Is my child ready to take Tennis to the next level?
There is no right answer for this question. There is however several ways we can “test” for this and get a better idea of what your child thinks of tennis. Check out some of the questions below to get a better idea.
What is better for my child: private lessons, group lessons, semi privates, or Junior Team Tennis ? I’m so confused where do I start ?
This is a very common feeling among tennis parents. A quick search online will leave you reading for hours and hours with no clear answer. At Fun Kid Fit since we teach children first and tennis second we want to stress one thing before you jump to make any crazy decisions: These are children. Take them out to the park, to the courts and let them get tired of the playground, then bring them to the court, hit the ball with them, get a feel for your child first hand during sport. Tell them you love to see them play every time they play. Don’t talk about their mistakes or “negativity” until several hours have passed and both you and the child are with a cool head.
Just following this advice will put both of you in a better position to understand the different options available and answer the question of “What is better for my child ?”
Should my child be practicing? How much time per week?
It really depends on their age and skill level.
Example: A 7 year old who has been playing for about 6 months and can move around and hit the forehand and backhand with ease could benefit from 2-3 hours of tennis and maybe 1-2 hours of cardio, running, recreational, high intensity heart pumping activity and that might be enough to keep him/her pretty motivated and growing in skill. The same 7 year old who has been playing for 3 years might need the same time PLUS an additional 1-2 hours of private or semi-private instruction to reach higher levels of play and to ensure that their technique doesn’t degrade.
It’s a very circumstantial answer that is definitely “case by case”. As with all of these questions , if you are still in doubt please feel free to ask us directly, by email or by phone if you have concerns regarding this.
Should my child be competing in tournaments?
This is very open to opinion. In our opinion, tournaments are a great way for the competitive athlete to get tournament experience, overcome pressure situations, and take their game to the most competitive level. However the frequency of tournaments, the type of tournaments, and the level of tournaments can change the whole situation and are very dependent on work ethics and dedication to the sport.
Example: an 8 year old child who practices 2x per week in a group session and plays occasionally with family and friends CAN start entry level tournaments but parents and coaches need to understand that the younger the child is and the lower the level of dedication the parents and child commit to the sport ultimately determines the improvements from tournament to tournament. It takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of repetitions (balls) to perfect and develop tennis strokes, they won’t just show up on their own because the child is in a tournament. If the same child does poorly in an entry level tournament, the parents may want to take 4-8 weeks, work on 1 or 2 deficiencies and test again. This will teach the child about hard work, dedication and that improvement is a process not an entitlement.
Tournaments are not cheap. Even entry level tournaments are roughly the cost of 1 sometimes (2) private lessons (and these tournaments don't even count for points or rankings). Players don’t learn skills in a tournament, they apply what they’ve already learned. It’s like a test. Tournaments do however offer a learning environment for: mental toughness, patience, sportsmanship, learning to call the score, counting, calling the balls in or out and the intricacies of junior tennis rules and regulations.
Again, depending on the level of the child, how developed their strokes are, ability to keep score, the pressure and the prestige of a tournament may be too much too early. Parents, careful consideration is suggested.