extraordinary things, tr ying to do even more extraordinary things by winning, but they are already doing extraordinary things by putting the work in, and they don't need the parent to be barking Another former top player and coach, Mac, emphasizes that these parents often have the best of intentions: They are all great dads. Unfortunately, those dads want to become a tennis coaches them. They want probably not just most of the money but more of intere looks at them as dad, not as tennis coach.
198 But I think for [my brother who is still in tennis], it's different...He's be en very up clo se and personal with [my brother 's] tennis. I think for [my brother], it's been alright, but I don't think my dad understands that the coach should have the say. I think my dad sometimes tries to take it into his own hands...Especially in th e role of a parent, there shouldn't be a criticism. I think th at's what you have a coach for. A coach is going to tell you what you need to work on. A parent should tell you what to do about it. And you're paying a coach, you're paying him to coach your kid. So why tell him to do it? [My mom is] very non existent in the tennis environment. And in that case, it's good, because she understands what a coach is. [My brother] knows better than her about tennis, and she knows that. She definitely lets [my brother] do what he thinks is right. I think there needs to be a medium point between my mom and my dad for a perfect tennis parent... If [my brother] wants to drop shot every single shot, my mom would be fine with it because she truly thinks that whatever he wants to do is the perfect thing to do. But I think that when m [He's] drop shotting to keep doing i t, but when my dad says it, he's scared. So he won't do it ever. Or he'll get tentative when he does it and be scared to do it. He'll hit it short or something.
199 So, my Dad stopped speaking to then, it was my choice to play. For the first time in my life, I was really putting the focus and everything in my life into my career...He would still g et upset if I lost, though, even when I got a new coach. But if I had done really well on the tour, we probably never would have mended because he wanted to take responsibility for my success. impossible to stay emotionally detached. You would yell at your own kid way more than you would yell at anyone else. The level o f comfort is too great there. [T hey] pussy a new ass. He recognized it. [A nother coach parent I know] is brilliant too. He has a seven year old and a nine year to cross that line. To prevent themselves from becoming overly emotional and involved with the ir child's tennis, many parents learn to keep a distance by either dropping their children off at practices, sitting further away from the court during their matches, and trading off with spouses to travel to tournaments. One player I interviewed said that he had to tell his dad not to travel with him to tournaments anymore because he felt like his wins or losses his f ather did not go he got to the finals while his father spent the weekend wi th friends doing activities he enjoyed doing. This player told me he felt so much better that his dad was enjoying himself rather than watching him play because he did n o t like the fact that he had that
200 ank, w ho has been a coach for forty years, thinks this is a better solution than having the USTA get involved in parent child abuse: against parents yelling at their kids, unless they think parents s hould be even be allowed at tournaments. They should drop need to figure out how to solve problems for themselves. Parents are over the top. Parents should not get over involved with other can do is before the match, go off, have them I the corner, stay away from everyone, and then get out of there as quick as possible because the hanging around and getting involved in all the drama is just ridiculous. But I through the kids. Of course you have to support your kid. But you have to e line with everything in You need to help them and be rational about things. My dad was rational he was less involved so he could stay cal m. But my mom, absolutely not. She was in your face with everyone. Screaming at the court, not in reality anymore. In her own little world.
201 10 [The crazy parents] are the parents that are trying to play the matches for how a mom would go watch a k id at a high school basketball game. She sits in the stands, maybe with some other moms, they talked and watched hen something , honey. T hat was Parents should clap for their kids, but I don't thin k they should scream at their kids' opponent, or something. And I don't think they should coach. I just think they should clap and say good shot. 10 Knight et al. 201 0 study of junior tennis players' preferences for parental behaviors show that players prefer parents to give practical advice without being too technical, respect tennis etiquette, and to match their nonverbal behaviors with supportive comments.
202 They have to learn how to deal interfering um, parents need to stay out and just clap for good shots and let the kids play. Just leave them alone and play. Parents now are teaching [kids] how to change scores and it s just out of control. I just think the parents should support and they should be motivating, and always enc like junior final dest ination. Everybody gets go plugg ed in with all this stuff, and I know you have to be serious, engaged and stuff, but what matters is, m I gonna tur n pro, am I going to college? everybody matures differently. Ever long slow and painful journey. Some coaches and academies do not want parents anywhere near the practice c ourt. Coaches say that this helps students feel less pressure from their parents and of independence on the court. One academy even has a sign posted on the fence that
203 only coaches and players are allowed past the gate. However, if parents stayed away completely, t hey would not be able to ass ess whether their child was being mistreated or not by their coaches. Parents have to walk this line between being protective and o ver protective, involved and over involved. They are sensitive to the fact that they need to give their children space with the coach, but they are also sensitive to other people telling th em to stay away. Below, mother Tina makes a point to say that she d oes no t dvantage of or mistreated either: school work with her but there are times like this morning where I will sit out there and watch. I interact with them. She's my kid. I do want to know wh at is going on... Abusive dynamics 11 My dad was very strict. I had to go through a lot of therap y to be okay with it children...My dad was so nasty to me, but tennis gave me the opportunity to have some great coaches that were my support. They were my saviors. They were more m entors to me than my parents were...I used to get 11 Abusive dynamics also occur between parents of opponents at tournaments (i.e. Nack and Munson 2000), parents of the same child, and parents and other people's children.
204 effort in practice. And it was humiliation too. And because my dad was a having a good day at practice in front of everyone at the club. I ran off the dad hitting me. To think that she sees the scenario and I need to apologize us...we bonded, when I became a parent and realized tha t I wanted more for my children, and part of that meant that I was going to be a better parent, a more aware parent. But she does not view the whole experience as negative. Even though he was negative most of the time, he also gave h er confidence and self highlights the paradoxes involved in abusive parenting approaches and the ways in which technologies of domination and technologies of the self are often intertwined : What a coach can get away with is more than what a parent can get away with. What a parent says to us really hits the core faster than what a coach can say to us. But no one came close to hurting me more than what my dad had already said to me...[But] when I look back on my tennis and everything, I think I have an ov erall happy life...And I realized that my dad do that for me. I remember the things he would teach me while we were on the road together like reading a map. Things like that th at he taught me was part of the attention he gave me and part of the love that he gave me. Even though there was negative, I also felt like there were positives. My dad gave me a lot of confidence and self esteem through tennis too. And that is something, tougher. Like [in my career], I would endure verbal abuse I would feel like I love to pass on those aspects without i t having to be through something. I just would love to be able to pass on the parent child relationship, not the parent child But another former player Andrea, who played at the Grand Slam level says that while helpe it debilitated her overall: I think I could have done much better. Truth be told, he did make me pretty tough, but at the end of the day I was battling so many issues and so many problems due to his treatment of me. It held a lot of my po tential back. I could never let go of it. The only time I could play well was when I rid myself of those thoughts. But that rarely happened. I wasn't able to do that much of
205 the time. So I was really a tormented player much of the time for a long time. For crap. So, no, it definitely did not help me. I think it's worth it, because I think I'm still very much in denial of the fact that it was at all an abusive relationship. My therapist would agree with me, which is why I still find myself making excuses as to why we would sit on our heels for an hour and a half or two hours getting lectured over and over again about why that match was bad. But to me, it's just part of [our] culture...yeah. I think they were much like many immigrant paren ts, they part of the package of the way you're supposed to be. Your parents come all this way to see this new successful future, and it's all up to you if you ach ieve that. There was a lot of y I heard that they fi ght a lot now on the tour, and I don't think that he's trave ling with her player, her mom would hit her and yell at her on the court, like really hit her and hit balls at her and yell at her.
206 face it. Even her standard, which was softened by being a n A merican, would be considered a little bit soft compared to her homeland. We could also make the point that America is at the middle of the pack and heading down the pack because we need a few more tiger moms around. You know we need moms to be moms and parents not be best friends. A lot of parent.... I believe that less than 50 years ago in America, it was more like their [ Asian We could say certainly that [our parenting is] destroying the family. the Russians, the way they push their kids, is abusive. But they could argue from the other The bottom line for me is that at the end of the day, it has to be about more than just tennis. If by pushing them, agree to that brainer. So going back to these kids, their parents are yelling and screaming and hitting them, it's to get them to a better circumstances in their life or improve in their sport because their parent sees it as a great thing, fin ancial stability, to be a world famous tennis player, you have to sort of sacrifice to be the best, but what other baggage does that b ring if you actually achieve it? There are definitely some mental problems if you get beaten and hit and yelled at your wh ole life, yo u can't be happy.
207 You gotta stand at the net and have tee nagers and adults hit as hard as they can, and you gotta be willing. If you want your kids to make it on the pro tour, and they got a chance, and if it breaks your nose, you know what? d always ready. My oldest one, I remember one time, she had the wind knocked out of her by a high school boy. She was 8 years old. She just jumped right up and went at it again. And she never not had her racquet up. She was always ready and never got her face broke. T he kids came up with hard as they can at their face, and see if they can break their nose. But if ball at 170 miles an hou recreational high school level. 12 12 This is elaborated upon in Chapter 8.
208 Police had to break up a fist fight between two parents at a 10 and under tournament at [a local club] a few weeks ago...Junior tennis is like a boxing match with your parents on the sideline, watching, screaming, cheering you on one, head to O bviously I think my players are good, they've really become awesome, but as far as a Sharipova or a Nadal or Fede rer like and exception, I haven't had that, and I don't think I want to be a part of that. It's so hard because I do want to coach and I want to he lp players, but I feel like if I don't want to do it if it comes to that. Maybe if I get in that situation ever, I 'll change my mind, if that player's really that good, we can talk about it or work things out or I could be t he mediator or the diploma t....I f you come across a player who's going to be number one and the parent is going to be really tough on them, maybe there's a way you can negotiate, you just have to find a way to tell them you have to do whatever it takes for a player to win and be su ccessful player requires something else. Some players feed off negativity, some feed of positives... My personal approach is positive but with discipline. So you have to have discipline, and if they don't, then they need to be punished but it does n't have to be a beating or screaming. It can be take away t ennis or take away privileges. T ake away a tournamen t and see how they react. But I don't like that other stuff . research to sport, even though some behavio rs would be deemed abusive by outsiders, athletes who push too far past the pain boundary may think they are doing what is best for themselves and parents may think they are doi ng what is best for their child. Former players who were a bused by their father s discuss how the abuse never occurred at tournaments where the USTA
209 may have been able to do something 13 But even if it had or they had told someone, they felt that no one would have believed them (what many victims of abuse feel, according to Brackenridg e 2001) Rita describes how conflicted she felt about telling : My dad never did anything at tournaments. But the whole car ride home something to h charming with people at tournaments and he would talk to people. That was the one thing about my parents. People would always comment about how wonderful and charming and how lovely they were. And I felt like I saw a different side of them. But it was like, who was going to believe me. Or people would just turn a blind eye. Former player Andrea explains how telling can often make things worse for the child at home: It would be nice [if USTA got more involved in abusive parenting situations], but at the end of the day, what can they do. They have helped, at times, when I needed it. But, it's such a delicate matter. They can't do a whole lot....the player has to do something first. They are wonderful, t hey truly are. But what's anyone gonna do about it...Their hands are tied. But truly what are they gonna do ? ...It has to be all or nothing...If you do something, and it's a very bad situation, it's gonna get worse because the person is gonna take it out on the victim....unles s you can find a way to get the child out of that situation completely. But the child is often too young to know what to do. If you take them out of the situation, they're gonna be bereft practically see him beating her, hitting her, and smacking her. He would humiliate that child in the middle of a match. He would say something to he has freedom away from him, when 13
210 wants to interfere from the side and he would pass remarks, and when she ignored him, he would say some thing to insult her to get her attention. I was there one day. He said so o you want to go faulting twice, and he was shouting this. Can you imagine how embarrassing that is for her? She gave up tennis. And former player Terri describes some incidents she saw while on tour: I saw abuse, I saw firsthand a girl that I played in juniors with, and after she lost, her father took her behind the bushes and slapped her. Another girl's mother took her hair and pulled it and screamed at her, and at that point, I realized how lucky I was to have normal tennis parents and normal parents in general, becau se it's much needed in the sport, because it's very difficult. It's very stressful for the kids, especially that young. This should be fun, but it's already becoming a job and pressure when you involve that sort of situation Parents are absolutely crazy because girls wanna go pro and the pressure comes from the parents. Parents would be screaming and cursing at their kids in a different language across the court, making them cry and s tuff, hiding in b ushes to coach or scold them... T he van came flying into the parking lot, the kid was waiting to take that, the dad got the car, walked over to the kid and literally dro pkicked him, picked him up, chuck them into the van, and then just flew out of the parking lot. probably like 12 or something. It was pretty disgusting.... it was at a local tournament.
211 Hope: [ It's] kind of, like, sad, because they should jus t let the kids play. Like, their parents like right on the fence and screaming at them and stuff. There was a girl at na tionals and her dad got really pissed off at her, and he took her out to the parking lot and me and my frien d went out to the car and I was standing there with her because he i s, like, really mad at her. friends; like I just s tayed with her be anythi ng. JF: You thought he might hit her, or something. Hope: Uh huh, Yeah. JF: So, did he just yell at her and stuff? Hope: of felt bad for her. JF: Do see a lot of that at tournaments? Hope: win a match. [My husband] was to the point where he was verbally abusive [to m y e was angry, and he would just bore into it, over and over and over again, in the car ride home ...He would just not let it go. Two hours. Sometime s, call her an idiot.
212 A parent yelled at me. He told me to zip it. I told the referee what he said and the r efe ree said just ignore him and just play and have fun. I ignored everything that he said Under involvement
213 I think the good parents are the parents that want the best for their kid, but really mean it. Because you will hear every parent say that, but I don't think a lot of parents do and it might sound shocking. I don't think they do it on purpose I just think that they have their own ideas of what their kids junior career should be like or how the kid should go about it instead of lea ving in the hands of the kid, or the coach that you have hired to work with your kid. You know, I see a lo t of parents hire these coaches and pretty much want to tell the coaches what to do...You know, if you're gonna trust someone enough to hire them and work with your kids, then let them do their job. So, I mean a good parent is somebody who understan ds how much pressure these kids have just walking out on the court. N ot to coddle them or baby them, but to understand that they need support just as much as they need for you to be strict or firm But it's hard for parents to get it in their head [to focus on dev elopment instead of points] because, like I said, they want their press ure these kids have. Paradoxical Spaces of Pressure Players embody their identities through liminal experi ences of pain and potential, as explored in Chapter 3. These identities are intertwined with the ways in which players and parents engage in dynamics that become ritualized. The consequences of these interactions involve varying degrees of pressure. Overt pressure Parents who exhibit balanced involvement reward effort and attitude without spoiling their players. They do so by doing something un related to tennis after the ir match es regardless of outcome, as long as the re go od. When parents mak e rewards b ased on things the players can control, li ke sportsmanship, the results a is no pressure to win. Some, parents worry that their player s are wasting tim e when they have too much fun. B ut, as parents like Ted know fun is a key aspect to the decision to keep playing:
214 T hey want to be successful, and being successful means they have to work hard at certain things I there's got to be, you kno w, if you're gonna do something, if you're gonna keep score, then you're gonna want to try to win. If you want to win then you need to, you need to apply yourself. Sherri: ake them have as much fun as to have one childhood. Just Deb: I agree, absolutely. Sherri: Today he lost, [and ruin your day or your life over a game of everything. You just have to learn to go with it and go with the flow and enjoy. Take it as it come s at could h appen? Okay, so you Deb: And there are so many things to do to enrich yo ur life... as the coach says: a certain amount becaus e you know that they really like tennis and that t hey are looking to grow even more into practice more and to learn more to achieve more.
215 hindsight, if I look back at my childhood not necessarily tennis in general, if I literally had a choice to do Hey, do you wa nna do this or not wanna do this all the tim thirty things I would never had done that I would have regr etted today if I line. Kids are kids. Sometimes they or playing video games. So you have to push. But if you push too much you push them right out of the sport Pushing is a delicate word. If the kid wants to quit two days into it, that's not de a commitment, and you have to personal growth...And the other thing to remember is that sport comes and goes. The most important thing is the relationship with the child...If I had had that relationship with my father, I would have been more motivated to do well. I would have wanted to make him proud. But I didn't have good results because I was scare d of him.
216 ing for and has to learn for herself and experience G ardens and get up the next morning for an Busch Gardens.
218 very verbally abusive after bad matches...But it was too much pressure. And we were very dysfunctio nal on the tennis court because he would get upset. I nothing to do with a tennis court, well, for one, he would always apologize if
219 anyth these positive aspects to our lives...and she thought she co uld make it she was rig ht there. Subtle pressure I just told my daughter that I don't want you wasting time. That means wasting my time and money. It means the coaches time. It means the other parents and the other kids Someone else doesn't get to hit the ball or learn because you are disr upting, then we have problems. So, I've always held her to that higher standard what else would I do. What would I do? Yes I could do X, Y, and Z, but at this present moment, it gives me more happiness than thing you know? It all depends on how you look at it, you know?
220 I didn't really ever feel throughout my entire junior days that I was being pushed by my parents. I really enjoyed going to those tournaments because th ese people that I saw every wee k e nd becam where I became good friends with people I only saw one day a week. It was like I looked forward to playing these different tournaments and competing and testing my ability of what I've been working on and seeing what I can play. I'm sure th ere was a period of time where I wasn't winning as much and then it was like I didn't want to do this anymore, but...I never
221 felt like it was a real option that I could not play, yet there was something going on where it didn't feel like I was being pushed to do it. And I think the first time I woke up from all of that was when I thought that I had the opportunity to go and travel to these places as young as 11 years old. That was just so cool because no one else was doing it, and it was such a great oppor [One girl I kne w] struggled with the pressures, like from her father, because he expected her to win everything. So she was a good junior player, lived here in Florida, she started to play pro and she's a very high strung person
222 anyway, so every thing is life or death fo r her. Very passionate. So when she lost, she had a lot of trouble handling the losses. She couldn't regroup from them, where I took it more in stride. I looked at it long term as opposed to having to do it now, I h ave to achieve it now. I remember all that the pressure in juniors, I p ut so much pressure on myself, I remember that. The drive came from me, to be perfect practice and to win, I really did not like to lose. No pressure different ways you can push. You can push by physically telling them to get out there and go do it. You can also push by saying always tried to avoid. I think that playing a lot of tournaments in juniors helped. I wasn't burnt out like the other kids. I had no pressure because my parents were just supporting me. They had fun going to tournaments with me, and definitely starting later helped me not burn ou t. So I was super eager to play every weekend and I loved tennis. I didn't want to hang out with friends anymore because it was so much fun. I still lived a full life, I was with my friends all the time, I was with family, I went on family trips, so I felt balanced. I felt really lucky that I had that childhood and balance and maybe that did help me. So, when I was 18 and done with sc hool, I could travel and play. It's
223 what I wanted to do. I t's not like I was trying to get away from tennis like other kids b It definitely f ueled my fire. It would've helped sometimes, because we had a lot of fights. But it definitely did fuel my fire...I was stub born and determined to do what I wanted to do. W e are here because we want Nick to be happy and play good tennis, and nt thing is to be happy doing doing. If you go to the court all stressed out about wanting to win, everybody wants to win, but the reality is not everybody can win. So you have to find a way to be happy even when you port. If my husband put pressure on Nick in this way ... I would not let him, no. No Who cares? If you are healthy, happy, if you did this because your mother or father wanted you to do it, you are lost.
