Advice for tennis parents of a child that plays tennis recreationally or competitively!
The most important thing is to have fun. Developing a competitive tennis player is a complex process requiring the entire family’s involvement. The long road to a professional career, if well managed, can satisfy everyone involved. However, a negative attitude on the part of the parents can be extremely damaging, affecting both the child’s performance and family relationships. Overbearing parents frequently cause their children to stop playing entirely. As a result, I believe it is critical to think about how we can be better tennis parents. Tennis is a game.
- Concentrate on your child’s game improvement rather than the outcome of matches.
- Success is less important than dedication and hard work. Avoid rewarding only results.
- Don’t forget that tennis is just a sport, and it is good life preparation even if your child will never be a professional. Tennis isn’t the most important thing in life and never will be. Education, for example, should always take precedence.
- Try to understand and share tennis’s emotional difficulties and nuances as a parent of a tennis player. Avoid underestimating the pressures of a solitary sport such as tennis.
- Assign responsibilities to your child. This will boost their self-esteem and independence over time. However, please don’t let them become overly reliant on you.
- Ensure that competitive tennis is a positive experience, particularly in personality development. Sportsmanship, values, personal development, accountability, discipline, and a positive mindset toward others are required. In addition, you can teach your child a healthy way to be passionate about sports.
- Acknowledge that children have the right to play and not to play tennis.
- Let your child know you care about them and are available to them if they require help, but avoid becoming overly involved in their tennis activity.
- Be ready to listen to and learn from your children. Don’t try to learn everything there is to know about tennis for them.
1. Emotional Support
- Be prepared to provide emotional support for your child, especially during difficult times. Withholding affection is not a punishment or a way to get your child to play better.
- Make your child feel valued and boost their self-esteem, especially if they lose a game. Avoid criticizing poor outcomes. Remember that your child decides to compete, and you may only watch if they want you to. Avoid saying “let’s play well today” as if you’re competing.
- Acknowledge your child’s tennis abilities, but keep your feet on the ground and remain objective. Don’t put your child on a pedestal.
- Stress that winning does not imply love. When your child loses, try not to get angry or treat them differently.
- Participate in the game while remaining calm in positive and negative situations. Demonstrate to your child that you are interested in and appreciate their efforts, regardless of the outcome. If your child is performing poorly, try not to leave. “How was the game?” “How did you feel?” “How did you play?” “Did you have fun?” These demonstrate that you were concerned about how your child played or whether they had fun, rather than just the outcome. Don’t just ask, “Did you win?” when they return from a match.
- Assist your child (both financially and otherwise) by demonstrating that you are willing to assist them in playing tennis. Avoid instilling guilt in them by informing them that you are spending a lot of money.
- Encourage your child to be self-sufficient and think for themselves. Avoid acting as a coach from the stands.
- When your child loses a match, remind them that it is only a game. The world does not end as a result, and the sun will rise again tomorrow. Never, ever, ever physically or verbally abuse your child.
- Encourage your child to avoid making excuses. For example, if they complain about the court, point out that it was the same for both players. In the long run, objective, fair analysis will only help. But don’t be too harsh; instead, try to persuade them to be objective.
- Show your child’s tennis support by attending matches if they ask you to. However, avoid being present at all of their games or practice sessions.
- Allow the coach to decide when and how your child will be trained. If you believe your child should be playing more, avoid criticizing them. When it comes to practice, remember that quality is preferable to quantity.
- Attempt to comprehend the risks and keep an eye out for stress symptoms (tiredness, hypercritical attitude, cheating, etc.) On the other hand, don’t dismiss your child’s fears and insecurities.
The only thing you should expect from your child’s tennis activity is that it will help him become a better person and a better athlete. Everything else is a bonus. Examine your child’s progress in his abilities and goals. Avoid comparing your progress to that of other children.
Instead, try to motivate your child positively and amicably (for example, using positive reinforcement). Three compliments for every criticism is a good rule of thumb. To encourage your child, avoid using sarcasm.
- Make sure that your child adheres to the principles of sportsmanship and appropriate and polite behavior. You must act quickly if your child misbehaves on or off the court.
- Praise your child for who they are as a person, not as a tennis player.
- Don’t promise special perks, prizes, or anything else in exchange for winning. Remember that you and your child must have interests outside of tennis. So try not to spend too much time talking about tennis with your child.
- The most important thing is your child’s well-being and happiness.
- Keep in mind that tennis players require some peace of mind after a loss. When a player loses, a pat on the back or words of encouragement is more than enough. After everything has calmed down, you will be able to comment on the game. However, it is preferable if they initiate the conversation. Avoid pressuring your child to talk to you right after a game.
- Take your child’s injuries seriously, and get medical attention if necessary. Never ignore pain or discomfort, and never force them to play if injured.
- Make it clear to your child that you are willing to accompany them to tournaments and training sessions, but refrain from insisting on accompanying them to every match and training session.
2. Tennis Parents’ Behavior
- Maintain a positive image of serenity, calm, and relaxation during matches. Avoid displaying negative emotions by appearing nervous or angry when your child makes a mistake.
- Maintain a positive attitude and try to enjoy watching your child play. However, avoid being overly critical or negative in your behavior. Remember that being a good parent of a tennis player necessitates a high level of emotional control.
- Maintain your parental role. Avoid taking on the part of your child’s coach (for example, discussing technique, strategy, etc.). Outside of tennis, live your life. Remember that you have personal needs as well; don’t ignore them. Avoid having your child experience some of your unfulfilled dreams.
- Be generous in recognizing and applauding your child’s opponents’ dedication and skill. But, conversely, you should avoid ignoring or criticizing them.
3. The Coach’s Role
- Be respectful of your child’s coach’s experience. Try not to criticize their training methods.
- Ensure that the coach has a positive, motivating attitude and promotes positive values. Avoid being too negative, results-oriented, or demanding as a coach.
- Establish open communication lines and speak with the coach regularly to inquire about your child’s progress, goals, and mental attitude. Do not avoid making eye contact with the coach.
- Before switching coaches, ensure the relationship ends on a high note.
- Don’t forget that your child’s coach is a qualified expert who can help you in various ways, both on and off the court, and teach you more about tennis. Please collaborate with the coach to understand your child’s personality and emotions better. Don’t think of the coach as a simple employee or a ball machine.
- Maintain objectivity and recognize when your child’s opponent has performed admirably.
- Try to maintain positive relationships with other parents so that you can assist one another.
- Strive to strike a balance between your tennis interest and the interests of other family members. For example, try not to lose interest in your other children.
- It is critical for parents and coaches to make the child aware of “invisible training,” including friendships, evening outings, parties, sleepovers, etc. All of these factors can have an impact on a player’s performance.