PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR COMPETITION
Competition at this young age is a very hotly debated topic in the world of tennis. If handled in the correct way competition is an important part of a child`s development. It gives them an opportunity to test their skills against others and put into practice what they are learning on a weekly basis. If you look at other sports like football and rugby for example, they train through the week and then compete every weekend. The key to competing successfully is to focus on developing as a player above winning or losing. The mini tennis ratings system backs this up as when a player joins as a BTM member and receives a mini rating they initially work their way down by playing a certain amount of matches with no focus on winning or losing. This helps take the pressure off winning as children are awarded for simply competing and developing their skills which is the main aim. It`s not until they reach their level 2 rating, out of 4, that they have to win a certain amount of matches to achieve their level 1 rating. Please see click here to see the mini tennis ratings chart for more information on this.
The primary role of any parent is to be supportive, interested, encouraging and caring. An over emphasis on winning by one or both parents can result in a fear of failure, which can lead to unnecessary caution, feigning injury, cheating to win or even avoiding matches. When your child has finished competing always try to ask questions that are performance based like “How did you play?”, “Did you enjoy it?” and “What did you learn?” before questions that are outcome based like “Did you win?” and “What was the score?”. Remember that tennis has four key performance factors: technical, tactical, physical and mental. Your child will good in some areas and not so strong in others. All players are different!
Outcome vs. Performance
Outcome Focussed Players
– Want to win above all else
– Results are very important
– likely lose confidence after a loss
– Look for Praise associated with victory (and usually receive it).
Performance Focussed Players
– Want to be good at what they do
– Playing well is more important
– Are prepared to work hard in practice
– Focus on Improving (Winning will follow!)
– Set Goals
– Are Critical (Reflective and honest) about their own performance
Creating the right environment for your child is crucial, so try and”¦
– focus on improvement and not results
– understand the emotional needs of children at different ages and stage
– create a fun and exciting atmosphere in which to learn What deserves reward and praise
– Sportsmanship/Fair play
– Achievement of Personal Goals