224 And former player Terri I think it can be done in t he correct way. I think that you can have that... Not necessarily pressure, but the mentality of hard work and the focus, but put it into a more positive direction. A lot of people don't know how to do that, and they think that the only way to enforce it is to do it in a harsh way, because that's the only way their children will get it, and they don't realize that that's not really how it works. You're actually taking them to the other spectrum and you're making them run away from it and burn out Summa ry 14 14
226 15 15 These consequences will be discussed in further detail in Chapters 7 and 8.
227 CHAPTER 6 PLAYER COAC H DYNAMICS A coach and an athlete...exist w ithin a specific power relation in that the coach typically attempts to guide the athlete's conduct or performance... [But] the athlete is still relatively 'free' to decide his/her response and ultimately whe ther he/she will continue to be coached [by that coach]. The actions of the athlete can also reciprocally influence the actions of the coach...Thus, although the coach's and athlete's relationship of power may be unbalanced, they can still be thought of as existing within a specific power rela tion ( 23). Coach and Player Power Approaches
228 1 1
229 Nurturing to Coddling Dynamics
231 [Players get sp just taking money from the rich kid. Tennis is a rich sport. The coaches are doing it for money, so the coach is miserable, the kids are miserable, and the parents need to see that...Most [parents] pick a coach, and they stay improving them is fine, but the coach is feeding you what you wanna hear instead of the truth to make your child better. The nurturing approach can be empowering or disempowering depending on collaborative or authoritative approach because players who have lofty goals such as pla ying collegiate and professional tennis know they need a coach to push them and discipline them. But many players, who are self motivated and push themselves, choose coaches who will nurture them the rest of the way through their junior career. In these ca ses, this approach can be very therapeutic for players, especially if they have experienced burnout, injury, or abuse from tennis. However, a nurturing approach that is taken to extreme or with players who have always been nurtured can coddle players and i nstill a sense of entitlement depending on the cont ext. As Dr. Megan Neyer (performance psychologist and Olympian), told me, January 2012, Some athletes aren't good at anything else; they might not be very smart. They get a lot of positive reinforcement f or sport. So much of [their] world is centered on athletics, so [their] identity is built around that. You are in these controlled and controlling systems so that you don't have to grow up and learn those skills. At the collegiate level in sports like foot ball, they support
232 the developmentally arrest model. Everything gets done for them: getting credits for classes they never took, told when to be, where to be, people knocking on doors if they don't show up, get away with a lot of things, rules don't apply and that One coach Will, he first started coaching: I ruined three kids in my 20s. I thought it was all on me. I over coached them. When they got up to 150 themselves anymore. They depen ded on me too much. Player responses It is apparent from my conversations with people that a nurturing approach is empowering when the parents are authoritative or abusive and when the p layer had experienced past trauma. But nurturing can be disempowering to players when the parents are also nurturing. Too much power given to players can lead to entitlement and deviance. These are t raits that can have anti social and consequently disemp owering effects on players in the long run. Taken to an extreme, a coddling approach rewards players with false praise, even for lack of effort and poor attitude. Players see through this false praise and can feel unchallenged by the coach or spoiled and e ntitled to praise. This can also disempower them because it may contribute to a lackluster work ethic perpetuate a player's entitled disobedience. Players rarely snap at, yell at, or openly disrespect their coaches, but they do exhibit entitled disobedie nce on occasion. I use an example of this from my own coaching experience. During a practice with one of my own players when I was working as a personal coach to a nationally competitive player, there was a tension in the a ir between the two of us. The thi rteen year old boy I was hitting with on the far side started out giving me the silent treatment. I kept trying to communicate as we hit the ball back and forth, keeping it light on criticism but trying to keep him motivated. When I
233 stopped the rally to as k him something about the previous shot he just hit, he called me ended practice. I told his father, but there were no consequences. I subsequently stopped coaching him In my opinion, he felt entitled to behave in that way because his father had coddled him throughout my work with him. I'm not one to yell at my pla yers. I don't think I ever yelled at my players, I just talked firmly and stopped practice or whatever. But she would also yell at me on the court... When we were doing drills where I'm moving her side to side and making her do a really tough drill where she has to do all the running, she would try to hit me with the ball. Collaborative Dynamics Coaches who coach from the middle of the coaching power continuum, using the collaborative approach, prioritize the balance of happiness and discipline to enhanc e both player well being and success by sharing power with their players. As discussed in the previous chapters, this empowers young players with independence as opposed to either giving them too much power, which can instill a sense of entitlement, or on the other hand, starving them of power which can make them feel dominated. When players are in a collaborative dynamic with their coaches, they generally communicate back and forth about the drills or strategies they are focused on. Coaches who use collabo rative approaches ask players how they feel about trying a drill or if they understand a strategy, and players who use collaborative approaches respond. As D enison (2007) oaches do not hold complete power over their athletes and  their athl etes'
234 they are a part of the decision making process instead of being told what to do or having the pressure to decide everything without having the proper knowledge to do so. I think where I can best help kids is I can relate to them really well because I just stopped playing, so I can put myself in their shoes. Even with the kids now, like, I remember playing the same tournament a nd it's just nice to be see that and maybe, you know, improve it and make something out of it is so rewarding. You know, [it] doesn't have to be a kid who turns pro. And deep down I think I'm a kid myself, so just being around the kids, it's just fun. It just, it does n't feel lik e a job. My top priority is to, first, establish what their goals are. Understand what they want to achieve, and then help them achieve their goals. So when I first started coaching, one of my main students, [ ] who you met, I was trying to help her understand goals. When I asked her what her goals were, she had difficulty deciding what they were, she didn't know. So I made the mistake of influencing what her goals could be I said, the world and I never asked for anything less, but I wouldn't do that again. I think it's most important to find out what everyone's goal is because everyone is different. The parent's goals are different from the player's goals, too, from what I've found. So I've learned to find out what their goals are and help them achieve them. T hat's my priority.
235 Coaches who showed collaborative behaviors and attitudes sa y they tried to show their passion for the game, to keep practice fun, and to stay flexible with individual professional player, shared how his coach used a collaborati ve approach with him and how he tries to do the same with his own players: JF: How do you think your coach helped inst illed that passion in you in juniors? Brian: I have tried to think back, and I don't know ho w. I think that's something you can tran smit to others if you feel it. I thin k that God gave me a heart to play tennis, and without getting too spiritual on you, a lot of people have to find their passions in life and a lot of people don't, and I found mine. JF: How would you say your coaching phil osophy is now and how do you transmit that passion? Coach : From a philosophical side, the workouts have t o be fun...play left handed. You have to find stuff like that when it's not going right.. challenged, a good coach will switch the drills. Or switch the kids around or and do something that does motivate them competition, points. Every kid, they might be having a bad day, and you have to do something d ifferent for them. And coaches u sing these approaches emphasize life lessons of personal well being and respect while finding a way to win: accountability of actions, work ethic, that success is not guaranteed, delayed gratification, keeping commitments, self determination, self sufficie ncy, courage, preparedness, focus, perseverance, time management,
236 sportsmanship, and self discipline to name a few 2 In the segment below from my field notes (I paraphrase h ere), a coach consoles one of his playe rs after he loses a match while subtly tea ching him life lessons. The s complaining and blaming his loss on incidentals, but shows him what he did well and what he cou ld improve upon. He approaches his player in a sensitive but calculated manner, aiming to use this loss as a teaching tool: The coach to go for your shots. You missed a lot of balls that were just a little bit out. the ball like a lion but then you would make a mistake, so your opponent was actually controlling the points a lot better, because he wa s managing his mistakes The player is visibly upset and starts lucky! He got every b all! H gently, ( Jan. 29, 2011 Sarasota, FL) A ten year old is playing a girl who has four people watching coach, fur hat), and two others. very intense at 8:30 am. She says and her coach, Jim (a good life lesson coa ch and great with the kids) says beca well ( Feb. 13, 2011 Venice, FL) 2 This is elaborated upon in Chapter 7.
237 All of us have gone through phases with our coaches where we vent our complaints. Coaches and athletes both feel a lot of pressure and stress at the elite level. That relationship is important to navigate especially with a becomes more independent an d becomes a collaborative partner versus athletes have difficulty transitioning to lives outside because they sport c an be developmentally arresting. Authoritative t o Abusive Dynamics
238 You also assess the player first. You have to see what they need. You need to see what their aspirations are before you know how coachable they are, before you really can do anything. I mean, you know, a lot of times your philosophy will not change, but your approach might be completely different from one pl ayer to the other. Sometimes, an authoritative approach is necessary fo r players who have been coddled by their parents or previous coaches and who show a lack of respect for adults and other players with entitled disobedience. Nina articulates this below and distinguishes between productive and destructive fear 3 : You gotta h have to have fear. A little fear in your parents. A little fear in your coach. The coach and the parents have got to have control. And if t controlling them. s easy to say that you did this and that wrong, but you gotta just say the opponent was better today. 3 This difference is elaborated upon later in t he chapter.
239 Player responses Some players feel belittled by an extreme authoritative approach, depending on their background and the context of the dynamic, and res pond with submissive obedience by doing exactly what the coach says with no complaints, or quitting. 4 Players exposed to too much pressure and abusive coaching approaches sometimes come off the court crying or ashamed af ter losing, or they simply quit. Thes e are what I refer to as various liminal pathways in Chapter 3. Former player Todd remembers an abusive coach he had: [My coach] basically treated us the same, running wise. So we were... I remember we were running around this field once. Me and my frien d were in the back, but he was exp ecting us to keep up with the eighteen year olds. Me and my fri end, I just couldn't take it. I remember throwing up, it was bad. And I remember him just screaming at me to get up, and I was just... I fell down on the grou n d and I just couldn't take it. I remember saying to my parents that I didn't want to play at all anymore. I remember being disgusted every time I saw a tennis racquet or tennis ball I would definitely want a coach, even if they're more on the negative side. He needs to be able to recognize when to push the students and when to support them. So, I had a coach in the past, for example, that was pretty neg ative. He would yell at us, but for some reason, I would like that. I ys to volley But at the same time, when I went to tournaments, he was actually pretty positive with me after a loss. So he was good because he was super negative on the practice court...and you're put under so much pressure at practice, and tournaments seem so easy. And he was actually supportive in the tourname nts, so it was almos t a shock. For someone who is tough, I would choose a tough coach in 4 This is elaborated upon later in the chapter.
240 practice, but who also can be supportive as well, so someone who has that balance. I think those are the main things. 5 6 S he has admitted that there are things that she knows that she should do t stubborn person in 5 This follows Coakley's 2006a concept of deviant overconformity. 6 This is discussed in Chapter 4.
241 we finally get you in the right frame of mind...you'll be at your best strength She
242 Paradoxical Spa ces of Player Coach Dynamics Paradoxical Spaces of Intimacy The emotional intimacy and interdependency that develops between most coaches and players is often innocent and a source of emotional strength for players. Often a coach offers support and guidance to a player whose parents use oppressive approaches, or when a player has shown respect for the coach and a determination to work hard for a common goal. Some coaches apply their coaching power to thei r
243 (i.e. drugs, alcohol), thereby, being a good role model and mentor for players. But sometimes coaches with the best intentions do not know where to draw the line be tween mentor and romantic partner (Burke 2001). Male coaching power over teen girl players becomes the norm in junior tennis: sometimes it is completely healthy and other times it crosses a line of emotional intimacy even if it does not become physical (as mentioned earlier). ure, possessive said, and it made her daughter feel guilty for wanting to find another coach because she felt like she was betraying him. As the mother said, it is the coaching relationship 7 She wanted her daughter to recognize that this was not a healthy relationship anymore, even though it had been in the felt it was inappropriate because it made her daughter feel like she was in a controlling relationship and doing something wrong by wanting to look el sewhere for a coach. E ven though the coach player bond can be an empowering experience for players as coaches become a confidante and guide through a player's adolescence and through life, this bond can become a technology of domination as coaches become over 7 This may be the topic of a future research project focusing on paradoxes of power within spaces of gender in junior tennis. I discuss this further in the conclusion.
244 controlling with their players, even when unintentionally done. This can develop into a method of grooming for sexual exploitation, however, by coaches with predatory intentions 8 Grooming for sexual harassment and abuse is different from grooming a thletes to sexual grooming, according to Dr. Abrams ( sport psychologist) in a personal conversation I had with him, January 2012 Brackenridge 2 001 shows how teenaged fema le athletes who perform at elite levels are at most risk of sexual abuse by a coach or other sport authority figure; this is especially true for those in early peaking individual sports (like tennis), where elite performance is usually reached in the early te ens. According to Brackenridge 2001 the most vulnerable time for sex abuse to occur is actually at the point where athletes are on the verge of reaching elite status when they have developed a heightened level of trust and dependence on the coach as, s ay, an Olympic hopeful. Brackenridge 2001 (117). Players attach their identity to their tennis progress, and thus, often to their relationships to their coaches. Quitting or leaving the coach is extremely dif ficult to do at the age of immanent success because it is felt as a form of death, at least of the athletic 8 The fine line between bonding and grooming by coaches has been highlighted in the media recently as a result of the Penn State scandal (Sydnor 2012); also see (Nack and Yaeger 1999, Rob inson 1998). Junior tennis coaches that have been accused and charged with sexual molestation of were mentioned to me by my participants and which I found articles on line. However, there were other names mentioned that I have not been able to find article s about which highlights the cases in which victims of child sexual abuse by coaches decide not to press charges; largely due to the normalization of grooming of teenaged girl players by male coaches in the tennis culture.
245 self 9 exploitative coach. Coach 10 T here is normalized sexual abuse and recognized sexual abuse in the junior tennis environ ment. Normalized sexual abuse i s apparent in junior tennis when some parents, coaches, and players discuss how it i s not uncommon to see relationships and flirting between adu lt male coaches and their te nothing about it because it was between the coach and the player. By the age of immanent success, the trust for and dependency on the coach that overshadows or blinds them to any inappropriate beh avior that he may exhibit. F ormer Grand Slam player Terri, describes this in how some coaches take advantage of the girls they have been coaching often since th ey were young teens: I'm sure that the WTA 11 is not really thinking that's a great thing, but it does happen. And the reason it happens is because these girls are starting to play so young. They have no social life, they've never been on dates, they've neve r had a boyfriend. So here they are spending 24/7 with their male coaches, and it happens and the coaches take advantages of the girls and naivet They don't see it as abusive, they probably think it's ok. I never ask, because it's kind of so far in the p ast that I really do think that when they're in those relationships, they really are in love, because it's the person they've been with for so long. It's a hard question to ask, but I can only imagine that looking back on it, they're probably thinking tha t it's more than a young person making a mistake not knowing what they were doing...it's like any abusive relationship, where you ask why the person stays. It's because they've been beaten down and in their mind, they really believe that they can't leave, or should n't leave. 9 This is discussed at the end o f this chapter. 10 The normalcy of these relationships is exposed in the book by Mewshaw 2001. 11 Women's Tennis Association is the main professional tennis tour for women.
246 on the tour. A lot of the young gir ls would go off with young guys [coaches], [male coaches with female players]. We've seen it in Bradenton. 12 A lot of ey end up having sexual relations. We see it a lot with foreign players. y very big in Germany. I see it all and foreign children. 13 they have either a female coach with them, or send a parent with them. 12 At the time of writing, the local newspapers in Bradenton reported the arrest of a m ale coach for having a relationship with a minor. 13 Interestingly, despite this perspective, later in the interview she name drops a convicted child sex abuser and brags about how her daughter got to stay with him. Either she is unaware of his record or sh e is in denial.
247 When I was in a relationship with my coach, you just feel this bond. I was on the court with the man for 4 hours a day, plus another 2 at the gym or running drills. And we would talk about everything. and the world of tennis is so all d be with someone you think really gets s the only one that gets you. At first he was nice because my father was still in the picture. But once my dad was out of the picture, [my coach] became the controller. I couldn' t have any friends. Like, I was training with a group of girls who had just can't hang potential sponsors, and I wasn't educated at the time. I had left school at 7 th grade. I was supposed to be homeschooled but I never did it because of my training schedule. So, I would have meetings with potential investors and if you need to shut up and just talk about backhands because that's all you I didn't understand until later that it was wrong because it was better than I used to be treated. He would make fun of me about my weight and, I don't have an eating disorder, but it's something I'm conscious about now even though I eat [a lot]. That's wh ere it started. After that he started to shove me around. Some people saw, some people wouldn't.
248 [My coach] was 20 years older than me, and I was scared and lonely, and he totally took advantage of that, to a physical rel ationship, and I was pretty fucked up for a while after that. I should have known better...he had pretty much established dominance over me at that point, and it makes me sick to think about it now... The intensity of what you are going through with that p erson because the environment is intense; it strengthens that bond. But it's not the basis for a healthy relationship. And most of the coaches are a lot older, and these girls, they don't know what's going on. And that's also the reason behind a lot of the females experimenting with lesbian relationships. After they leave the tour, they don't go down that route. It's just, you're there and they don't know what's going on, and there is no support system. It's so easy to get caught up in all these different t hings. It's just a mess...You haven't had previous experiences, so you're [nave socially]...I was trying to get out of it for a while, but I couldn't get rid of him. When I was traveling [without him], he wou ld send me emails all the tim e [s a call me a slut. I did for a while, but I had heard that from so many people my father so that is why I stuck it out in tennis for so long. I wanted to play the Olympics, I didn't know any other life, and I didn't think I would succeed in anything any other way, and I wouldn't know how to go about integrating myself into a normal life...I had a few friends on tour [who would motivate me and leave the coach]...But, then, I couldn't afford to have him around, so he took a job in [in another country] coaching a nd would try to get me to come over there and train with him. But I said no. I was old enough to realize that it was a blessing [not to be able to afford to have him as my coach anymore]. It was a way to get him out of my life, and I needed to hold on to t hat. If you know
249 anyone who wants to train with that guy, they need to stay away from him. He is bad news. His name is [ ] 14 to look at. Parents are really blinded about what sports can do for their children and th means are. It all justifies the ends. lot o f crap, but at the same time someone not intimidating. Like, I would complain to [my coach] or tell him something, and in almost like a message across, but it was still kind o f funny. But when it needed to be 14 This coach's webpage is still currently active, at the time of writing, using this participant's name and career to promote his coaching services. Since there is no licensure or certification system in the United States for coaches outsid e of the regulated education system, coaches like this are able to continue coaching with only the threat of rumors to hurt business. Even coaches who are convicted of sexual abuse of a minor are able to continue coaching once they are out of jail. The ten nis world is full of stories like this one and hundreds if not thousands of girls are harassed and abused, either sexually, emotionally, and/or physically under the rug of the USTA and WTA tours.
