How to Get your Kids Excited about Tennis (or Any Other Sport)

“Kids Playing Tennis” by Club Med – Discover a New World is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 

 

Are you raising a future Roger or Serena?

Summer is the perfect time to introduce your kids to tennis. School’s out. The weather’s nice enough to play at your neighborhood tennis court. And with the French Open in June, Wimbledon in July and the US Open in August, youngsters can soak up some inspirational grand slam magic before school’s back in session.

Any sport at all is obviously great for kids. It keeps them fit – and away from their tablets – while also developing important life skills like teamwork and dedication. Then of course there are the physical benefits: hand-eye coordination, balance, reaction time, agility, endurance and speed.

However, tennis has certain elements that other sports lack. Being an individual sport, tennis really only requires one other player (as opposed to a full team, like with basketball, soccer or baseball) so it’s a sport you can play easily and throughout your whole lifetime. Parents love that it’s relatively safe (how often do you hear of a kid being rushed to the hospital for a tennis injury?) and also the barriers to start are low. All you really need is a racquet, a can of balls and a court/wall. Best of all, tennis can improve a child’s mental toughness and problem solving skills. Tennis is, as the adage goes, 90% mental.

So how can you introduce your kids to tennis (or any sport really) in a way that sparks a lifelong passion without pushing them too hard?

Be a Positive Role Model

If your child sees that exercise is a priority in your own life, they’ll naturally want to do the same. So hit the gym, go on family bike rides, kick a ball around the yard and of course, play tennis yourself.

Keep it fun

It’s really important to keep your child’s experience of tennis positive and fun. Especially at the beginning when they’re bound to make lots of mistakes and feel somewhat silly. Make sure to laugh along with them and just have a good time rather than focusing too much on technique or rules.

Sign Them up for Private Lessons, Group Clinics or Summer Camps

Your next step is to sign them up for private lessons, group clinics or summer tennis camps so they can start to improve their form and establish a solid foundation. Being around other children will bring out their social side and lets them forge friendships that carry over into the school year. Whether they’re a beginner learning the game or advancing to higher levels of competition, learning with others help’s develop their passion for the sport. Learn more at USTA Foundation.

Let Them Choose! (Very Important)

Before signing them up, make sure to talk to them first. If they already have positive feelings about tennis, thanks to those fun memories made with you on the court, then they’ll be motivated to continue. But it’s vital that the decision is theirs.

Take them to a Pro, College or Junior tournament

It doesn’t have to be a grand slam. Watching a live tournament at a local tennis club, university or even high school will show your kids what advanced levels of tennis look like. They’ll be inspired to dream big.

Get them geared up

If you really want your kids to get bitten by the tennis bug, then don’t just give them your rusty old racket and some chewed-up tennis balls. Gear that’s designed specifically for their size and ability level will help them feel – and play – their best. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get your kids tennis-ready.

Essentials

Fun extras

So there you have it – everything you need to know to ignite your kids’ lifelong love of tennis. Happy playing!

 


 

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