- Your child’s coach will know. It is hard for you or your child to determine on your own whether or not your child is ready. Ask your child’s tennis coach if they have the mental toughness and skill that is necessary for tournament play. If you throw your child into a tournament too early, they may show up unsure of what to do or how to play and may embarrass themselves. In some unfortunate yet severe cases, a child that is not ready, may have a poor experience that may results in them never wanting to play a tennis tournament again. It is important not to start until your child is ready!
- It is highly competitive. Tournament play is for athletes with thick skin. Some athletes will do whatever it takes to win, so sometimes there may be cheating and bad calls. A player must be ready to face these obstacles. Because rankings are extremely important for college, the tournament environment is not very forgiving. If your child does not adapt to adversity well, maybe tournament play is not right for them.
- Be ready for commitment. Tournaments require incredible dedication. Parents will be driving back and forth from practices every day, and may be driving every other weekend to a tennis tournament. Tournament athletes average about 10 to 12 tournaments a year. The minimum amount required is 6 tournaments yearly. The tournaments may be up to an hour away, some two if they are out of your district.
If you decide your child is ready, visit Nassau’s tournament page at http://nassautennis.net/junior-programs/tournaments/ or http://www.USTA.com
About the Author:
Seth Miller is the Director of Junior Programs at the Nassau Tennis Club in Skillman, NJ.