250 kinds of things [he would tell me] an d how to like work your way through it...We were like almost like friends. That was the relationship. He would slow things down and asked me what I was Here, I de scri be coach Cassie talking to her ten year old player after he lost his first round match. He came off the court crying and the coach sat him on her lap and consoled him, telling him all the positive things he did on the court and reminding him that he has ga ined a lot of experience. She told him that she does not care about the score and that she saw him do things that she did not think he could do. He would have an opportunity to make it better, and that next year, it would be a different story. She went on to say: If you quit, you never know. If you lose, so what? If you lose another one, so what years old and you have a bright future ahead of you. gonna win. part you gotta focus on. But you gotta think about the positive, not just the frustrated. You played good, I was happy with the way you played. You behaved well you did everything good; the kid was just a little bit better. Use this match to You know what you can do in that matter what. doing. Like them as a person first of all and then a player. I think it should be like a team.
251 The biggest reason I liked [my coaches] was that they cared about me. It wasn't just about my tennis. Like so me days, they would just give me the day off and that showed me they cared, and it made me want to do better for them One of the coaches I just adored, what they did well, was what I just talke d about. When I was having bad days, throwing my racquet and my attitude its were really big on being positi ve and being a positive influence. They would only use intensity only when it's necessary. There are times when you have your head up your ass, and you need it. But they knew that I was highly motivated and that I felt bad enough [when I lost]. Sometimes y ou need that push, like in a match if you don't do the things that you've worked on, you They really do try to build it like a sport, like more of a team. They can really be a team like when they travel. The coaches are involved. And they try to make them more like a group here. They don't try to put one against the othe r. I li I have to give this a lot of credit. And tennis, in general, if families choose to do it this way, and not all families do...but, it is a community, it is the parents...A bunch of us live on the other side of town
252 so, we car pool as much as we possibly can. We hold a holiday party every year at Christmas and invite every I know that I would trust them with my daughter...the families, the parents and the kids know each other. We all travel together. k with the parent to be a player...The player has to be willing to do what the coach the parent, player, and coach working together where are you gonna go? You know, know, you gotta be on the same page I think we have a unique situation with [our coach] because she's been with him for so long. And he has been part of her growing up...and it has been a combination of all of those things at different times. She is at a stage now where there are times that we can talk as a threesome, but we have also been at places where she feels like she is getting ganged up on because [the coach] and I, we do talk outside of her. And so often times it is so, I feel we have a solid front with he r. You know, we are both trying to accomplish the same thing, neither one of us is saying the wrong thing or going against
253 opinion? What is your guidance because I have neve r played tennis, I have need to rely on him. I know there are things that she does not tell him that she tells me. But there are also things that she tells him and not me. Both he a nd I think, both have to be respectful, and there are some things that I know she has told him and shared with him that, although I may want to know, he has felt that it is not my business and he has got to protect his player confidentiality relationship. And there are things that are, like, as the mom I can encourage her to do, but I would never, like, rat her out. Communication breakdown T here are paradoxes involved with this approach as there are with others. While at the beginning of my fieldwork I su rmised that a collaborative approach with these philosophies always resulted in a productive dynamic that benefitted the player, there were times that the collaborative approach seemed to cause a power struggle between coach and player. The ritualized comm unication behavior from the coach seemed to smother pl ayers. This happens through questions about how the player was feeling, constant commentary during drills and rest periods, or stopping the flow of a rally or drill every few seconds to explain a techn ique or strategy. For instance, one day during practice, one player said that her coach scrutinized her body and it made her feel uncomfortable. She said he told her not to bend at her waist to pick up balls but to bend at her knees. She said, paraphrasin g, coach constantly communicates with a player about her physical and mental state. But it can be interpreted as smothering and intrusive a technology of domination depen ding on the relationship, the player, and the context of the comment.
255 P layer says that he steps forward better on his bac oach because in matc inues to politely rally the open stance is better because I can transfer my weight better for a faster recovery. On a Coach started to slide along the power role continuum from collaborative to authori stance way too much, on balls you should never hit open stance on. It causes you to lose your balance and swing ds go wide. Remember, sounds like he just wants to leave n ow. Coach tries to take power back from Player, the powe r that he originally gave him by having a collaborative coach player relationship. This is when collaborative dynamic is put on hold so that the coach can try to even the ship again by taking control again. But thing Coach has been saying ( March 2, 2011 Bradenton, FL)
256 Paradoxical Spaces o f Performance Enhancement Some coaches just do not get along very well with teenagers even though they may have related to them dur ing their pre teen years. When one coa ch I watched talked
257 for too long, lecture, or talk about their playing days, teenagers start ed to tune out. But there are coaches who exp loit players who have potential. Junior tennis is a business and there are many people who get into the business and pu t making money ahead of helping players. Players often switch coaches and academies because there is such a high con centration of them in Florida. When c oaches talk about branding t heir methods with their players, it makes them more competitive in the ind ustry. They do this in the way they teach strokes and strategy, but also through material means as they make their players wear t 15 G ame style and clothing symbolize identification with and social cohesion within an a cademy, thereby, relinquishing one's own individual identity and self stylization which Foucault saw as a tool of domination 16 Branding encourages loyalty, camaraderie, and positive peer pressure to improve among players within an academy, but it can also encourage intense rivalry between academies so that players feel forbidden to practice with players from other academies. Many coaches and parents see this as a problem as it fosters a sense of territoriality w ith players. One coach, Henry, discusses this territoriality: Getting pros to motivate to come together [is a major issue in junior tennis] We've got to grow the game. I think people get defensive it's great to see the [the various organizations] kind of work together. I think when you get into a local situation, everyone gets defensive and territorial, and they fe el like it's taking the kids. Some o f the coaches I interviewed say when their players leave of their own volition. It is very tough in this bu siness because it is a fine line between whether coaches actively recruit players from other coaches and 15 it players even if their program has only two players. 16 This is discussed in Chapter 4.
258 whether players decide to switch because they are unhappy. There is a certain moral code between coaches that recruiting players is taboo, but coaches do it anyway by giving their business coaches who do their best to sell their training services to them. Some players are weary to talk to coaches like this, but others feel special that t hey have been approached. This is how children and teenagers become products in the junior tennis industry. Sometimes, coaches offer junior players free training to come to their academy because their ability and growing fame on the junior tour creates buz z for the academy and attracts business for them. For coaches who work in a corporate environment, like a large international academy, the possessiveness of players is very apparent. As one because she Some coaches feel that they failed on the professional tour and encourage their play ers to play professionally and lead them away from choosing college, even when their players are not good enough to achieve professional status. Players and their parents believe the coach who says that they have what it takes to be professional. This puts traveling with the coach, and it gives the coach the power to say he has a player on the tour. But this is mostly detrimental to the player because they become ineligible for a co llege scholarship six months after graduating from high school. Thus, seniors are or shooting for the goal of a professional career. Unfortunately, many players see
259 c ollege as a Plan B and turn professional, thereby, giving up the opportunity for a just decide to become coaches. This often restricts their choices for future careers outside of tennis once their bodies wear out. Instead of tennis being a vehicle of social mobility, it becomes an anchor for some players once they leave the tour. 17 The most important thing is, the first thing you ask a coach is: who have you it an up and com ing player ? Who have you made?... young up and on for free or a low amount of money j because that would build your resume. Most, 95% of coaches, maybe 98% and oped somebody that went to the whole next level. You see the coaches. Like when a ten year old who started at age 5, won the s tate tournament and played a kid who started at age 8, and [the coach] But parents do the same thing 17 Former tennis player, Neha Uberoi 2012, wrote her master's thesis about this.
260 winner; but there also comes along that one kid that makes you hate what tug of a while If [USTA] can find a way to burn me out, and I have a pre frontal cortex, just frontal cortex...I was trying to be l to make players. [Now] I wake up in the morning a work in the morni ng to make players. Motivation: fear and anger
261 When you are so afraid if you [mess] up, that your coach is going to kill you, you're not going to be creative. And that stifles you from getting the best you can...if athletes are so afraid that if they don't perform the w ay their coaches demand, that they are going to be punished, humiliated, harmed etc. and it's going to take away their willingness, their ability to create, then used long term; the issue is the intensity of it.
262 I try to use fear... to bring up that, that aggressiveness, that courage...You use fear as the incentive to get athletes to drive themselves harder. But...there's a catch to that too. A lot of athletes are very perfectioni stic. And you do that with someone who is already perfectionistic and you're gonna run the risk of overtraining injuries...Motivation should be seen as a toolbox, and fear can powerfully be one of the tools in your toolbox, the idea that using fear as a mo tivator is unhealthy across the board all the time, I don't agree with...The idea that using fear as a motivator is abusive is a mistake, it's not true. It can be used as a motivator healthily and appropriately, however it's a slippery slope and fear can e asily be used as a weapon of abuse by coach If you're going to use exercise as a penalty, then you're saying that exercise is not good...Parents often parent ineffec tively because they're angry when they're dishing out discipline. Coaches are the same way; they are angry so
263 they want to punish their athletes. Calm your ass down, so you can be an effective coach and figure out what it is that you want to change. But mo st often that's not the case, and that's where you have this high risk of using exercise as a punishment which can easily fli p the script over to abuse 18 ind out who can be depended on and find out who earns the right to be a member of this team! You are going to have to prove yourselves to me! You must earn my respect! I have none for you right now! It is difficult to have respect for a bunch of wimps !...In the 18 The characteristics of emotional abuse by coaches (Gervis and Dunn 2004, Stirling and K err 2008) are discussed below.
264 next two weeks, a lot of things will become clear...It's like they say, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a for[t]night it concentrates his mind wonderfully! We will th en know who we can count on! We will know then who will not figure out in our future success. Good luck! 19 He has eyes everywhere; highest level of surveillance with spies everywhere in the physi cal therapy and lord knows where else; he knows about the player as a person. All he cares about is status and money Even the sport psychologist to whom this player was referred enc ouraged her to develop coping mechanisms (i.e. communicating more to the coach, finding ways to relax outside of the sport environment, self acceptance, etc.) to accept this surveillance that her abusive coach actually hired a sport psychologist to help her cope with her problems that were rather than a technology of the self. Focus and self surveillance inc luding the body, the social self, and the psyche distracts from the larger issues of the environment o f junior tennis; what Hoberman 1986 train and micromanage kids bodies (and minds) for maximum effi ciency, their roles as 19 This is a characteristic of emotional abuse by coaches (Gervis and Dunn 2004, Stirling and Kerr 2008).
265 authority figures become normalized, but at the same time, kids embody this external authority and power as their own in a form of self surveillance, or self discipline. It is a f control and, thus, a technology of domination as discussed in Chapter 4 As fear and anger are used as motivators and disciplinary tools for coaches who use authoritative approaches with their liminal athletes they can become tools of However, as these tools 20 players instead as seen in Chapter 3 The results can be contagious among players in a team or academy environment. In an informal conversation, a former player who is still afraid of her former coach that she did not want me to record her told me about why she and other players stayed with a coach who used authoritative approaches that often bled into abuse. She discussed how they wanted to help each other through the experience even though they were A t the same time, they passed along the abuse to each other. She said that the sick situation where players tried to console eac h other, while also create circumstances where his abuse would escalate for another. Her coach also physically abused her and the team members by making them run on injuries and during illnesses, and pelted balls at her and the rest of the team without te lling them what he was mad about. She said it surveillance did not stop her from asking him to coach her on the professional tour. As 20
266 This falls under Coa k shows how diffi cult it is for liminal individuals to define discipline as a technology of domination or a technology of the self. Fear and anger, used through authoritative approaches Discipline vs abuse room for resistance and are often reluctant to criticize practices of high performance 05), it is difficult for liminal players to distinguish abu se from discipline, let alone define it. This is especially true when players and coaches engage perform, co aches continue to criticize them which often makes their p erformance worse, which evokes more criticism from the coach. As explored in Chapter 3, rituals help normalize power dynamics. Players become dependent upon this dynamic as they come to know themselv es through this dynamic. This shows how coach and player can perpetuate imbalanced power relations by using the same (disempowering extreme) approaches with each other instead of shifting them towards a collaborative zone of empowerment. This can be portrayed by the power continuums (Figures 4 2 and 4 3) and the relational power grid (Figure 4 4). family/sport context and general cultural context (Korbin 1981, 2008). One former player d escribed abuse along a continuum: not sett ing clear goals, not giving enough time to embody a culture to meet those expectations, verbal abuse and public humiliation,
267 overtraining to the point of severe injury or death, using the student as a narcissistic extension of the coach, and sex abuse. But the difference between discipline and abuse is highly contested and depends on the context of the coach athlete relationship. Athletes are not immune to abuse or more likely to be abusive even though this is included in the stereotypes of athletes and spo rt culture. But there are certain aspects about sport culture that contribute to abuse such as the abuse of trust by coaches in some coach well being due to the myth that athletes ca n overcome any obstacle (Gervis and Dunn 2004, Stirling and Kerr 2008).
268 Emotional abuse is not just a function of the coach, it depends on the athletes. You could have a team full of athletes: some would call it tough, some would call it abuse. To be an elite athlete, you have to be strong and resilient. For those w ho are less resilient they are most likely to define it as here's a great coach that said that it's the coaches job to pu sh their athletes to places they didn't know they could go...The best athlete in the world may not have the highest level of resilience...but coaches get away with a lot of crap because they win...Bobby Knight got away with beating the shit out of his athl etes for years Bobby Knight vs John Wooden Coaches tend to model themselves after successful coaches across sports like basketball coaches, Bobby Knight and John W ooden: Bobby Knight as the authoritative model using fear as motivation, and John Wooden as the collaborative model using inspiration as motivation. Here is an excerpt from a conversation with a coach that exemplifies this debate: I remember talking to [a basketball player] who lives in Orlando and played on the Olympic basketball team, and he was coached by Bobby Knight, and he said the motivation was that he pissed the team off so much that the team would rally to spite him. So he got results. Was it optimal? It's not important. Bobby Knight got the results that he was looking [for], and the same with Steve Spurrier. So that's kind of a dictator style coaching. I think you have to have a certain personality to be able to be coached by those types o f coaches. But I think, obviously like a John Wooden, [there are] more values and a deeper and long lasting effect.
269 Aches and pains. I tell my kids early on, I always tell them I'm strict but I'm fair, and I'll let my kids make decisions no matter how old they are. But I lying, you're lying to yourself. You're not gonna hurt me...So if you are telling me that you don't w ant to come practice tomorrow because you are really tired, and you are not, I'm not getting hurt by it; you are getting hurt by e too much, you can tell in the kids. I mean you can tell how he comes back the next day if he's really sore or, or if he is cramping, you know obviously there are limits. I always look out for that, and I really pay attention to how far each kid can go, a nd then I make sure I push them just below their limit. Because you always want the kid to have enough energy to recover and then come back tomorrow and give you the same effort. You know if you push the kid past that limit three or four days in a row, the n by the fifth day he's gone. I mean in a sense, you know. You know how much a person can give and how much a person can push. And once they get to that point, you know they are not gonna give you anymore. You are gonna back off. But most people can go a lot further than they think they can...burnout happens to everybody. I mean pros, after they've been in the European segment of the year, after Wimbledon they are toast. But, they'll be competing f or eight or ten weeks in a row. S that happens naturally after you've been doing the same thing for a long, long time... burnout is just something as far as how you handle the schedule, how you managed to fit the training and the tournament, and have some time away from the game. But I think, again, kids with parents a lot of times they can't get away from the game because when they go home that's all the parents want to talk about is tennis.... It's like everything else, it's shoulder, it's elbow, wrist. But I mean that's overuse. And it happens, but again, it happens in pro tennis just like it happens in junior tennis. I mean when the pros go to play on grass, there's a lot of tendinitis of the knees, tendinitis of the arm jus stics of the surface. So again, overuse is part of what comes with the territory of being an athlete
270 between discipline and abuse in the way they ha ndle the pain boundary of their players. The first coach who uses a collaborative approach pushes his players just before they reach that line of injury and burnout by communicating with his players about how much further they can be pushed. Coach Tim help s players use tennis as a technology of the self because he employs critical self reflection and encourages self care. These concepts, learned over time, can be applied to life outside sport. The second coach who uses an authoritative/abusive approach norm alizes injury and burnout as part of the territory of being an elite athlete. In this way, tennis is a technology of domination which Coach Ang uses to reproduce his power over players. The reason for this difference is that the collaborative coach sees th e player as a liminal 21 individual whose body and emotional development are still in transition while the authoritative coach sees the junior player as equal to an elite professional (adult) player. The first coach sees the junior player as someone he can h elp to be a better person, while the latter coach sees the junior player as someone who might better his reputation or career through his help. Coaches sometimes have difficulty in balancing the two coaching models. It is not such an easy thing to say th at one coaching approach is better than the other. As Dr. Mitch Abrams (sports psychologist) pointed out to me, January 2012 I think that you are completely right [that coaches live vicariously through their athletes] except that I also feel for the coac hes on the other side. Meaning that, I think that both sides need balance... It's a very vulnerable feeling to have a plan and a vision, and having to trust your athletes to go execute it... So not only the coach is trying to live vicariously through the a thletes, they're also trying to live vicariously through the athletes to get the athletes to do things that they themselves couldn't do. But I think it's also important to note the other side; that it is a very vulnerable feeling as a 21 See Chapter 3 for a discussion of junior athletes as transitional agents.
271 coach....your success is going to be dependent upon your athletes. Now, to emotional well being. Because if your athletes are not in a good mindset, they're going to perform worse. And if they perform worse, then it's going to look like you are a bad coach. And then you'll have someone like Bobby Knight come along and treat everyone like shit, and then they are real E ven though athletes who hav e abusive coaches may succeed despite their abuse rather than because of it 22 it is often difficult for people to refute the abusiv e coach when he is successful. I think sometimes you have to move from one to the other. I think you need the more military in the beginning to give them discipline, because tennis is so disciplined so many hours a day. I think you need that military style when Daughter, for ins down pat in her game. But now she wants the motivation style coach... e way to world of this world so you keep doing it. And you keep doing it. Instead of saying, Punishments There are accepted forms of punishment that most coaches sa y they use, such as running and picking up balls. Nina points out how who use coddling 22 Donnelly 1997 and Coakley 2006a make this point.
