Introducing Your Child to Tennis
Developing a Love for the Game
Why kids play
It is important to keep participation in youth sports in perspective and to understand why kids play. Many times adults have grand ideas of a professional career or even a college scholarship. While these could be long-term goals for those players who eventually specialize in a sport, children play for different reasons. They want to be active, be with friends, develop skills and, most importantly, have fun.
28,000 boys and girls were asked in a study about why they played sports:
2. To do something I am good at
3. To improve my skills
4. To stay in shape.
Guess what? Winning did not even make the Top 10! If tennis is not fun, or if there is little activity, your child is unlikely to develop a love of the game and will instead find another activity that is more compelling.
Long-term goals include the enjoyment of an activity they can play for a lifetime. It is a game kids can play with friends and family. Tennis is a fantastic way to spend quality time as a family.
Why kids quit
Be aware of putting pressure on children for results, but make sure you recognize and acknowledge effort. In the US, 70 percent of kids quit organized sport by the age of 13, and the top three reasons given by kids are:
1. It’s not fun anymore
2. Parent/coach pressure to perform
3. No longer interested in the sport
Tennis Should Be a Game Before it Becomes a Sport
Parents must let kids be kids and let them play and discover. Let them have fun. Provide opportunities for them to be with friends. Permit them to play spontaneously, to experiment and to risk. Allow them to challenge each other to learn new skills and try new shots. Make tennis that haven where they can get away from their over-structured lives and learn to move, play and create on the tennis court.
Where should my child begin?
Tennis isn't the same game for kids that you may have grown up with. Beginning in 2012, it was a whole new ballgame thanks to the 10 and Under Tennis initiative, which brought the size and speed of the game down to kid-level.
Before you sign your child up for lessons at your nearest tennis facility, be sure to know the basics of the Colorado Tennis Junior Pathway, which is a guide to assist parents, coaches and providers in understanding the opportunities for youth play.