Has your kid caught the bug to start playing more tennis? Not sure what comes next? Here we break down how you can help him or her take it to the next level while keeping it fun for the entire family!
We have gotten a lot of inbound from parents on how to get their child who is interested in tennis to take it a step further and what it takes. While there is no one on our team who is a parent (yet!) we all had parents who helped us navigate it and are excited to share our learnings from our own experiences as well as findings from parents who have gotten their kids to play recreationally, to get on to their high school tennis teams, to getting their children to the collegiate and everything in between.
Parents: Support Your Kids, But Don’t Push Them Into It
If your kid is eager to play tennis and compete, support them. But don’t feel bad if you can’t entice them into joining you. Just keep focusing on school or other activities.
Many players who come from a family of serious tennis players, can get burnt out by thinking they want to play tennis competitively because the rest of the family does. You want to make sure that you don't pressure your kid to play, especially if you grew up playing to see if your kid actually wants tennis to be their primary sport and that your kid wants to play, compete, and win for themselves from the start rather than from any family pressures.
Tennis is a huge investment once you start to invest in performance, and you don't want to be in a position where your kid jumps in for the wrong reasons and doesn't have fun in the process because as we have seen many kids then start to hate the sport and resent spending their time playing it.
Parents and Kids: Tennis Is a Team Sport
We know it may not seem like it, but tennis is a team sport if harnessed correctly. It's a time for the whole family to work on their team spirit to support your kids wins and to help your kid recover from losses.
Every kid needs a cheerleader, especially in a sport that can get lonely and that can cause a lot of stress at times for kids as they start competing.
Parents: Model Good Behavior—Including Training
It’s supposed to be the first rule of parenting—teach your children good behavior by modeling it—but many of us expect our kids to do things we’ve never done ourselves. This really goes out especially for parents who don't play tennis, you may not be able to play with your kid or keep up with them at a certain point but you can pique their interest in protecting their bodies through working out with them to help them train off the court and through deep stretching to help your kid avoid common tennis injuries!
Parents: Beware Social Media
Everyone has an opinion, especially about the quality of other people’s parenting, and everyone has an outlet for their opinions these days. If your kid is playing a tennis match in any public way—chronicling it on Instagram or Facebook, or even being the subject of a news article—you’ll hear about it.
Some people will applaud you, but many will judge you and may even accuse you of misunderstandings that commonly can happen on the court with things like line calls. It's important to figure out how to either insulate yourself, have a stance on how you treat social media during tournaments or matches your kid is plating, and/or develop a strategy for responding to help ensure that your kid has a great experience with the sport and doesn't let any pressure get to them. Tennis is many times more of a game of the mind rather than the body.
Parents and Kids: Tennis is Serious Business, so be careful
Tennis is serious business and you as the parent should be asking your kid what you can do to help them or what potentially stresses them out or if they are feeling any pain or feeling stiff. While coaches are great, there is no one who is going to look out for your kid's well being more than you and can help action on things that you kid may be struggling with such as tennis injuries or struggles with developing a strong mental game against other opponents.
If you want your kid to play tennis for life, it's important to help your kid learn how to sustain playing the sport for the long run.
Looking to learn more about classes, clinics, coaches, or training for your kids? Join Break the Love's Facebook Group here to access our community of pros and other tennis parents as well!