272 approaches resist punishing their players at the risk of losing clients, which only makes them entitled and lazier t ennis players and people in the long run: You gotta make them pick up balls. Too many of these academies, the rich w much join a group private coach. So for me, it would be about being tough on court, not letting them get away with fooling around, and if they need discipline, then they need to suffer consequences with some sort of punishment, like a run or paper or taking a racquet away from them. Defining coach abuse
273 23 23 This is discussed further in Chapter 9.
275 24 25 24 This is elaborated upon in the following chapter. 25
277 26 Pushing someone hard is good yelling. Bad yell bad yelling. Here, a former player describes how he felt yelling was necessary for him whe n his attitude was poor. He says it helped him stay discipl ined and to recognize that he needed to be in control of his own emotions and concerns: Don: When I was young, I would get yelled at all th e time, just for things like throwing my racket. Never for how I played or e ffort. Like that [tournament] when I tan ked my match, [my coach] ma de me immediately run for an hour. JF: So, for attitude you would get yelled at. 26 Holt et al. 2008 devise a similar continuum of yelling in the soccer context.
278 Don: Yeah, it was like good stuff. I deserved it and I knew it. I alwa ys wanted it, I think. I was in a very weird place that week. I t just kind o f culminated in that match. I just made the decision that I was going to do this. I knew [my coach] was going to be furious, but it w as almost like I wanted the punishment and the pain of it.... JF: You have a higher sense of discipline than most people Don: Yeah. But that comes from [my coach]. He such a comment there are no excuses with hi m. His classic response would I think it has to do with the parent deciding what they want for their player. So for everyone it's going to be different depending on their values. For me, personally, I believe there should be no hitting. Let's say I have a son who's undisciplined, then I want a coach that's going to yell at him and make him do what he needs to do until he needs it. I h ad tw o abusive coaches. One from about age fifteen to seventeen and the other I worked with from about until I was twenty two. And they were both all sorts of screwed up. The first one would think of any excuse to
279 scold me and tell me I was stupid. And the sec ond one, he actually found out about the [abusive] situation [with my father] and I was an emotional s me when I think about it. So that didn't work because I'd go home and get it from all sides, and I'd go to the court with my coach and I'd get it from all sides. I went into an internal guilt thing, and it showed in my results so my dad thought we needed a new coach. My coach would hit balls at me, it was bad...But I'm not angry at him because he's got his own issues. I don't feel like he's trying to be a bad person, he's just got his own issues. He's not happy. I don't blame him. But the coach after him I do blame because he knew better. In sport, it's particularly hard to distinguish what physical abuse is, unless they punch someone. Not all coaches are knowledgeable in nutrition, weight training, exercise physiology...so they could ha ve uninformed training regimens which is a form of abuse. The whole concept of overtraining and what is appropriate is a very individualized thing. Physical abuse making athletes go for long periods of time without water. If as a consequence of this [they die], I strongly believe that these coaches should be convicted of murder. If you lack that much knowledge about what a body physical and emo tional [abuse].
280 You coa ch by example, by showing them three hours a day, six days a week...I can't stand when players up against a fence one day in front of 2000 people [for playing not to lose, or fearful]. I took a guy, who later committed suicide, unfortunately, who was playing in the national championship not to lose [instead of to win], I took him a head lock and started choking the guy. Another guy, I held him up against the fence right in front of his father and got real close to his face and started swearing at him. But they won their matches because they stop ped playing scared. That's my job as a coach: to teach them not to play scared...I could never have coached the girls that way...But I don't think of myself as being an espe cially tough coach. Oh you hear it all the time. You see it all the time from the European coaches. But you hear about a couple top American coaches slamming the kids aga I hear about] it actually happens [with]. A lot of, lots and lo listening or making mistakes. A lot of coaches do that. Uh, the high tense coaches. But most of them just make them run or something like that. You know with the child abuse laws. Some coaches are doing it because their kids are lazy even stand a chance because the kids are lazy and their just trying to get them to do better for the parents to keep the money coming in gonna motivate a kid by treating them like that, and take them to the next level. Paradoxical Spaces of Loyalty
282 The world used to revolve around [her coach]. She was like so enamored with the whole world of [him], you know. I've seen that pass and I've seen where he has been lumped in with like the rest of us crappy adults that really know nothing. She adds, as several oth er parents note, that having more female coaches to turn to, especially in instances of traveling with teenaged girls, would reduce the risk of male female emotional power plays and abuse. 27 Summary 27 I elaborate upon this in Chapter 7.
283 28 28
284 29 29 These consequences will be discussed in further detail in Chapters 7 and 8.
286 CHAPTER 7 EMBODIME NT OF IDENTITY AND WELL BEING : PAIN, POTENTIAL, AND MORALITY Paradoxical Spaces of Pain
287 The Pain Boundary Concept
288 (Over)Scheduling For a player that wants to go Division I or pro, depending on their age, they want to play a lot of tennis in their early years. From the age of ten to fifteen, they want to get a lot of hours of tennis in. That's the time when they can really get a lot of balls, have a lot of hitting under their belt, do a lot of consistency and build a good, strong foundation and work through pain, work through days when they don't want to work hard, push themselves.
289 gets injured. This is the most frightening news for every young person, every young athlete, who achieves a lot, who is under stress to achieve, who is so young to have longer way but wants are] taking
290 during the formative years cause you can not only burn out mentally, but do in sports. Unless I was playing a tournament, like Friday night would come, and we would come back home from practice and he would take my rackets, put them in his car, and that was it. And then like, play soccer, go play basketball, go to the pool, go know he was really smart. It was a unique way of doing it but he was very smart, and I am really thankful for that. I would look out for kids that aren't having fun. You know I think that's when kids first start burning ou t, either mentally or physically. When the kid is not having fun or he's not enjoying himself, when he's always tired, when you always have to push him, whether it's the parent or the coach always having to push the kid. Then you know something is wrong... you not constantly but he's the one who's pushing you, or making the effort then I think you're fine. I think once that stops, then I think that is when you have to start asking yourself if they are getting burned out or not.
291 In short, players learn how to stretch their pain boundary to their annual, weekly, and daily schedules with the guidance of an ethical coach and parent who is focused on their well being. But when their pain boundaries are stretched too far by coaches and parents who do not have their well being as a priority, they can be disempowered. The pain boundary as it relates to the scheduling, or over scheduling, of training and competitions, is a site to analyze Foucauldian concepts of power; specifically, how technologies of the self can beco me technologies of domination. (Over)Dependence on Authority
293 I think the biggest problem with abuse in general and coaches are notorious for doing this is that they'll try to isolate you from your other supports. Say, become so depend ent on them that you are afraid to try and end the abuse. And it makes you ripe for all kinds of other behaviors. I mean very often you'll see athletes that are in those types of situations, whether it's sexual abuse or otherwise start engaging in risk tak ing behavior. Sometimes it will be eating disorders, sometimes it will be drugs, sometimes it's promiscuity, sometimes it's unnecessary risks, and sometimes that's about well maybe if I show you how fucked up I am, someone will pay attention and rescue me from this craziness. And it's also worth noting that they don't always realize th at that is what they are doing.
294 1 Physical Pain and Injury Tournament after tournament, I watched girls as young as ten years old compete with limbs wrapped with ace bandages, knees encircled by shock absorbing bands, and shoulders wrapped with ice as they out of the physical therapy room. Players tol d me of bone bruising, tendinitis, stress fractures, bulged disc s, strains, and over all inflammation in most parts of the body including the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, lower back, hip, knee, ankle and foot. C oach Linda explains the problem of injury bel ow: I became a personal trainer because of this there are so many injuries with the shoulders, the knees and the wrists. It's so common with a lot of players having this wrist pain, because your body is still growing, especially as a young child, and hit ting balls, each time you get more competition, each year you get stronger and stronger, your opponents get better so stronger balls are being hit at you. And then your wrists, there are so many tendonitis injuries or tennis elbow or things like that, def initely a lot of first injury shoulders from serving and not having the right technique yet, and not having a strong enough upper back or shoulders, the kids are just not trained well enough 2 1 2 For more information on common youth sport injuries, see Beil 1998, Hyman 2009, Gorman 2005, and Pennington 2005.
295 that showed up, someone had a stress fracture. I don't think in my four years there anyone had a stress f racture. Emotional P ain and Burnout I think I just knew when I needed a break, and I would say I need a couple of days off because it was a mental thing with me. The burnout wasn't physical, I didn't feel lik e I was physically unable to go out and play a nd run,
296 focus. It was more of a focus thing. I needed a vacation, to stay away for a couple of days. And at that point, in the j uniors, I mean, two or three days felt like a week destructive as explained in Chapter 3 T here is a lac in the junior tennis environment. Mother Nina says, B urnout exists because parents m ake their kids do s gonna be burned out. But as long as you r e making it fun and the c oach is having a good time an f you have no burnout if you love the [activity ]. I think people get tired of it and stuff because their parents are maybe like to the movies once in a They way of relief want to be in. If you're about to make them do a tough exercise and they know it and all of a sudden, they seem to have pain, you know it's fake...you can tell the attitude of the player is a little lethargic or they're not so motivated to come to practice, injuries more likely occur, or they say they have more injuries.... My players mostly have been pretty honest with me about having pain. I believe that they have pain. But on the days that they're motiva ted, they
297 work past the pain. On days where they're not motivated, they say it's too much for them to handle. So I believe that they have pain because it's normal, they're on court every day, and I have pains too, but now, being older, I know what pains I can work through and what I can't. When you're younger, you feel a pain and maybe get scared, and if you're motivated, you'll just move past it and it doesn't matter, but if you're tired and it's another hard day of practice and you know it, then it's s ort of a cop out, something to use as an excuse. So you have to recognize the attitude of the player their pattern... pressure also brings pain. I would hypothesize that every kid who goes through any kind of serious competitive tennis, probably burns out at some stage. The question is to let it just burnout and just die, or manage it until they come back agai n... You know sometimes I think you have to just tough through a little bit and just you know you have to manage it and slow things down. I take a whole different perspective on this. ers actually burn out. I think the p arents burn out. I really do. I think the parents burn out because, a lot of times the parents are living t hrough their kids, and the kids start to get older. Reality sets in, and the kid now has a boyfriend or a interest. And peop le think, well, they burn out. I think that if you are driven and you have passion, and you the parents. Parents either do not believe in burnout, as well, or simply do not know or recognize the signs because they are so focused on their chil d's tennis development and goal achievement. For instance, over a series of months training with a player, I recognized that he became more and more fatigued as he came out to practice. His
298 coach and I both felt that he did not want to practice because he was playing so much already with another academy. His schedule was packed with four hours of school, five hours of tennis and another two of fitness daily, and there were usually about five people watching him at tournament matches: his coach, fitness trai ner, parents, and me. The pressure, combined with the fatigue, seemed to weigh heavier on his shoulders each day as his shoulders seemed to droop and his movement became more sluggish as he approached the court. But the parents ended up blam ing the coach i nstead of the many hours a day they have him training. Even though his mother understood what burnout was, and described the symptoms, she did not recognize it in her own son. At once that he Existential P ain and Depression 3 3 This experience is very similar to Geurts 2002 concept of Gambian Chapter 3.
299 Going through all of that is exhausting mentally, and playing as you know is exhausting mentall y. Think about having to compete and focus and putting all your mental facilities toward that when your mental facilities are being drained because of everything else that you're dealing with. So, I felt like my competitive abilities were up and down. I wa s a good competitor. But there were so many days that I just could not put it together because I was so tired. I'd do well for two or three matches and then after that, it'd be mentally exhausting
300 4 I think tennis has an impact because they were very talented, very high level players. And there was something about that individual sport and the pre ssure of tennis that I think maybe pushed them over the edge. Not to say that it was exclusively the game, but there's something about the game associated with their personalities that I think contribute d to their demise. 4 Sports psychotherapist Tracy Hanlon addressed this in her lecture at the 2010 Annual onference.
301 When s acrifice becomes s elf harm Y ou have to do a lot of fitness, eat right, you have to play more tournaments, and more matches to make you more match tough, and then your level just goes more up. Don't eat a lot of junk food...And you have to be able to bend your knees. And you have to b e able to hit the ball. You can't push the ball and not bend your knees. become a lawye r, a doctor, anything from the discipline they learned all the years. Having to do fitness, and school, and tennis. You know hit balls over and over, it just makes college that much easier to come out with all the discipline you learned.
302 I would go out there and just force myself to go do it. I would pick a number in my head and I was gonna do it like even if I picked a h igh number, I was going to finish. And was gonna go, I would walk with a basket of balls, and wa s like okay I'm going to make twenty five serves there, there there, and there, then make thirty second serves in each box in a row or something like that, and I'm not leaving until I do that. And that was my discipline, I chose to do that, and I'm gonna do that... There'd be no problem to have a cookie, but, I would just do it because it was something I wanted to do and I would just not allow it...You have to b total B S it is 5 5 Examples of self harm is seen in other sports as well (i.e. Ryan 1995)
303 If you look at her left area on her leg...it's purple, blue and swollen. [I ask, because she hits her leg there?] Yes. She got a code violation at the very end of the match because she lost a tie break with somebody in her opinion she should never be on the court with 6 7 She definitely over ex since read about this, [worried about] borderline anorexia. You might have anorexic tendencies but you never become an anorexic. But definitely as far as calorie counting and increasing exercise because o f body image 6 Jones and Aitchison 2007 and Malina 2009 say that eating disorders can be sparked by coaches comments. 7 This is elaborated upon in the next chapter.
3 04 She has obviously always been bigger t han the average girl her ag e, taller as well as bulkier. And w e have had conversations where she tries to fall into that path that a lot of girls fall into whether they are athletes or not athletes... And you know the whole issue of the number on the sca le; I personally try to show her it differently. I mean as an athlete you really need to be thankful that you do have the ability to have muscle and that you have developed that muscle with your work. You should be proud of it, you shouldn't want to be s kinny just because like, and you are not fat. It is healthy, it would be unhealthy if you were the other way in my opinion. And you need that, you need what you have worked to achieve to help you power through the ball. But I don't think it is an e xtreme where you should take something to enhance your performance....She doesn't really say about restricting calories but she is body conscious and she does want a solid body Now the thing is to have muscles. Like [my daughter] was showing the big to be an athlete, a jock.
305 Some older players get mad, they say they don't wanna do it anymore. So they think tha t they can't really do it, so they just quit. At the young ages, they don't really say it as much. This summer before [last], listening to him and not having the strength saying no, that summer he wanted to continue [training] from the moment schools stopped. He went to the club the whole summer long. I was crazy. I was bringing him lunch because there is no good food and he was playing so hard. We were pretty disappointed with the program. At the end of A ugust, every time he came Long t erm e ffects of d isempowering p ain I'd like to believe that until now I did know when burnout was coming, but I'm well into burnout for the last few months... But I think my body, for me, even tho ugh my ulcerative colitis is in remission, that has typically told me when it's time to take a break, and I'll just sort of feel kind of queasy in the
306 stomach and it doesn't feel like a stomach ache or a cold, and it just clicks in my head. Actually, I'm probably really tired and stressed out and I've been ignoring those signs, and now this is your body shutting down now. Several former players express a dependency on stress to feel fulfilled, even though they dislike it. This exemplifies an embodiment of identity, explored in Chapter 3, through stress, pressure, self discipline, and burnout Former player Bonnie admits, run myself down, I get sick, and all these things happen, and then I do it all stop since I was born [with tennis], so I think as I feel the same way, it can also be exhausting. The loneliness and purposelessness of not having stress is overpowering She notes that she realizes that she is tougher, though, than other women who did no t play competitive sport. S till, she wonders if sh e is tough or if she is just used to tolerating abusive environments. While junior players learn how to overcome challenges, they become used to challenging environments. This can become an empowering trait that they carry through life in the work place an d interpersonal relationships 8 hardened to emotional challenges as well as blind to environments that are abusive to them. F ormer elite player Katie discusses this paradox of being tou gh while also aware of her tolerance of abuse: The positives [from junior tennis] are that I can pull through more than, certainly more than any other woman that I've met, almost to the level of [abuse]... I think still I get emotional than the equivalent man, but from a work perspective, I'm pretty tough. I can take it, take the feedback, and actually do something with it, instead of just breaking down and crying in tears. That's not to say that I haven't done that, but certainly the times that I have cri ed have been like, wow... I can't believe you haven't cried before 8 In sport, this is oft en seen when athletes discover more about themselves during injury or burnout (Orlick 1998).
307 now situations, where there's a lot of just abusive behavior going on.... I let shit go on longer than it should have, but just on a day to day basis, people know me as a person that they can count on to get things done, and I will make sure that they get done and not make these excuses of why it couldn't back and be better. So the mental toughness is still very much there. The amount of work that I and my friends are willing to take on is also tremendous. We're the hardest working people without complaining, which seems to go hand in hand. Or we bottl e it up until it explodes, which is still not good. But that's certainly some of the positives that as an employer you'd want to look for but maybe not as a spouse. 9 10 I've had four people come to me and say they had ulcerative colitis, too...I'm not surprised but I'm also kind of surprised that it keeps coming up on such high level tenn is players. But I think there's no question that you're this constant fight or what's g oing on hormonally, I think... I t just never goes away. Paradoxical Spaces o f Potential 9 Robson 2003 discusses the development of Over Training Syndrome as the result of a burnout and injury leading to cytokine sickness leading to chronic inflammation leading 10 disorder as a result of chronic stress (Benner 1998).
308 We thought she needed some different physical training than she was getting, so we did gymnastics on the side for a while. The whole stretching, what not. We did boxing on the side. That was her thing at that point in time. We kind of followed what a numb er of the Russians, including Maria [Sharapova]...They were doing all this cross training. So [my daughter] went to a lot of those same things. And we just felt that we were paying too much money and not getting precisely, the results. And not getting t he #1 spot. So it was to do the training. S o then we went to the cross training. Then we went to working with a f and it kept getting to a higher level. Then we went to a coach on sports psychology we go and work with a physical t hours of stretching a day... It was always trying, you know, it was never good enough. It was never quite enough, never quite, to win that last match that was gonna make the break through. That was going to, We had been trained for so long to do the best thing for our tennis. We the best
309 is something that I wanted, I felt like a failure when I finished I loved competition. I don't know what it was, but my friend, I went and met her to play tennis with her one day, and I just loved it. I loved the sport. That's just how I reme mber it. I didn't want to do anything else. I didn't want to hang out with my friends, I didn't want to do anything else, I just wanted to play tennis all day. And I don't kn ow what about it drew me to it. I just had so much fun. And I was good at it. 11 11 Coakley 1992, Donnelly 1997, Malina 2009, and David 20 04 are just some of the references highlighting the disempowering aspects of competitive youth sports.
