Guiding Your Young Athlete: A Must Read for Tennis Parents

Are you considering getting your child involved in organized sports? If so, consider the endless physical and psychological benefits of playing tennis, the “sport of a lifetime”. Tennis improves the ability to problem solve, focus on a task, and be disciplined. It increases an athlete’s ability to work with others. It can help build a strong team member and can develop social skills. Tennis is an easy way to learn good sportsmanship, meet new people, exercise and have fun!

 If you already have a child paying tennis, how do you know if they have talent? The first things tennis professionals look for are hand-eye coordination and basic athletic ability. Another thing that professionals identify as an important component is patience, because positive outcomes don’t appear right away. When the child is just a beginner, it is not recommended to push the child past his/her limit. The effort and desire to work should come from within, and not from an outside pressure. Instead, a good way to reinforce the behavior you want to see is by simply acknowledging and supporting the child when they are playing well or trying hard. A great way to show support for your child is to invest in proper resources if the child is having fun and learning. If the child is struggling to improve, try using softer balls and smaller courts. This allows for longer rallies and different types of shots.

It is important to remember that the child should be playing because they enjoy it and not because they are being forced into it. Talent paired with self-discipline can make for an excellent tennis player. As the child becomes a more serious competitor, parents may become more involved in the athlete’s experience, but pushing the player past their limit is never a good idea. A supportive tennis community is also a key factor in the child’s success as an athlete. At the Nassau Tennis Club, we provide lessons and competitive opportunities for players of all ages and levels in a fun, safe and state-of-the-art environment. Our tennis professionals are more than happy to consult about athletes.  Talking to your child’s pro can help you understand your child’s development, and if the child is ready to take it to the next level.

If they are ready for the next level, they may become interested in playing collegiate tennis. A common question asked of pros is whether or not an athlete is ready to compete in a high-intensity environment. The capability is indicated by an athlete’s success in junior tournaments and high school season. A player who wants to develop their athleticism may do so by cross-training with another sport. During the tennis off-season, I advocate for playing another sport or staying active to maintain endurance, strength and confidence. A young athlete should not feel pressured to specialize in just one sport unless they have a serious passion for it.

Whether your child is a serious athlete or just a beginner, playing tennis proves to be a rewarding sport. Fun, friends and fitness combined all into one makes for an activity that will keep your child coming back for more.

About the Author

Benton Camper, Jr. is General Manager of the Nassau Tennis Club, a premier tennis facility located in Central New Jersey.  Benton is an avid tennis player, coach and parent of two young athletes. 

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