Tennis checklist for parents: Things to know before your kids start tennis classes

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Every parent wants to provide what is best for their kids. As a parent, you will want to provide meaningful, positive, and fulfilling experiences that are good for your child’s physical, emotional, and mental development. One of the best ways to ensure this is to introduce kids to sports. And one of the best sports that can be introduced to children starting at a very young age (even toddlers!) is tennis. Be it recreational or competitive, tennis is an effective method to kickstart your child’s development, as well as to enjoy with friends and family as a way to bond.

The Tennis Checklist series will provide you with everything that you need to know before enrolling in tennis lessons so that your child’s tennis experience is fun, engaging, and beneficial in the long run. Here’s your checklist to start right!

How to set the right tennis goals?

It is important for parents to keep in check with their own expectations in their youth’s sports, and to understand why your child wants to be involved in sports. Most often, parents start out with huge ideas of their child pursuing a professional sports career or becoming a national player. While these aspirations are not wrong, these should be long term goals for kids who eventually choose to specialize in that sport.

Kids, however, play sports for completely different reasons. For kids, it is not about winning, ranking, getting trophies, or medals. It is all about having fun, seeing their friends, making new friends, and honing their skills right. As parents, you have to understand two things: the right expectation and the right time. It is therefore vital that you provide your child with the right opportunities and experiences that will allow them to discover their own interests and passion for a sport.

Find out what your child likes. Be involved in the sport they like with them. Watch a professional tournament with them, bring them to a local school match, or sign them up for a tennis camp where they can meet other kids who share an enthusiasm for the sport! Nurture their interest and expose them to the potential of the sport. Kids will naturally do well in the sport when their inclination towards it becomes stronger!

What makes a good tennis player?

When 28,000 youths were asked why they play sports, most of them said that they simply played because it was fun or because they wanted to do something that they are good at. Surprisingly, winning did not even make it on the top 10 answers given by the kids!

To become a great player, the child must show an internal commitment to perform the necessary work to improve their skills and conditioning. This applies to all sports (including tennis). If your child does not have a deep-rooted love for tennis, they will end up dissatisfied and may easily burnout, hindering their improvement and preventing them from being a successful tennis player in the long run.

What’s the key to developing your child’s love of the game?

Parents must put into perspective the difference between long term and short term goals. Prioritizing short term goals like having fun is very, very crucial. Ensuring that your child’s tennis activity is conducted in a fun-filled environment is key. If tennis is no longer fun for your kid, or if there are not enough engaging activities to improve the sport, your child is unlikely to develop a love for the game. They may end up getting distracted or finding a substitute, and lose any interest they may have had in the game at the start!

The enjoyment of an activity that can be played for a lifetime is the most important long term goal. The world of tennis brims with opportunities that can only be attained when this long term goal is achieved.

Why do kids quit organized sports?

In many countries, nearly 70 percent of kids quit organized sports by the time they are 13. The top three reasons for them to quit are losing the element of fun, parental pressure, and failed coaching expectations.

Putting pressure on children for results instead of recognizing and acknowledging their efforts may lead to an inverse outcome. Instead of building their passion for the game, parental pressure and focus on winning neglects the importance of keeping the activity fun, thus breaking down their zeal for the sport. In some cases, kids may even begin loathing the sport!

What should parents do for the desired outcome?

Parents must let kids be kids.

Kids need to enjoy their childhood. After all, they only have one! Let them explore and discover on their own whilst guiding them along. Let them play and let them fall. Let them have fun with their friends and make new friends along the way. Encourage them to challenge themselves and each other in learning new skills and trying new shots.

Do not shield them from making mistakes or taking risks. Allow them to experience tennis as a means to break-out from routines and structure. Let tennis lessons be a channel for them to express themselves. Let the tennis court be their canvas to move, play, and create.

This will cultivate a positive attitude towards tennis while helping kids develop personal motivation and love towards the sport. Unstructured, free play activities are imperative to kids and their development. This will make kids take control of their playing environment and realize for themselves how much effort is needed for them to excel in the sport. This builds the foundation of self-motivated, successful sportspersons.

Where can kids start their tennis journey in Singapore?

With all of this in mind, the final step to start off your child’s tennis experience is to enroll them into a tennis academy in Singapore that not only provides quality tennis coaching to kids but also preserves the element of fun and creativity.

Arrow Sports provides kids with the optimal playing environment that is needed to strike a balance between developing interest in playing tennis and providing ample opportunities that improve kids’ tennis skills. Arrow’s tennis lessons are carefully designed to provide the best unstructured, free play environment where children can develop their mental, emotional, and physical skills at their fullest potential. From tennis camps to tennis tournaments, Arrow Sports caters to each and every child’s developmental needs, proving themselves to be the ideal partner to parents in their quest to give their child the best, positive tennis experience.

Article resources: International Tennis Federation (ITF) resources, USTA, Tennis Play and Stay.

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