310 A s long as the player is okay with it there, and they're fighting and they want to play, get them into tournaments as soon as possible because I think competition is motivating. And if they can't handle the pressure and they're not doing well, then you have to adjust and teach them that tournaments are fun. They don't have to look at it as a chore or it's so much pressure. Maybe there's someone putting too much pressure on them. But tournaments are really what tennis is all about, and if kids can't handle playing tournaments, then maybe they're just not meant to be a competitive player, maybe they're a player that just want to play for fun or a player that just wants to use tennis as a form of social izing or exercise. you know what I mean? The parent goes through that mourning process [after their kid quits] and o see, when you go from an individua
311 on the kid by the one parent. They just simply, because of their nature, they id [in tennis] because your kid is the only one on th e court, you see? e so competing. Y ou have to c and mostly because I was copping out Many playe rs quit because they want to explore a non tennis identity One mother, whose daughter quit at seventeen, talked to me about her daughter. She could ha ve gone on to play college tennis this mother said, but s he quit because of social reasons. She had no f riends in the tennis scene anymore. It seems that because she built her identity solely around tennis, she burned out on that identity. In some cases, quitting is the right thing to do for many players in order to find happiness and balance in their lives. commitment that should otherwise be kept, according to participants. Early Speciali zation or the Road t o Burnout ? 12 12 Many parents asked my advice about this and I would tell them that every child is different, but that the child should be the one urging parents to go p ractice, not the other way around.
312 Ju st like your little niece you want to develop. Start now with a ball on a rubber band, a gamma r eplacement ball, and a little ten dollar racquet at Walmart. And you move the ball where they swing the racquet because ball hit the racquet so many times, they have that hand eye coordination. you have to develop that as a youngster at one year old if you wanna m ake wanna develop like these kid s do, you have to play at least two hours a day. Between cones and ladders and fitness drills and medicine ball and weights. They say up 'til seven you can develop all the hand eye coordination. At seven they hav e what they have. And then by twelve years old, they say girls will have everything. Boys have a little longer
313 13 14 I have been going through burnout with her for the past eight months, and she said to me that she started play ing tournaments way too young. Three tournaments a month at nine I do year points, I was on the road every weekend, and I just stepped back and said frontal cortex. They are purely dealing wit h the emotional part of their brains. Their parents 13 Burnout in youth sports (i.e. Coakley 1992, Malina 2009) and in junior tennis (Gould et al. 1997) is the result of social issues in the sport context, not just psychological issues within the athlete. Over use injury is discussed as a consequence of early specialization (Malina 2009, Pickard 2007). 14 Malina 2009 mentions this, too.
314 are on my ass about getting their rankings up and worrying about their just being them right. They may be doing poorly at class or someone is making fun of re gonna make them crack...I want a [group] of coaches who actually care. Academies: The Next Step or Hype? at a tennis academy, but I hate the tennis academy movement. When I grew up, there were no tennis academies. In every city in America with players, there was a great role model and all the kids grew up emulating this role model. What started these academies, was you took these role models and brought them down to Florida for the academy. The role model around the country started to get very generic, and all the role models were down here. The problem with the academy system is that you cut out the nurturing
315 aspect of not a lot of unconditional love for the kids.
316 The academy was weird. Being there all day long and al l you do was talk about tennis and think about tennis, and there's definitely some sort of weird hierarchy of popu lar kids and not popular kids. You were popular because you were really good at tennis, and you were normally nice to other people. But if yo u weren't very popular and all you tried to do was kiss up to the good players and I didn't really understand the social rules of the academy in that sense. So I felt kind of lost. I just wanted to be friends with whomever why can't we talk to the m? Thi s was so weird.
318 15 15 Nixon II 1996 discusses this
319 willing to leave the family, or send their 13 year old child to [an academy] to be abused, okay. I would never send my child away for tennis. Are you insane? And I would never let a male coach travel with our fem ale daughters. Are you insane? We really wanted him to keep going to [the academy] to learn survival, but negative. W e went to hit this weekend, and I could tell he just gets so negative and down as soon as he walks through those doors. He changes state] to come down here, because he is so negative. Paradoxical Spaces of Morality
320 We had structure and focus, we were goal oriented, we stayed out of trouble. Sports made us kind of just focused on that and not other things that could get us into trouble. I think if you are in school, you do have your goals and focus and structure, but I think it's on a different level because you're putting yourself out there and competing. Whereas in school you take tests, e verybody does that. With a sport, you practice, you get really good at something, and then you put yourself on the line in front of people. There's pressure, there's a lot at stake. There's a lot because you know that you put in all this work, and now y ou have to show what you've done. And now you've got to not only show other people, but you have to prove it to yourself. So I think that builds a lot of character and confidence. I think if you gain that as a kid, you think that you can work hard and h ave results, and it's just building you into a better person. children; I want them to stay children. But my question is, I know tennis gave me a lot of structure and I definitely want my kids to have what sports gave me in that sense. I think sports helped me above and beyond normal p eople in career lives. I felt like I had a huge step up from the average person. That I would like to translate to my kids, but without them havin g to lose their childhood.
321 [My son] has learned accountability, to take responsibility for himsel f, that working hard pays off, when th how to be a good human and to deal with life. Just, even from a young age, it teaches you to be responsible, set goals, or work hard, and you know, just basic general life lessons that you learn a lot later on. I think in life as a regular kid, in tennis, you just le arn them early on because of the game itself, and what it teaches you: [that] things aren't always gonna go your way. matter how hard you work or how good you think you are at something, that you are not always gonna succeed. It teaches you to be r esponsible, and to set goals, and to have priorities. That there are consequences. If you want to, if you have a match at eight o'clock in the morning, and you want to stay up on your Nintendo until 3:00 in the morning, then you're probably going to lose. And, I learned all of that stuff kind of early so, I'm really thankful for tennis, and the junior e xperience was great. are so many problems out there in the world today. First, it gets the kids off But the fact t handle winning. You handle losing. Sportsmanship and physical fitness. There are so many things that tennis teaches you even more than team sports. So I think that those are the benefits. It teaches you how to compete in business as you get older... But all these other subplots you get from tennis are huge. The hard work, dedication, and being on tim e, and running for every ball. These things are huge factors that people that now are just on their iPod just texting all the time on the computer, or watching TV get a head start by learning all this stuff on the job doing something that you love and is fun. siness and learning to deal with office politics...when everyone else melts down, I feel serenity and
322 personality or if tennis had something to do with that. But the weird th ing is, scenario, I found it useful in other things. colleges. Most of them becoming doctors and lawyers now. Because they had such a high level intensity training all the time. They were just so discip lined... I can't see any of them doing what they're doing if they had not had the discipline on the tennis court. Law school can be a cutthroat environment... I don't want to do what I did in so many matches and mentally copout because it's easier not to go full on and put myself out there...it can be intimidating just to go to the law firm to interview, that's like going to my first super national And I definitely just remember those feelings like I'd go and see kids that just looked so intense, and yet you could tell they thought that they were good and that would intimidate me. I could ge t intimidated just watching kids practice...and I don't want to do that ever again...Just disciplining my life because without the tennis I don't know where I would've found that to do... A key theme in tennis, right? Persevering. Realizing you can be up and theme in tennis, as in a lot of competitive sports. But tennis is individual for the most part. You have to battle. It mirrors the battle that may be in the future, and ironically, a battle for life in the future...You can win or lose in your head before the first ball is hit something to be said for that in life too. You can overthink things, situations
323 where you worry yourself to death. You gotta compete, man... In t he big picture, she knows I could care less. This is tennis. Who gives a shit. Okay? When bullets fly, I hope she can unjam a Glock 19 under pressure, level 3 jam 16 16 Alkemeyer 2002, Wacquant 1995, and Downey 2010 discuss learning through body in sport, in general.
324 No one tells you that if you want to be successful in life, in general, you eally hard for that too. I think that would help so much...Coaches should translate the lessons they teach to life and how tennis fits into the bigger picture. They just say, wor tennis is the only thing to work hard for. Work Ethic: Practice Makes Perfect or Perfectionism ? 17 She just had an incredible work ethic, and that transferred to school and tennis and everything else. To her detriment, to the level that her workout ethic... Because she lets her sense of responsibility kind of overtakes her s learned now to keep more of that balance, but, to some degree, I think she had a really hard time letting go and not. to psychologists a couple of times about it. She says it always comes back to ten nis and [her] dad. 17 Appleton et al. 2009 show how perfectionism in junior athletes can lead to burnout.
325 nda hard to say. You have a three year old who dragging her dad out to hit balls, how many balls can she hit over the fence. Maybe that would have happened anyway. I saw perfectionism expressed in many different ways among junior players: staying after to regular training sessions to ...It sounds a little crazy but to be a tennis player I think it's have to be different you have to have somethin g different about you b ecause you have to enjoy suffering a little bit. Like you have to enjoy working your butt off and going to play a tournament, and losing the first round. And you're like, I just worked for two weeks, cramp ed three days out of the two weeks, killed my body, I come here, and I lose first round... I think maybe it does attract that kind of mentality, or people with that kind of mentality. But then once you've been in the game long enough, I think you start to develop that mentality...You've got enjoy that time while you're training and pra cticing and working.
326 Sports ? going there and playing even if you played the most beautiful p owerful tennis you are not behaving well, people will not like you. People do not like bullies on the court, people do not like bullies on the grass when they play soccer, people do not like people who are rude or showing how powerful they are because they ings like lying and cheating. I o be a little bit mischie[veous], but the re are fine lines [t o be a good sport]
327 18 and shake hands at the end. And when they come off the court they c an they step on that court. And they just have to go out and fight like a dog ugly world...Like this morning, [my son] was playing a match. It was 5 5 the 1st serve when [my son] called it out. But it was two seconds late [which is against it early enough. But [my son] said that he did the same thing to him in the 1st set but gave it to ]. The father was just there watching, not doing anything... You just grow up to be a mean, mean person when you do Cheating: le arning to cope with deception or learning to deceive ? 18 However, some parents did pull their kids off the court with this behavior something that many parents congratulate but will usually not do themselves for fear of sacrificing the
328 I was told when I first came here and [my daughter] was training for a few months and didn't play any tourname nts and then she was just getting ready to play a tournament and one of the dad's whose girls played, one was l oose which side of the coin you are coaches, I see it with players, a nd I'm just, i t sickens me. It really does. The environment of cheating is almost encouraged because you can win. And if you can win, and do it again. You gotta do it, but I never did it. S ome coaches and parents teach their students to cheat in order to get the upper hand in matches, both in score and in psychological intimidation of the opponent. At one tournament in my first month of field research, I watched as a player badgered her opp onent to show her the mark of a ball that the opponent called out. Even though the ball was clearly out, she used this tactic of intimidation to convince the opponent that she was wrong so that she would overturn her call. The opponent, indeed, gave in bec ause she could not find a mark, even though the rules do no t obligate her to find one. The rules state that a player is responsible for her own calls on her side of the court and does not need to have a mark to prove it. But the opponent in this case felt call. This is a common occurrence as players know there is social capital attached to the behavior they exhibit on the court. Players sometimes choose to give the benefit of the doubt to their opponents in order to possibly form alliances with them later on in the
329 tournament or in their career for companionship, moral support during other matches, doubles partners, hitting partners, travel partners or a chance at legitimat e friendship. Other players choose to forego the chance of forming alliance in order to take intimidation in this particular situation, the intimidating player lost. As a result, this player sort to intimidation to win. F orm er player Don describes what it i s like to be cheated and intimidated like this: with bull do, and I knew it was working, and I would get more mad you know? One player bragged to me in an interview about how he intimidate s his opponents. I watched him do this during a tournament match as he played mind games with his opponent. For instance, w hen his opponent called the ball out, he continued to play the point and hit a winner, even though the opponent stopped play ing The to intimidate him. The oppone yelled at his son t o just play. T his participant had a reputation of manipulating the score and cheating among his player peers. It is very likely he did these things because he is desperate to impress his father. Because parents put so much emphasis on winning, pleasing the parents is a big incentive for players to cheat In this particular parent child dyad, the child garnered most of his attention from his father from tournament matches
330 like this. It is possible that this participant saw cheating as, not only a strategy to win, but as a strategy to win any type of attention from his father (even if it was negative) In this case, cheating can be used as a technology of the self by players. However, it might also be seen as a coping strategy for losing (i.e. at least he coul d feel in control of the mental manipulation of his opponent even if he was not in control of the score.) Int imidation and manipulation take other various forms during match es, too : changing the s core, calling a ball out that i p lay the point, using bathroom breaks to change the momentum of the mat ch, etc. When I asked mother Tina if she saw coaches teaching their players to cheat, she said yes, and struggled with the ethics about how to deal with that: Yeah. And you know even the advice, it is like you are out there and you are in the middle of a match and you are losing it and you know, well, you is if they have to go to the bathroom. But is it really? I don't know. I don't know quite how t o stand with that. There are so many craz y parents. My dad had signs that he'd give me when I was twelve Like if he ran his hand here through his hair, turned his hat backwards... My coach had those signs, too. It's cheating. I didn't really have a say. I definitely knew it was cheating. I d idn't really like it. But I never said anything about it...I was coached, if I got cheated, to cheat back...That was my coach. But my dad didn't say anything about it. Nor did anyone. I If he chea cheating back. I got yelled at so many times for missing line calls or close calls that I left in that were out, I got yelled at for that all the time. If I got cheated, and I didn't cheat back, I definitely got yelled at...But I wouldn't say that it was just my coach telling me to cheat. It was pretty common to see cheating back. I think it's really tough to control. I think the cheating comes from the pressure. It's like, you hav e so much pressure to win, and you have to. Close calls are out. Winning is r e ally everything. No one wants to lose, obviously, and you continue in the tournaments. You get better, you
331 get higher ranked. If you lose first round in every single tournamen t, versus if you win and you continue, it could be the difference between going to college or not going to p lay tennis. Several participants remarked at how well junior players learn to deceive and manipulate the umpire For instance, mother Nina points ou t, I 15, you say [your up] 40 15 and [the umpire just makes them go back 40 and you come back to 15 all and have another chance to win the game. And the parents are standing on the side telling them what to say every ut of control now. Totally out of control. h garbage and sometimes the referees just pander and he thought I had made a bad a call, so my next sec o nd serve hit dead center in the service box, he just called it out and went to the point. And I was flabbergasted that that could happen. And I got a referee so I could And I was people watching what because he knew this kid and he did not like this kid. And the tournament kick you out of the tourname something like t hat handled. C heat ing parents. Parents not only have been known to teach their kids to cheat and manipulate their opponents or umpires, they do it themselves by talking to their players through the fence and giving them hand signals (both are forms of coaching that are against the rules). I watched as one father scratched hi s head in certain ways as his ten year old daughter looked up at him from the court between
332 points. But since the umpire cannot tell the father to stop scratching his head, the other player was left crying on the sidelines feeling helpless and outmatched by the father daughter team. Another father was notorious for doin behind the back of the court and acting like he was talking on his phone but really he was coaching his kid. He was banned from tournaments for six months for getting into a fight with another parent who accused and confr onted him about it. Here, an umpire voices her frustration with this very common occurrence and questions what the parents are actually teaching their kids: I j ust had a situation with coaching during a match. It was so obvious. I coded the player, told th code the player with a point player. The parent told me to get out of here. So the player did it again and she had to code her a point penalty. So, what parents stand right there and signal to the players all the time bigger and stronger, and therefore win more easily, against players i n their division (who are actually a couple of years younger) 19 Mother Tina explains: of these kids aren't the right age, we know that their nationality isn't [what they say it is] bu t when they come here from a foreign country and they have a birth certificate and it has been altered or changed, whatever, who t is like, really? Performance enhancement drugs Some parents who are d riven to make their children successful, no matter what the ethical boundaries they must cross, go so far as to find a doctor who will administer human growth hormone (HGH) injections to their 19 This is a common occurrence across youth sports (Malina 2009:S7).
333 child in order for them to grow taller and stronger than t heir peers 20 There is no way to test whether someone has been injected with HGH and it is a legal hormone for children who have deficient growth hormone naturally, so it is a common suspicion of children who are taller than their parents. Many parents say they hear rumo rs that certain players go to Europe to get the injections and return after a few months to have grown a foot talle r. But it is very difficult to verify if this is true because it is such a secretive thing as is evident by th e following conve rsations with a f ormer professional player, Henry, who became a junior coach: I think [human growth hormone is used in junior tennis]. You see, I mean, when I played junior tennis you saw a lot in Europe. I have friends that are European tennis players th at are on tour now, and that were on tour when I played, I [used performance enhancement drugs] because I needed a little help...[They don't regret it], not at all. I don't particularly agree with it but, yeah. You are going to start seeing it, or see it right now... And there is no testing in Junior tennis anyway, so you are not going to catch it even if there is. Father Clark also sees the use of HGH in junior tennis : The whole pla ce is just a bi g juice fest!... Y co mmon ones testosterone and HGH w hich are naturally occur ring. They just make them [have it] at higher levels. I know many, many kids who are on it, who have taken it. No names. Pros, human growth hormones and [girls] take it extra six inches over what they we re supposed to be. 20 Coakley 2006a, Hoberman 1986, and Malina 2009 discuss the use of performance enhancing drugs in youth sport.
334 [The pro tour] is behind it. Henin pul led out just before the French open. ament. Nadal pulled out of his Grand S lam just out of the blue. Agassi went from superhuman at age 35 just after th e Australian Open to normal in three mon ths. Yeah, right. Consider how long it took to f ind out about Lance Armstrong 21 Some parents and coaches talk about it with disdain and that it creates an unfair playing field for those who do n ot want to take the substances. Others, even despite their disdain and recognition that it can cause health pr oblems such as cancer, reproductive problems, and genetic code alteration in the future 22 say they would do it for the competitive edge if they had the money Mother Nina admits to this : You can go to Russia, supposedly you only take a shot or two in Russi a, in because they have the mon to take it. I mean, I think if I had the money I might jump on it... Because everybody e lse is doing this. Several parent s say that the larger academies in Florida offer to contact players with doctors who will prescribe HGH if they want a boost in their physique and game This : 21 At the time of writing, Armstrong confesse d his use of performance enhancement drugs after years of denying it. 22 Performance enhancement drug use could be seen as a public health issue as its use is trickling down to the high school sports arena and is not limited to the baseball and football fie lds anymore.
