Friday, September 5th, 2014
Just before the Open American tennis star Sloane Stephens joined American Express and the USTA to participate in the Fresh Courts Challenge as part of the USTA’s Fresh Court Initiative. The campaign refurbished courts in the five boroughs of New York City to promote youth tennis and works year round to refresh courts across the country.While Stephens may have lost early this past tournament, she continues to be a champion for youth sports and living an active lifestyle. She weighed in with Parents on her pro experience and her advice to young players.
P: What does it feel like to be an American tennis player at the U.S. Open?
SS: I am always grateful for the overwhelming support from the fans at the U.S. Open. Playing in New York is one of the biggest thrills of the season.
P: Is it exciting or do you feel pressure carrying the banner for the next generation of American tennis?
SS: It’s very exciting. Of course there’s pressure I try not to focus on that. Mostly it’s personal pressure not public pressure. I have really high expectations of myself.
P: How can we better nurture American tennis talent?
SS: Grass roots programs are really important. We need to get kids active and involved early.
P: What attracted you to the sport at age 9?
SS: I’m passionate about sports & was always active. When I was introduced to it, it felt natural.
P: What are some of the benefits kids may reap from tennis – particularly benefits that are different from other team sports?
SS: Independence and confidence in decision-making are two that come to mind.
P: What was it like participating in Saturday’s event and playing with those kids from the area?
SS: Health and wellness for kids is something I’m really passionate about. I enjoy their innocence and how much joy it brings to them. It’s refreshing for me.
P: What is your advice to young players and to the parents of those athletes?
SS: For kids, practice hard and study hard. You have to do both. For parents, listen to your kids and support them as a kid not as an athlete. It’s important to let them find their passion and not live your dreams through them.
If tennis isn’t your sport, that’s ok! Get out and get active!
Photograph: Credit Craig Barritt/Getty Images
Add a Comment
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
On Monday, Parents joined the United States Tennis Association and boxer turned TV host Laila Ali to kick off National Obesity Awareness Month at the U.S. Open Championships. As an athlete and mom of Curtis, 6, and Sydney, 3, Ali is passionate about getting kids active from a young age. She shares her best advice for getting your kids up off the couch.
P: We’re here today to kick off National Obesity Awareness Month. How important is this cause to you as a mom and an athlete?
LA: It’s so important because it’s an epidemic here in the Untied States. Whenever children are involved they can’t be to blame. I’m always trying to spread awareness and inspire people to be the best that they can be, first, and then of course teach their kids those habits.
P: How do you get your kids to stay active and healthy?
LA: First and foremost, my kids see their parents being active. We live an active lifestyle so they get included. They’re introduced at a young age to different sports and they realize they like it. I think the key is getting them started young, giving them options and taking them outside.
P: What do you say to a parent whose child doesn’t want to get up off the couch?
LA: I think you definitely have to get involved as a family. Parents can’t be like, “Get up and go outside.” Sometimes you have to go outside with your kids, sometimes you have to go to the park, you have to go skating, you have to go to the beach and go biking. There are so many things that you can do just to get active. Also set parameters. “No you can’t watch TV right now, figure something out,” like they used to say back in the day. You’re going to find something to do because you’re going to be bored. It takes work and it takes consistency.
Find inspiration for fun with your child with Parents’ Activity Finder.
P: With your son just turning 6 and a 3-year-old girl, do they often have sibling squabbles? How do you deal with them?
LA: It’s a constant struggle in my life: these two fussing and arguing and my daughter coming in and wrecking whatever her brother built. He gets upset and I say “I understand you’re upset, but you can’t fight.” There are a lot of time outs in my house. They get tired of sitting out and they learn how to play.
P: What are you most looking forward to as your kids get older?
LA: I’m looking forward to getting them involved in sports because that’s a regret that I have—that I didn’t get involved in sports at a young age. I’m definitely getting one of those nets and racquets and setting it up in my driveway. I can get out there and play with them. I’m really excited about that and learning as I go.
Photograph: Courtesy of USTA
Add a Comment
athlete, celeb mom, childhood obesity, Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, kids and sports, laila ali, tennis, US Open, USTA, Youth Tennis | Categories: