As your child grows, they go through many different stages and need constant support. There are lots of exercises that you can do with your child to rapidly improve their development and help them understand the emotions they will feel and go through on the tennis court. The most important thing to remember when helping your child is that all activities must be about HAVING FUN! Be a parent at all times not a coach and let your child be a child! These following guidelines will help you:
- It`s a game!! So play!!
- Make all games fun!
- Tennis is a game in a court, with a net and a ball (the racket serves only to make your hand work better)
- A net is just something you play over! You can use anything!
- It`s more than just strokes!
- If you can`t see it you can`t hit it! If you can`t move to it you can`t hit it!
- Little child = little court!
- Children are not mini adults.
- Be positive! Encourage and praise.
- Patience! Patience! Patience! (co-ordination often develops slowly in children aged 5 to 9 but it is vital for their progress; an analogy is ‘building a house’ the foundations are vital and must be put in place at the start, but are not seen).
The key skills you can really help with are:
Reception skills – A player can`t hit unless they work out where the ball is going to be! Throwing, catching and bouncing to each other with different size balls (larger soft balls are much easier to hit and catch because they are slower)
Athletic skills and Coordination – A player can`t hit unless they can get into a relative position! Running, Jumping, Balancing, Hopping, Skipping, Throwing (Remember to coordinate both sides of the body!)
Racket Skills – Control the ball. Tennis is about making the ball do what you want it to, using both sides of the racket and in different areas (left side, right side, above the head!)
Tactics – Tennis isn`t easy but it is simple! Simple tactics are over and in, move your opponent, get back in position
Other ideas – Play lots of sports and remember that tennis is not just about the stroke! The physical, emotional, tactical and reaction/vision are all important factors.
A child`s potential is based upon five factors!
Genetics – what you gave them.
Health – nutrition and active lifestyle.
Environment – the opportunity that the environment provides.
Opportunity – how much they use these.
Task – having reasonable tasks that are appropriate.