335 I have been told that, especially at the academies, like bigger acade mies, like [famous international academy] in particular, that if you haven't r eally developed by the age of fourteen then that is a very general question that you get asked; if you are wanting to do to, you know, up your chances [to be a great player]. Y ou're good but you will never achieve greatness unless you have the size coupled with your skills. Coping with cheating W hile many players learn how to be good sports and to cope with injustice through the situations they experience with cheating opponen ts, only breeds good sportsmen and women and teaches life lessons of fairness and justice, it also breeds the dark side of competition and teaches kids how to be dece ptive and deviant. It depends on the guidance these players have. And, as many coaches parents, and player reiterate it is one of the biggest concerns for the players. Not only do they have to train for their matches but they learn to be hyper vigilant a gainst heat and intimidate them. As coach Brandon put s it, Tennis is such a unique sport with the self policing calling your own lines her These kids, emotionally, this sport takes a whole differen t toll on you.
336 nonsense, because you Because this is the skill set she needs: how is she gonna handle it? You will she mentally and get the tournament director. Does she know the steps to take care of herself? care less a bout any of that. telling me? Whatever! What a ridiculous statement! [he says with disdain]. Somebody like that is insane. Think how stupid that sounds. What you want, parents who have a brain in their head, will want [the opponent] t o cheat [their kid] to death! B ecause w hen you come out to bum cousins are calling the lines in Ecuador, you better be able to handle it, man! You know ?
337 our kids were bullied badly here, but you have to learn how to handle it. There are three ways to handle it: be a wimp, a jerk, or a man/woman. At they back down. And a lot of coaches teach kids to be bullies by getting and strategically to become top dog, to back them down. Accuse them o f bad line calls, call the ref, their backing them down. Most of them are a wimp first, and then they lose. Being a jerk is better than being a wimp, but natural progression to becoming a man. Strong ce state. Societies have referees .] Now the more referees we got, the worse things have been amplified. Obnoxious, manipulation of the rules, and pragmatic approaches. bad people from doing bad things. What it do es is it pushes around the manipulate the rules. If you had a police man on every corner, do you think that would keep bad people from breaking rules? No it just stimulates the level of devian scared to death of messing up and scared to death of the criminals. Management of emotions: productive aggression or destructive anger ? The paradox of anger is apparent, as discussed in Chapter 5. How coaches and parents teach youths to express their emotions is also very complicated. While they encourage sportsmanship, they also en courage ferocity and aggressiveness. One of the most common things a coach can be heard telling a player for instance, is
338 S ometimes coaches use sport psychologist Dr. Mitch Abrams (sports psychologist) told me, January 2012, the right way can be a very powerful fuel ed that it gets out of control and about how to use anger in a productive way by channeling it into a stroke, throw, kick, or spr int. So, while competitive junior tennis ca n be an outlet for anger, it may also be an instigator and catalyst for anger This is another example of the paradox of power within junior tennis. On one extreme, encouraging kids to express no anger can make them evere, when down in the score or bullied/ intimated by the opponent. O n the other extreme, anger that is bottled up without being properly channeled can be expressed outside of the sport context and can result in deviant behavior (Coakley 2006 a ). Some playe rs internalize their self hatred during these frustration and aggression. So instead of publicly humiliating herself by yelling, she hit and pinched herself in private. In this way, expressive anger may be more empowering than keeping it all in. Thus, anger is another example of the simultaneity of technologies of the self and of dominati on. Confidence: individualism or narcissism ?
339 If there's negativity with the parents, there's negativity in the team, then it will show in the player, because the player will feel it around people that she's that close with around this height ened environment. There needs to be people believing in her and supporting her and telling her she's the best and just confidence. The players just need to constantly be fed confidence. I t's so important Coaches have the responsibility of growing their athletes into collaborative partners instead of keeping them as dependents...[but] some coaches p refer their athletes to be dependent so [that] they don't argue. When had responsibility or learned critical life skills, they have trouble transitioning into life outside sport an be developmentally arresting.
340 23 I was definitely more bratty. I was definitely felt like I was... When you're playing an individual spo you are going to decide the outcome of the match. Your teammates aren't going to do it, you can't turn and look at anyone, place any blame anywhere besides yourself. That's how I've kind of lived my life. But it works both ways. If I lose, it was my fault, but if I win, it was me. I did it. I definitely, now, take matters into my own hands. Like in tennis, I got to play an individual sport, I've been dependent on myself a lot more than other people. B ut that hurts me, too. I have serious issues asking other people for help. I don't ask anyone for help. I never tell anyone what's going on inside of my head. I never share feelings or anything like that. I think that tennis has helped or caused that. But I definitely think that tennis has made it harder for me to express myself. I don't talk to anyone about my feelings When kids get sassy and nasty with the refs, they should get penal killing me that they let these snotty, bratty kids rule the court. And the refs stand there like they are afraid to do anything. I think they are afraid of the players and their parents. you think they are better or worse than you. Your job is to play your b est no matter what. The older kids play with the younger kids and get a great our life, you got problems. T ennis is a microcosm of life...I f gonna become unglued from a tennis match, what's real life gonna do to yo u? 23 This is elaborated upon in the next chapter.
341 culture. Everything they do is reactive: they listen to their iPod listen to their coaches; everything they do they become robotical. Development is not problem. We teach how to be an asshole first, then lover of the game. The kids so they quit. We fabricate our achievements. We are so good at between a diamond and a rhinest one in our society. Coach Frank goes on to say that talented players are discovered and then coddl ed by the USTA system which eventually disempowers them: You can make them feel unique by being hard on them and showing you them with wildcards. But then we weaken them that way. W e turn them into b to the elements. He points out the difference between self esteem and confidence: Self esteem and confidence are different. Self esteem is learned through unconditional love in the home by age 6. They will probably be confident their whole lives. Confidence you earn through your accomplishments. It other...[ As coaches ] we treat people differently. Summary This chapter discusses the paradoxical spaces in performance enhancement, particularly the ways in which players develop their sense of self through experiences of pain, conceptions of potential, an d learni ng of morality. Players are constantly negotiating the pain boundary and moral lessons in order to reach their potential: how far to push the pain boundary and in what moral manner in order to enhance performance but not so much that it hurts them or tak e s them out of the game or
342 bodies and conceptions of sportsmanship, for instance, to win and gain status i n the junior tennis community. B ut if they get injured or ca ught cheating, they will be forced out of the game and suffer the consequences to status. S o much of the time, they push too far past these boundaries, or are pushed by coaches and parents, and do not recognize it until they experience a loss of power. B ecause of the power roles that coaches and parents play, and the power that players have instilled in themselves to enhance their own performance, few are paying attention to the long term well being and identity formation of junior players. Often, if a pa rent voices concern, the player will ignore the warnings and that parent feels compelled by the sport ethic to continue. T he power that the sport ethic has over junior tennis participants influences the parent (and coaches) too. The costs of performance en hancement outweigh the benefits when the results are physical and emotional burnout, abuse of power, deviance, and/or entitlement; even if winning accompanies these costs. But c oaches and parents often do not recognize it until later when players experienc e chronic, life long injury, illness, abuse, harassment, and depression. While players' sense of well being can become enhanced through lessons of discipline, sacrifice, work ethic, sportsmanship, and emotional regulation, it can also be harmed through ov erdependence on authority, injury, burnout, self harm, learned deceptiveness, pent up aggression, and narcissism. As discussed in Chapters 4,5, and 6, for technologies of power to be empowering for the individual, they must be done with the focus of well b eing to be considered technologies of self; otherwise, they do more to reaf firm the dominant power. T raining and competition rituals that are intended to
343 empower (as technologies of the self) can become disempowering (as technologies of domination) in cert ain aspects when the player and authority figures around the player, practice these rituals without reflexive focus on the player's liminal status and well being. The examples I use to show how certain practices can be both technologies of the self and t echnologies of domination, de pending on the context, suggest the players and youth athletes in general. Potential is a concept that can make players feel confiden t about their place in the social order of junior tennis and the larger social Pain is something that players endure in order to strengthen themselves to meet adversity on the court, and in life. But experiencing pain too far past their pain boundaries can make them less able to meet adversity with injury and burnout. At the same time, though, players can feel empowered through their injuries and burnout when it helps th em know their boundaries and gives them status in the sport world (Pickard 2007, Nixon 1992, Young 2004). Moral development through tennis includes lessons of work ethic, sportsmanship, fair play, emotional management, and confidence building. But taken t o extremes, these moral lessons may result in perfectionism, reduced competitiveness, pent up anger, and narcissism. T hus, t here is a point at which technologies of the self can become technologies of domination, and sometimes they coexist and intertwine in the same practice, as introduced in Chapter 4. To ensure that the player is empowered through these practices of junior tennis, the dynamics that players have wit h their coaches and parents
344 prioritize a focus on well being. This is done through constan t r eflexive perspectives on training practices, and how they are a ffecting players' long term and holistic well being. T hrough ethical self care self stylization, and critical self awareness as Markula 2003 also points out, on the part of all three parti cipants of the power molecule (parents, players, and coaches), junior tennis practices are prone to be more empowering overall for players As a result the liminal youth athlete may emerge from the physical and emotional demands of training and competitio n and a conditioned commitment to the sport ethic a s both a strengthened and weakened performer and person, depending on the context. This is especially important to recognize for emotionally dependent youth athletes who want to conform to the standards of the training environment and their coaches' and parents' expectations but who may not understand the difference s between empowering pain which extends the pain boundary, and debilitating pain which may be unrecoverable. But a s they become more experienced athletes learn the difference between empowering and debilitating pain. While this chapter focuses on the well being and self making within individual players (psychological and physical issues), Chapter 8 will discuss players' well being and self makin g in the social environment of junior tennis (among peers, family, and the larger social structure).
345 Figure 6 1. Surveillance t ower Figure 6 2. Long view of co urts
346 CHAPTER 8 EMBODIME NT OF IDENTITY AND WELL BEING : TENNIS AND NON TENNIS SOCIAL WORLDS Paradox ical Spaces o f Tennis Identity I was seventeen I've never taken this much time off from tennis hat don't think I started to figure it all out I'm still in the process of figuring it out. But I think only within the last few years that I started thinking, never was given throughout my lifetime the really tends to make me struggle, because nothing grasps my attent ion the way that it did wi th tennis. ng
347 attention, but I tried to not be tennis girl...It's a very weird thing. I'm proud of how far I've come, but also not wanting to be known like that, there was this inner conflict that was starting to develop around high school...I think there were times inside the family, too, where if I didn't play tennis, who would I be, but I didn't really have a chance to explore that, because I had always played tennis. 1 I felt like tennis was always sort of my outlet, like I just wanted to be myself and be free and away from fighting, because there was always fighting at home, so I really enjoyed getting away from the tennis court where no one could yell, so that also sort of motivated me. Sometimes you hear about kids, and this wasn't my circumstance, I didn't grow up poor, but you hear about kids who were really poor and had to fight their way up, so you have to find a way to achieve greatness, and they had to fight their way out of it your tennis. [My daughter started doing that and I made her stop for two confidence took a nose 1 Weiss 2002 points this out about gymnasts.
348 pro. school or college or try to be top 100. But I think its parents and coaches [putting the pressure on to be the be so much harder. It would define me a little bit like if I had had a couple wins in a tournament I Let the child be. Granted, I probably wouldn't have gotten as far as I did if I hadn't been pushed, so there is a place for it. It's tough...It teaches you the value of dedication and hard work Don't let them quit. But don't let kids base their own self worth upon results because it doesn't matter
349 of my life, and now I'm less than average. I don't have this thing that makes me special. And former player Bonnie reiterates this point of not being special after retirement and feeling lost; perhaps another form of liminality as players find themselves between tennis identities and post tennis identities: ny other things or what to do I wasn't next in life. It wasn't enough for me to just make a living, but I actually wanted to be som ething but I didn't know what or how to get there, and it was really tough...I tried to be normal. But I felt I wasn't educated to do anything except teach tennis. Former player Rita says she returns to tennis when she needs to find her true self: When I q uit playing at 25...I was really at a loss for how I fit in the court for a month or two, and then be done with it because the happy People would [introduce me as a tennis player] like a job title that we were given sin
350 Friendships I h ave friends all over the world. 90% of my friends are all because of tennis like a lot of the things that I have experienced or have, or anything, have all been through tennis; f rom my job now to friendships th at I've had forever. I just didn't feel like part of [the junior tennis scene], and kids were nice; that wasn't the problem. I just didn't feel like part of that crew of kids and I guess
351 the competitive atmosphere, a little bit at least the kids from Florida, they it sepa rate and, also, when I got to tournaments they just made it such a big deal. I was way too serious about it. I knew some players that went pro along with me... Mos tly the girls that I got to know when I started playing, some girls got into the 300s and couldn't get any higher. Then I sort of lost touch with them. I didn't really focus on making friendships except for o ne particular girl on the tour. It's not a healthy environment, it's not emotionally healthy, and I wasn't happy. I didn't know how unhappy I was until I made the decision to move on within a couple of months. It's a very emotionally draining [environment]. There's very little emotional support between the women on tour, unless you have familiarity ties or an entourage. It's just very difficult.... Former player Rita also s ays, And former player Tracey explains the diff erence between tennis and a team sport:
352 A lot of it was the people. A lot of the tennis girls are mean and intense, and nobody really wants to be friends or anything. really a very individual and head to head sport. It was really tough mentally so it kind of wore on it's a lot more fun [than tennis]. Preadolescent player, Skye, acknowledges this complexity in friendship as well: and then there are the people that will talk to you and end up being your friend. Parents are c ut really? Mother Nina seems to prefer this mentality: n their stop all the pressure, win or lose, you can be friends. But the second you hen you step on the tennis court. be so closed off and competitive in junior tennis: My dad wanted me to turn pro. He did not want me to go to college. I went to college, thou gh, specifically for that; I wanted to be human. I wanted to that social connection with people [i n juniors].
353 I had no social life as a child, as an adolescent. My social life was with people si gnificantly younger than me or significantly older than me. I remember Jennifer Capriati at a national tournament, and I remember ch on the weekends because I would have to go to tournaments down in Miami which meant having to leave the house at 5:00 in the morning to get to an 8:00 match. Every tournament seemed to fall on a major social life event. I never went to birthday parties. had my tennis. I feel like it took my childhood away. And Katie says, Keeping friends is hard, because everyone wants to go out on Saturday night and I'm flying out to Tennessee toda y to play in that tournament. 2 2 Weiss 2000 shows this with his work on gymnasts.
354 The flipside [to having few non tennis friends], is that when I was in school, e. The good part was that I felt like I excelled at something so I never felt like I had to impress people or [succumb] to peer pressure. Parents, like Nina, who take a more authoritative approach, reiterate this idea that the loss of a childhood and non t ennis social life is a price to pay for success, as expected: You miss a lot about being a tiny little kid. Doing all the little things like slumber parties, birthday parties, cake and ice cream and all these things you don't get, but you know, you ask my older daughter [who's] 24 years I've been to every country in the world. And you know by the time I was 16, eigh it. You don't wanna take a child that has no chance ever at becoming a pro and take away their chi ldhood for tennis. Coaches, like Ang, who take a more authoritative, even oppressive, approach to guiding players see it as more black and white a decisi on. A narrowing of identity, he says, is necessary to become a great player: You have to basically devote your life to becoming a professional tennis player, not that you can neglect other aspects of it, but you know your social life, your academics, they come second or third after the tennis. If that's that you want. daughters are missing anything by focusing all of their energies on tennis during high school. She and her da ughter go back and forth between whether to have more of a non tennis identity or whether to just focus everything on tennis. This is
355 another example of the liminal experience of identity formation between tennis and non tennis worlds: She has to think abo ut things that, in my mind, normal teenagers don't think about. Or don't think about very much. She has to think about a tournament schedule, what she eats.....how early she really needs to be here..and what does she need to be doing in the gym today. And I know teenagers are busy, but she's here at 7:30 in the morning a nd gets done at 6:45 at night. She's got that time in the middle to eat some food, and study, drink some protein and I mean it's...she has a couple of lockers in there but, you know it's not like hanging out in the hallways with your friends passing notes...she doesn't get any of that She went through a period where she thought she was missing out on some stuff. But when we talked to her, she sort of started looking at things with a different spin. hard to have for her, I mean girlfriends is very difficult. The ones who don't play tennis, don't get it. They are kind of out of the loop. The girls that do play tennis, there is such tha t competition between them...They can't let that guard truly down. We were very unbelievably fortunate that there was a girl she considered a best friend. We became friends with the family.... They were good like that and when a tournament was over, we alw ays made an effort to go out to dinner or go to their house or our house. That was a great experience for her ...[She started realizing] you get to do different things together then what those [other non tennis] kids are doing. Once she started thinking th at way and the freedom connection with moms now is because it is like high school. And when you were in high school, you were very task oriented. You were focused on your tennis. You had a mission to compete. Yo blend in, to find your group. So, now, you are task oriented and focused on s
356 3 4 5 3 This changes, however, once players start touring the international junior and professional circuits a s they must learn to depend on players at their same age and playing ability for hitting partners, doubles partners, and general companionship as these tournaments can often be far from home. This is when players learn the paradox of sport of being both co mpetitive and cooperative with each other. 4 This type of sheltering is a big reason, coaches and parents say, why girls become romantically involved with their coaches who are often their most intimate male relationship at an age where girls start to desi re male attention. 5 Messner 2003 discovered this about elite male football players
357 With tennis, it's about going to one point to the next and not letting things bother you, so whatever emotion y ou have, you try to regain your focus and move to the next game, next point. If you lose the first game, you get killed, you just kind of forget it and move on, and growing up, one of my biggest strengths was that I had always been written up by kids that said that was my strength mental toughness, and being able to pull a major comeback through not really ever falling apart. So I think about that, and it's this thing that you're not able to express feelings...That is the way to deal with things that co ntinue to come up and impact me as I've been getting older and is a big topic of debate with my therapist...It's the exact opposite of what you want to be as a human being, but exactly what you want for a tennis player to be successful, and there's a major conflict there. I think the major reason that I started seeing a therapist is because I'm not re closed them because they don't force [me to open up, and they're just sticking around and [I'm] never really going to get close to anyone if I kee p going after people like that.
358 And you see all the new parents [being] friends wi th each other. Um, when out there for a social party. Edu cation 6 7 daughter saw the whole world, traveled the whole world, to every country in 6 Malina 2009 and Coakley 2006a point out the priority of sports over education in a school setting. 7 Refer to Chapter 3 for further discussion.
359 trade it for anything else. Now al l my friends have graduated college and the whole And Bonnie says, made me the person I am today. I have such an open I kn ow some of the issues that some of the kids have here is seat time. They can be the best student in the class but because they may have to leave early on Friday to travel to a tournament, and if it is a tournament that happens to hold over until Monday an d Monday doesn't happen to be a school holiday, they made it all the way deep enough into the draw to warrant being there on a Monday. A kid could very easily fail a class based on not being there regardless of work that had been turned in. And I have a hard time with that. You are punishing this player that is obviously h andling both well!
360 much [homewo rk in regular school]. Now you can actually see their quality this homeschooling for different reasons. We really just want to optimize time and I think he can learn even better in this limited tim e in this setting. I like homeschooling, I like it better. I get to play a lot more tennis. ... I can do it at my One of the biggest reasons parents pull their kids out of public or homework. It is not uncommon for players to stay up until midnight finishing their four hours of homework because they were at practice until 7:00 pm. As m other De b says, I want him to focus on the things that will make him really happy, and they whole process of learning and discovering the wor ld, not like wasting time on a hundred what schools are mis sing today. It is incredibly challenging, when you look at the tournament schedule, the practice schedule, and everything that, you know, for all four years that you the high school years, getting ready to go there, there are kids that, I think, that is why so many kids end up quitting school
361 Depending on the level of involvement of the parent, I think it could be an incredible education. But, it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort...from the parent and child. Bot h personalities have to go together. My kid is easy...She takes it very serious. She also knows that if she isn't...it all ends. l home school student, you have to be extremely self motivated be very disciplined and self motivated so I think that that, in itself, he was very extremely respons ible as far as home schooling. 8 8 Malina 2009 discusses this too.
362 I went to public school through middle school and high schoo l...and I felt that was huge for me. It kind of, it didn't make tennis feel like a job. Which I am totally against now. I think a lot of kids are doing homeschool now, or the majority is And there's so many things that you learn at school, whether it's re learn in school that you just don't learn with home school [like socializing with people who aren't tennis play lucky as you are. Whether it is in your family situation or your personal situation or are lucky enough to have a talent that you have to do something, and you really appreciate what you have a lot more. I feel schoo l is so good for the kids... I mean I feel like if it's all about tennis, at some poin t, like, when kids turn fifteen they are going to wonder what else is there and they're going to lose their focus anyway. think there are enough hours in the day to do everything [both school and six weeks, I ended up getting the highest grades in the class. I would often tell teachers that I was going to a tourn best case scenario, if a child is pursuing something and they want it, school leave out the social aspect. They have to be involved in something. If I had to do it again, I wish I had had a more social aspect [to my life ].
363 Thus, the paradox of on line education is that it can be both empowering as a technology of the self and disemp owering as a coping mechanism to survive in the tennis world. It reduces the stress level of junior players and allows them to have a more flexible approach to their tennis and schooling. But it also reinforces the narrowing ch makes it difficult for them to reconcile their liminal status in both the tennis and non tennis worlds. While it may seem empowering in the immediate tennis world, they may be missing the preparation and socializing skills that they will need for colleg e and adulthood. While the tennis world provides some of these skills, especially those pertaining to exposure to a multi cultural peer population, they may not be readily transferable to situations outside of tennis unless coaches and parents guide them t o use those skills in these ways. Ultimately, the coaches and parents who use power approaches within the zone of optimal empowerment, as discussed in Chapters 4, 5, and 6, guide players to use tennis as a tool for life rather than teaching them that tenni s is life (which abusive coaches may teach). Family Dynamics
364 It's been great, I think it's because everyone plays tennis. I think it 's been, at different levels...everybody's got that shared experience [of]...getting on the court and playing matches against...kids that are jerks....winning tough matches, losing tough matches, they've had that shared experience which in a lot of ways ha s bound the kids together.
367 I came to this realization and said to my dad co too, because it's such a hard thing to say and I've never brought it up since. But I know that period of time, my mom really blamed my dad for making me sick, even though it was lik can't really do anything about it.' [ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease which is hereditary and triggered by chronic stress] but she was s hear this second hand from my sisters years later, but yeah, I think there was a lot of internal family turmoil after that, and I think that changed the way my dad worked with me after that point I started realizing that [my father] was putting his dreams on me, and now I realize even more that th at was like... really tough because here I was working trying to become this incredible tennis player and got really sick... that's sort of in the past, so I'll just leave it there. There was a sense of when I d idn't win a tournament because I had always been #1 in the eastern region. So if there was no winning in the end, coming home with the trophy, it was no good. But I did notice that there was a lot more tension in the house... Just little things... Peopl e would not be as happy and laughter filled home if I didn't win. So at some point, I there weren' t enough people there to sort of suggest that, but at the same time, I don't think I would've been able to hear it if someone had suggested it
368 My older two sisters also played tennis, not as intensely as I did, they had quit during college, but they had also gone to therapy, and I had always felt like they had it a lot harder and tougher as my dad wa s trying to figure out how to be a good coach/father, and I felt like he sort of experimented with them. I think I have a little guilt towards that. I think it's wor th it, because I think I'm still very much in denial of the fact that it was at all an abusive relationship. My therapist would agree with me, which is why I still find myself making excuses as to why we would sit on our heels for an hour and a half or tw o hours getting lectured over and over again about why that match was bad. But to me, it's just part of [our] culture. It really is, we used to, if you were really bad, you sit on your heels. No, he didn't hit this. But in the overall picture, I got to go all these amazing places and do amazing things, and got to go to [a top college] and got a free ride. I now have a great job. So I think after all is said and done, yeah, I think it was worth it, but I don't think I had any choice.
369 I have a younger brother. He initially wanted to play tennis. But when he started taking lessons and started to see everything that I went through, he was li he wouldn't have to play Former player Rita notice how different she and her brother are because of tennis: where my boundaries were placed, it was always because of tennis. They always revolved around tennis, [so that] we get mad at tennis but not at But he did.
370 My parents were always fighting and got separated for a while, I felt like tennis w as always sort of my outlet, like I just wanted to be myself and be free and away from fighting, because there was always fighting at home, so I really enjoyed getting away from the tennis court where no one could yell, so th at also sort of motivated me... So it's like tennis was [a] way out of the torture, maybe. Overall, junior tennis can be an empowering and disempowering experience for families. It may start out as a bonding experience, but at the higher levels of competition, it can fracture the family and require them to live separa te lives. This is an aspect of junior tennis that, perhaps surprises most families as they progress through the years of competition. They recognize the sacrifices but often feel as if they are trapped in the commitment bec ause of the time and money they have invested. It becomes a tool to keep families involved in a common goal while, at the same time, it can pull them apart when they develop differing opinions about how to pursue those goals and when they make sacrifices f or the player while leaving the other sibling behind in the decision making process.
371 Gender Differentiation 9 10 9 Title IX is the Amendment established in 1972 that makes it illegal for any educational institution to withhold equal access to educational resources, including sports, for girls. 10 Coakley 2006:238 243 discusses the debates concerning Title IX and how girls are often discriminated in sports because of their gender.
372 between a male coach tournaments, there are always girls at those things. You go to the tournaments, there are no hot guys. There are crazy old men that follow happens. And the coach is the one that should have more awareness. He have that. On the flip side, these male coaches, standard. I never felt the sexual harassment that I knew was said to other girls. I heard coaches talk to each other and joke, but they never crossed the line with me because my dad was a pro. But I knew lots of stories of girls in their teens that juniors and pros. It was in t American circuit has tournaments in every country. T here are girls thirteen and fourteen on those circuits traveling by themselves. [and those girls are having their rel ationships with coaches too].
373 But this p layer does not label this abuse of power of male coaches over teenage girls as sexual harassment because sh e says these girls often start the relationships. She says that promiscuity i s rampant among teen players, in general, on the international junior ci rcuit: 11 t on the [ITF tour], which was nine weeks and all the same players would play these tournaments, a t the end of the nine weeks, the guys and the girls had slept with each other. Like, everyone had slept with each other by the time they made it through the nine weeks. That was the big joke about the TF tournaments than always at the same place...I saw more of the relationships between coaches and players [at the semi professional level] where you were more appropriate behavior I saw, the sexual harassment, were between the pros and the girls at some of the a As former player Andrea notes: I wouldn't say it was extreme. It happens. It happens a lot more than you think. It's bad, it's not an isolated case. I think it happens a lot in juniors. Ther e's a power control of male coaches that is from, I think, societally constructed gender roles...We are train ed to be subversive to males. crushes on half the guys out there, the last thing you want is to hear them r period 11 See Coakley 2006a for an explanation of how female athletes use promiscuity to avoid labels of lesbianism due to the gender ideology constructions of female athletes.
374 Peaking: biological truth or cultural construct? 12 Girls are two years ahead of boys. And so, you gotta just take advantage of them. They go through puberty several years younger, and their whole development year old boy and put them on the court with a 6 year old girl. 12 Coaches generally use the literature that show girls' mental and physical maturity starts before boys'.
375 Competitiveness or The girls are very competitive and catty, and the boys tend to get along a little better, they're almost casual....I always used to envy that. The boys were so relaxed together and I thought that it just looked lik e fun...With the girls, there's always some kind of drama going on, and the guys are just bring it to the next level. If there's a problem on the court, they'll bring it onto the court with them, there's always something with the girls...I think that it means we're more emotional. So we're much more emotional creatures, and it's just something that we have that is something we can't get rid of. As much as we want to be like t he guys and relaxed and cool, we j ust can't. Girls are much more vicious [than boys]. They can't just go out there and play tennis...there's much more involved in it. Also, it's off the court...How y our experience with them on the court for the first time can determine if
376 they are all on the road toget her...they are still buddy buddies. They go hit you will see the clichs. The boys just don't see their clichs I didn't push [my daug hter] enough, maybe because she was a girl...she is kind of my little girl. I didn't want to, you know, upset her. I was more willing to push [my son], and I sort of look back and wish that I pushed [my daughter] a little harder. Girls are so emotional, they need to be consoled, maybe explain things more so they understand it, where boys, if I tell them to do a drill, they pretty much underst and it and do it. When I get mad at a boy for something, he doesn't get emotional about it. I've coached a couple of different boys, but not long term, I coached a 22 year old boy and now I'm coaching a 14 year old boy. It's funny when I got mad at th e boys for something, like the other day, I because he was fooling around...I'm here respecting you, you're not respecting me, this is it. You're not going to improve, and I can't help you if I had gotten upset with her, she w ould've taken it more personal. I let the girls get away with more; let them get more bitchy; but then we started training like guys, like athletes, and it got better; the girls got really
377 mad. They would cal l their parents and say that I was training them too hard. It was too mentally draining. excuses. But never name call...Girls are more competitive than guys. Women sometimes have to be taught competition. But once you do, they and they walk off as friends. Girls hold on to it for a long time. I think with girls you have to be a lot more technica l, you have to be a lot more sensitive, you have to be a lot more careful with their approach. With boys, you need, you know, you use their athleticism a lot more. You basically do have to work some on the technical side of it, but you have to, you know, w ith girls a lot of them competing is an issue. With boys they love and there are things that are bad. I mean girls are more responsible, they are more mature at a younger age. They are m ore disciplined, but at the same time, they don't have the competitive instinct that the boys have, they strength. So, you know it's one or two of the other, you know but it all balances out at the end... Boys compete and they know that it's over when it's over. Girls, drag it like a dead dog [A girl I co ach is] competitive be cause she's got five brothers. She's competitive, she knows how to compete, she sees them, she fights with
378 them and rattles with them. I've worked with her almost three years now. She has never once come to the court with anything l ess than 100% and a smile on her face. Always. So she doesn't even have a cell phone, she doesn't have a Facebook she's not your typical teenager. So in that sense, there's really no difference. It sounds l ike guys, that's pretty much... That's it. It 's a pretty chauvinist statement, the girls talk, but...They're more emotional. I'm married, so I know that there's a difference, but you can't say th at and be politically correct. But she competes, so in that sense, there's rea lly no difference. Cute and thin, but strong Female athletes are often faced with the dilemma of challenging gender stereotypes by playing along with them. For instance, women can participate in professional sports with men, as long as they fit into the mold of acceptable femininit y : being firm but not too muscular, strong but thin, competitive but not too aggressive, etc. 13 ticipation in as abnormal in the sport world even though more individuals accep t homosexuality, in general. F ormer player Rita describe s one player from juniors: I about being a girl as well. The rough thing about sports is that for boys, it automatically gives them a more masculine edge. A girl being in sports, especially in our day, it meant tha t you weren't sexy and girlie and you had to prove yourself in that arena. Nowadays, being a female athlete is sexier I remember seeing one player with red lipstick and big hoop earrings and wondering how she could play with all that. But she was so sexy. And I see these girls with the glittery pink headbands as if to say, 13 Coakley 2006a and feminist sport scholars (i.e. Markula 1995, Theberge 1991) explain this further.
379 This i s reiterated by several coaches a nd parents like Nina : they want somebody kind of cute, good attitude, the way you carry yourself, and a lot of it is looks. I mean, the little cute blond Russians get a lot mo re money than other kids... [up and coming boy players] are good looking many more millions and sponsorships. Being a professional athlete, you're not supposed to be thick, you need to have muscle and you have a little extra on your body as a female. You don't have the energy to compete the whole year if you're thick. So yeah, I hear about that, and that's where the parent needs to come in and be a coa ch about it, and if they don't agree with it, then tell the spo The stereotyp e of female players being fat is often expressed (often derogatorily) by coaches 14 As one coach said (Sue et al. 2008) can propel a player into years of o bsessive exercising and sever e restriction of calorie intake. Other reminders of player fatness body fat tests involving a male coa hips, thighs, bellie s, arms, and rib cage s with giant plastic 14 This also happens in other sports (i.e. Ryan 1995).
380 Female coaches 15 h. And most females out there high level. So, I think you find a lot more females coaching at the country cl ub level I think there's mor e [female coaches] now because I have a few friends that are doing that, which is great to see, I love to see that. I think it could be one of many reasons, but I think that girls like a male coach because he's 15 Martina Navrati lova, Billie Jean King, and Amelie Mauresmo are examples of openly gay professional tennis players.
381 dominant. It's a dominant figure, and being on the tour and having that dominant figure is almost like protection. Because you do need to protect yourself out there. You have competitors and opponents, you want to feel like you're in that secure space. And I think that comes back to man vs woman: I think that the men know what they're doing and the women are going to be softer, or maybe not as good of a coach. I think being able to hit may he lp because they see me as able to hang with them. Even if I don't always beat them it's ok as long as I can hang with them and they see I'm fit, so it's almost like setting an example for a player instead of just telling him what to do, you're doing it yourself. s they listen to the discipline; and they only want you to work with their child and no one else; you always
382 thing to that. Women tend to migrate anthropologically toward the next thi ng in life like children more [have a biologica l instinct to have children] in thei r early 20s turn to that. In wom en, who in their mid 20s are already thinking about it [marriage, famil y] in some point in the back of their mind. S g ener ally go from college to pro. They maybe burn out more, go to the next biological clock. Racial/E thnic Dif ferentiation
383 16 16 While I only highlight some of the few instances of racial and ethnic discrimination, this could be the focus of a future research project.
384 I did see discrimination, I saw it for a black girl...th e USTA was definitely supporting her financially, but I was playing against her and I had all black referees, and I'm not at all racist, I didn't even notice it. My friends were telling me after the match, and it was strange. I know she was getting finan cial support, and maybe it was crazy and it just happened to work out that way that we had all black refs on the court. I know she was getting a lot of support from the USTA and maybe it's just because they're trying to pr omote more non white players. 17 17 Most black par ents I spoke with were African American, but several were from African nations.
385 18 [Referees] over ruling calls for [us] but not the other player. I mean, calls that were good but he made sure ev ery little thing was picked on by this one. side, you know?...For the most part, the refs are really good. But the older not in tennis Racial, ethnic, I think it goes a little bit both ways though. I think you see it both ways definitely. The thing is you see situations that you don't really know the thought process behind certain decisions, but it makes you wonder and so metimes they are really obvious, and you could be wrong. I don't think it's something we will ever be able to put a finger on and say 18
386 yeah it is because of this, or no it's not because of that. But I mean there have been many situat ions where it's gone bot h ways. [In China] they line up and bow to you. On the outside, the respect is out of the ball park. You pay homage to the elderly, people in authority. You do no step out of line because there are so many people that look down on that. It you respect authority. Rules never keep bad people from breaking rules, it just Asia, there is a built in hierarchy for respect of age and authority. But in our But kids want that. It starts with unconditional love.
387 19 I was playing a tournament I was playing a girl and I was at like 5 0, and her dad started coaching her and getting pissed off, and he came on the coreboard to go up 5 0, and he said it was 4 1, and he goes out there like slapped my hands...And he called me a cheater, but that was like when I first started playing [ tournaments] so I kind of like cried. 19 as hard or play as strategically as while players (Hoberman 2000, Hartmann 2000).
388 It was definitely an Asian stereotype. I used to hate them. They were just so part of their family. The discipline on the court and they were also mentally strong, and I would just get so frustrated because these kids were very good, but I would lose to them all the time because I was a mental mess and it over there [ stereotypes].... I am definitely by no means a racist, but I firmly believe that stereotypes exist for a reason, and tennis helped foster that for damn sure. And Every sing le Asian was extremely disciplined. You know, like maybe it was good maybe it was bad. But they were all legit. Spanish kids, kids from South America They had all the same garbage. They were all taught to [cheat], definitely taug ht to do it. A merican Juni or Tennis and International Competition
38 9 Choice: good for life, bad for tennis Everybody wants their kid to make it but there are different routes You be good at both, do you wanna be great at tennis, or do you wanna be There are not enough hours in the day. American tennis people think they can be a pro and go to college and I think US kids, if you are a good junior you have so many options like I said you can go to school or you can try p laying the tour, or you could maybe get
390 a job at a really nice country club and make a lot of money, and make a good living, and tour and other countries. At least, [in a South American country] I can talk about what that experience today but there it's, o kay you're going to play tennis, all right well you either make it or you are going to drive a cab. So it's like oh, okay. There is no Pla n B basically there. the [professional] Davis Cup. That will be a good experience because he better than him [really highly ranked and are playing Davis cup].
391 American Junior tennis is behind. And there's more people playing tennis all aro und the world. And again you compare to other sports everything's gone global. As a result, there are more people playing. And tennis is not that, you know, that popular in the United States so the poo l isn't as big. I'll give you an example. In Belgium, there are 400,000 kids in tennis. At that age in the United States, the pool is closer to 100,000. So here is a small country, with three times the amount of kids in the pool. Just because kids here hav e other options. Some see the plethora of sports to choose from as a productive cross training technique where, for instance, playing soccer helped build endurance or playing baseball helped with eye hand coordination on the tennis court. Besides the impr ovement to their tennis game, a secondary sport can help relieve the pressure from tennis and serve to be another source of identity formation for young players, especially when they know that they are being judged by their sport performances. Indeed, many players start out playing a variety of sports until they settle on tennis and find that their experience with these other team sports helped prepare and motivate them for the individual context of tennis. In fact, many players chose tennis because they di slike the
392 team politics of other sports and preferred having total control over the progress of the game as well as being able to actually do something the entire time. Others, like Nina, however, see other sports as a hindrance velopment: If you wanna be a pro nowadays, you [used to] be able to play another etition in tennis. Drive: natural or innate?
393 deserving of things that they haven't earned. They are spoiled, there are spoiled rotten. In every sense of the word, in sports and outside of sports. Another coach and parent exclaimed: difference. K ids from Se rbia you hear the stories, like kids who were practicing an empty swimming pool with bombs going off around them, it was their way out. They were pulled from family, from friends, from anything but tennis when they were 9 years old and put in an environme nt where it was all they knew. They were coming from nothing. The kids that were so good, you never hear about kids coming from well off families. there always coming there been a fight, they can fight far more than we can. In this country the only kids you can play tennis are kids with money. And even on top of that, the kids that get good rankings are the kids that can go to every tournament... and kids from this country... there is an entitlement issue,
394 there is an issue of them expecting things to be handed to them. It really com professional tennis player. How are you gonna make it otherwise, you You look at where all these other kids Mother Nina expresses the same contradictory view about drive: gonna be a tennis player. job. Just eating right, sleeping right...I think you get that drive from your parents. Coach Ang disting uishes innate drive from learned drive: Some people are born with it, some people have to learn it. The ones that learned don't compete as well as the ones that are born with it. Another reason participants gi red to other nations had to do with parenting styles. Most participants blame American parents for being either too la zy or coddling to their players. But they also see overbearing and, som in the U.S. tournament environment Sev eral of the players that admitted that they were physically and emotionally abused by their fathers, America and India. But physical abuse is perpetrated by American par ents as well, so it is hard to draw a definitive line between U.S. and non U.S. born parents. While non U.S. parents were often revered for their disciplinary parenting approaches, they were simultaneously criticized for their abusive measures. I found thi s to b e one of the most interesting paradoxes of my research. Below, a conversation with mother Nina highlights this paradox: Nina: e Asian countries, they still slap your hand with a ruler stick if you mis s the ball...Oh, the discipline is
395 severe [in other countries] to where you co America. JF: It would be considered abuse here. Nina: countries.And those kids are so disciplined. It helps the ones that have it a nd their tennis went downhill. So I think they needed the dis cipline because it was what was driving them. And then they got too Americanized, I saw them fall apart. JF: Should coaches take on that kind of strict be h avior here, or would that be just impossible to do? Nina: No, your strictest coaches are the ones mak ing players. The coaches in bull crap talk. And they talk up a storm and tell you what you wanna hear, just to JF: How should a coach discipline a player to create a good player? There are boundaries in America. What would be over the top as far as disc ipline? Nina: way they push their kids, is abusive. But they could argue from the other
396 about more than just tennis. iner. Money and agents: opportunity or exploitation ? She trained at [international tennis academy] for 2 years. She trained and became very good friends with [world #1 player]. She was part of [world know... may have been before we paid [him] something under the table to keep her on his court.
397 I think agents are a good thing because they can help get sponsors, but there defini tely has to be someone close to the player that will filter the information that the player gets so the player only hears the positive or good stuff, and if there is negative, it's things that the player can deal with because they're going to take things s eriously.
398 [She] is gonna start travel ing in may for ITF ld. You know, she could get injured in four or five years, and her career could
399 20 Coaches let kids get away with disrespectful behavior towards themselves and their parents. But it's hard for us as coaches to say anything about it because we would lose a client. How would we support ourselves?. ..I t's a scam, this is a ll a scam, this is just a scam. 20 Capriati rose to stardom by fourteen by reaching the Top 10 world ranks professionally, only to burn out by sixteen. This rule provides a tiered schedule of tournament play for young players who play professional.
403 CH APTER 9 CONCLUSION phenomenon, is the hostility to introspection its goals and techniques require, and this is Denison 2007 add s Sport sociologists are reticent to apply social theory to the purpose s of performance enhancement... [with an] extreme emphasis on individualism...This means that all responsibility for change falls upon the individual...[but]...changing an individual... is not always the best course of action to remedy a problem. What may appear to be an athlete's personal problem might actually be related instead to some larger social construction of how w e believe sport should function (380). In other words, the proble ms that arise and con tinue to arise in sport are often not individual problems; they are soci al problems. And, as Foucault 1980 recognizes, focusing on individuals ignores the ways in w hich power creates knowledge which, in turn, constructs identities and normalizes power roles In an effort to explore the problems within competitive junior tennis that have continue d to exist over the past three decades since I was a player (i.e. coach abuse, parent abuse, burnout, injury, identity narrowing, lack of educat ion) this research is provide s a structure by which to discuss the dynamic characteristic of power among players, parents, and coaches. As sport scholar Denison 2007 advocates for an application of social theory to the practice of sports training and comp etition, this research applies classic theoretical conceptions of ritual, practice, and power to the setting of competitive youth sport; specifically, the performance enhancement of junior tennis players. Chapter 3 explores how a s junior tennis players co me to know themselves through empowerin g and disempowering processes, t hey develop self worth and conceptions of their place in the tennis (and general) society. Through their daily
404 training practices, interactions, and conversations, players experience pa in, conceive of potential, learn moral lessons, build (and avoid) friendships and family dynamics, and develop perspectives about gender and racial identity. As they transform through nnis players distinguishes them from their peers who are not involved in elite endeavors, who may enhancement, and potential, there is little room for contentment. The sense of accompl ishment that comes with achieving a goal is quickly replaced by the compulsion adolescence for the shot at perfection and becoming a symbol of the human struggle; a symbol of surv ival by reaching the ideal human form where body, heart, and mind meet to achieve perfection. But, players progress along various liminal pathways of improvement, starting over, and withdrawal. A s one coach and former top ten world tennis become a debilitating process even when you are doing all the right things as a coach and as a player, but it still does not make a player I have sought the answer to this question by explori ng the simultaneous coexistence of what Fou cault 1988 describe as technologies of the self and technologies of domination. and empowerment on the part of the individual, unlike technologies of power which signify disempowerment on the part of the individual as a result of oppressive regimes of power effected through dominant discourses (Jones and Aitchison 2007:53). J unior tennis players are not just docile bodies or liminal subjects (Turner
405 1969) bei ng molded into the ide al athlete according to the dominant norms of the junior tennis world by their parents and coaches Players use training and competition rituals, in which they are instructed by coaches and parents in order to empower themselves as players and people. Thu s, they are liminal agents making themselves as well as being made by authority figures, through these rituals. They become themselves through both technologies of domination and technologies of the self. But, as Chapter 4 explains, it is often difficult to make a clear distinction between practices and attitudes that a re forms of technologies of domination, those that a re technologies of the self, and t hose that a re coping mechanisms, a dilemma that Foucauldian sport scholars acknowledge (i.e. Chapman 19 97, Jones and Aitchison, Markula 2003). Technologies of domination involve players feeling that they must exhibit behaviors and attitudes in order to please authority figures and satisfy the expectations of the junior tennis social world, even if they feel disempowered doing so When them (i.e. coach/parent abuse, burnout) by prioritizing their own health and well being, they are using technologies of the self. When tices and attitudes do not result in the transgression of the power that ac ts to subordinate them in the first place but helps them survive in the environment nonetheless, the se practices and attitudes can be considered coping mechanisms (Jones and Aitchi son 2007, Markula 2003). Defining which practices are empowering and which are disempowering depends upon who is making that judgment and in what context these behaviors and attitudes are being judged. For instance I as the researcher and a former player may label certain practices as disempowering technologies of domination or coping mechanisms if I see
406 potential long term detriment to player well being as a consequence. On the other hand, my junior player participants may judge certain practices as empow ering and despite disempowering circumstances (i.e. abuse, injury) if they see immediate results that winning and improving can bring (i.e. higher social status, praise). To solve this dilemma of whether junior tennis is a beneficial or detrim ental unior tennis may best be described as a space of paradoxical power where junior players are simultaneously empowered and disempowered by their junior tennis experience s Empowerment usually results when personal we ll being is prio ritized over performance, while disempowerment usually results when performance is priorit ized over well being. T he choices that are made about training, competition schedules, and general lifestyle often involve factors that have both empo wering and disempowering consequences. For instance, junior players who build their identity around tennis may have a greater amount of victories on the court which can be empowering B ut they must sacrifice their social, family, and academic lives as a re sult, which can be disempowering in the long term. As a result, junior tennis players can feel both entitled to succeed at tennis and, at the same time, come to resent tennis due to the sacrifices they have made for that success. This supports Markula 2 003 point that Foucault does not label certain practices as in herently good or bad. I t depends on the cont ext in which practices are performed. P ractices of self care can transgress if they are not just used to comply with the dominant ideal of the high pe inherently good or bad, but practices involved in this endeavor can be judged as such
407 depending on how they are performed. Thus, youth athletes can become empowered and transgress the domin ant power norms of youth sport if they prioritize their own well being over the production of results through daily practices of self care. These practices are meant to increase t heir self understanding as well as their awareness of themselves as ethical agents in the world around them. By doing so, they are likely to become more productive and successful, anyway, than if they were to sacrifice their we ll being for potential succes s (i.e. Adie et al. 2010). [I]f Foucault theorizes that power is not necessarily an evil, the[n] researchers should not automatically assume that powerful individuals in sport manage their power unethically [and it is] as important to study the management of power as it is to analyze indiv idual athletes' reactions to it (100).
409 A balance between tennis and non tennis identities seems to lead to youth empowerment. When player s are allowed a more broadened adolescence to have access to non tennis peers and activities, a balanced family dynamic, and school that exposes them to life outside the tennis world and when coaches and parents stress life lessons and sportsmanship eith er over or equal to results, junior player s are more likely to have balance. When players between and both of these identities thus, liminal individuals they are less likely to attach their self wor th to either one so strongly that failure at one will lead to a sense of disempowerment and conditional love/support from their parents and coaches. Thus, there is more empowerment during liminality (between identities) and when individuals interact at the middle of the power continuums and power grid (i.e. collaboration) There is more disempowerment when players sacrifice one identity for the other and when their relations with coaches/parents reach the extremes of the relational power grid (i.e. entitled abused). Some may wonder if a more broadened adolescence is the recipe for creating champions. But, a better question may be, d oes a more broadened adolescence allow youths the freedom to pursue championships while maintaining their health and future
410 op portunities if sport does not work out? A s sports are becoming more and more dependent upon prac tices that debilitate youth athletes (i.e. performance enhancing drugs, social isolation, concussion, chronic injury and illness, greater power instilled in coa ches ), champion s be comes valued at a greater degree than the ir psychological, emotional, and physical development. A Foucauldian analysis of junior tennis asks then, how competitiveness and pe rformance enhancement becomes n orm alized as a means to an end This includes questions like h ow is the desire to win promoted ahead of the pleasure of participation? And, h ow does the rationale of competition produce knowledge ? In short, the ethical athlete must question the very conditio ith Maguire 2002:305 306). W hen we question those condit ions in which we are developed and be come ourselves we gain control over the co nsequences of those conditions: social order, if w e adopt an ethics of existence, if we refuse the standardization of our self (Smith Maguire 2002:311). So, the questions youth sport part icipants should be asking are these : W hat factors of junior tennis are involved that can sustain the self care, self stylization, and self /social awareness that makes sport an ultimately empowering or disempoweri ng experience for individuals? Who has the power to make that judgment ? The se questions should be aimed at individual sport practices in specific contexts including all aspects of physical training, comp etition, sport psychology, etc. These practices can be empowering technologies of self for at hletes to overcome adversity, but t hey can also be greater context of their performance enhancement. For instance, sport psychology,
411 a way to learn perseverance and as a way to normalize their tolerance of abuse and abusive environments. It can both empower players by providing the tools to cope with oppression and abuse, to resist power as a technology of the self, but it can also be a tool of their oppression and abuse thereby reproducing their disempowerment as a technology of domination. But if used in a way that helps players place sport into their lives in a sustainable way that complements their lives instead of dominating their lives, it can help them think through grander existential questions : W here do I fit i nto the grand scheme of things? How does playing tennis contribute to how I fit in ? W here does junior tennis fit in the grand scheme? This could be answered with future research Some see sport as a socialization tool into the political economy: As the burden of responsibility for social order falls ever more on the shoulders of individuals, so too does the responsibility for one's own improvement, competitiveness, and optimizat ion. Governmentality, then, refers to a mentality or way of thinking about the administration of society, in which the population is managed through the beliefs, needs, desires, and choices of individuals... (Smith Maguire 2002:307). Individuals choose to engage in practices and hold beliefs that foster their self improvement and entrepreneurialism (i.e. sport performance enhancement), values that are inherent of capita list systems. Junior tennis could be considered an extension, or microcosm, of the neo liberal economy. Since c predominant physical culture, especially as it pertains to child socialization and child rearing, it has become the model by which even rec reational sport is organized. It has displaced trad itional sport in many countries around the world as a symbol of cultural identity. The monoculture of competitive youth sport has spread world wide values of competition, individualism, and winning above all else, even though learning life lessons
412 of team work and perseverance among others is incorporated in that. But most competitive, self reliant, and ultimately victorious that reflects the current state of childhood in po st industrial societies a time for productivity rather than of exploration, as Coakley 2006 a points out. Thus, political ideology of capitalism is reproduced in the gl obal sport of junior tennis. Player s are taught above all else th at winning is everyt hing. F riends are rivals, injuries are badges of honor, parents are managers, coaches are drill sergeants, and winning is reward ed no matter how it is earned. J unior tennis thus, both reflects and socializes children with the values of capitalist culture world wide. Another question that could be asked in future research is w ho benefits from elite junior tennis, and elite youth sport, in general? Players benefit from the life lessons they learn and the exposure to various cultures, but they could learn t hese things at the recreational level. A t the elite level, they can benefit from the potential scholarships and post collegiate career in playing professionally or coaching. But only a small fraction of players get these opportunities. It could be argued t hat the adults of the junior tennis world benefit the most from junior tennis, at least the way that it is run now. Coaches, tournament directors, and tour administrators make money because of the labor junior players put forth. Because only a few of the t housands of players who play get reimbursed for their years of sweat and monetary investment, most junior players could be considered as unpaid laborers who support a multi million dollar adult economy (Donnelly 1997). Without junior players, there would b e no junior tennis, and thus, no benefit the most from a child superstar are the parents: financially and in
413 1 A [Since] power is in every relationship, but not all relationships are symmetrical, how does the feminist sport researcher who occupies a position of relative power in comparison to her research par ticipants, manage her power to create change? We might need to become more aware of the possibilities for our technologies of the self: how can a feminist researcher actively change the condition of women [and children] through sport rather than eagerly wa to analyze (100). 1 This is currently a topic of debate within collegiate sport.
414 Overall my research provides a structure to discuss power and perfo rmance enhancement of youths. It also explores the limits to that performance en hancement
415 and the ways in which the youth sport industry, in general, tries to expand those limi ts. S ocial status of being a top athlete is a major reason why most players invest so much time, money, and energy into sport; a social status that is shared an d depended upon by most parents and coaches. This striving for social status and marketability the striving for affirmation of identity as a productive and successful, even heroic, member of society is why many parents spen d much more money on their ch training than they could ever save from a college scholarship. And this money is what supports junior tennis coaches, federations, academies, and equipment companies an entire industry. Perhaps t he biggest paradox of junior tennis, and of competit ive youth sport in general, is that players are considered children because they cannot make money with their labor while they are simultaneously treated like adults because of the expectations that are placed on the ir performance (or their labor ) We trai n our youths in non sport settings as well, to be high performing in order to maintain the ideology of social progress (i.e. as long as we are producing winners, soc iety is progressing). But might it be that we are not just building a s tronger generation through youth sport but, also, creating a generation of burned out exploited laborers of an adult economy? It may be that by c utting youth s from sport teams as early as middle school because they do not perform as well as others, we are also perpetuating the childhood obesity epidemic in this country by valuing athletic performance over holistic identity development and well being So, the questions that need more research and more philosophical and anthropological inquiry remain: Where are the limi ts to p erformance enhancement? W ho benefits from elite youth sport in the long run? Who ultimately decides?
416 This research hopefully will make it easier for elite youth athletes and their parents and coaches to avoid the pitfalls of sport while enjoying the many b enefits it has well being of young athletes (S7). It can also apply to non sport perform ance enhancement cultures for youths such as the arts, academics, etc. Further applications of this research can contribute to the study of physical, medical, emotional, psychological, and social effects of performance enhancement and stress, in general, a nd how it pertains to the conversations about child abuse and children's human rights, specifically. human righ ts (David 2004 Donnelly 1997, Grenfell and Rinehart 2003, Kid d and Donnelly 2000), this research could contribute to a certification process for coaches in competitive youth sport in the United States in order to prevent further exploitation, injury, and abuse of youth athletes. There are over 40 million youth athle tes in the U.S., but no mandatory certification processes to become a coach. While other countries require a strict regimen of classes and training to earn a license to teach, just like any in the U.S. American coach es get certified through the indi vidual sport's federation merely for marketing purposes. It is not a legal requirement. This results in a wide range of approaches to teaching ph ilosophy and technique. Although this create s a vast array of choices for ath letes, as well as a sense of confusion abou t the most productive and healthy training processes, it makes it easy for
417 adults in the youth sport industry to e xploit and abuse youth athletes and get away with it. Fo r instance, the coaches I mentioned in Chap ter 6 as having been accused and charged for sexually molesting or abusing their underage players are still coaching. There is no way to take a co ach's license away when they do not have one in the first place. Some of those coaches went to jail for child molestation only to get out and move to another state or country where they are coaching junior players right now, in public, advertising their coaching services on the internet. Similarly, coaches who are emotionally abusive continue to coach which makes their methods become a normalized aspect of the junior tennis social fabric. The USTA does not monitor coach player relationships and there are no coaching licenses There is no structure in place to discern between disciplinary training measures and emoti onal abuse just as there is no punish ment for sexual relationships between coaches and players who are under eighteen (the legal age of consent in the U.S.) Thus, much of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that occurs between coach and player gets normalized as private business between coach and player. My research employs the skills I learned in junior tennis (i.e. analysis, work ethic) and how they keep the Johnson and Kivel 2007: 103). It can contribute to the education of players, parents, and c oaches as well as a certification process f or coaches in the United States. change in order to m 2007:103), I ho pe my research can help promote the maintenance of overall youth well
418 being as well as the eradication of abuse and discrimination in the youth sport context and youth performance enhancement contexts, in general.
419 REFERENCES -----
438 BIO GRAPHICAL SKETCH