How far do you push your child?

I’m asked all the time about how far a child should be pushed at Tennis, what age should they start and how often should they train a week.  The answer is not the same for everyone – it’s how far a child wants to be pushed.  The most important thing though is to instill a love for Tennis and take the long view.  Your child is not likely to become a Tennis Pro until 16-17 years old at the earliest, if they make it.  Between then and now, there is plenty of time for them to dig in their heels and refuse to play.  So, you need to inspire them continually to want to work hard at it, while still challenging them.

With children, you will often see a Tennis Coach playing various fun games with them that may seem unrelated to Tennis, but in fact they all serve some purpose in developing skills subconsciously.  I do this and mix this with some fairly advanced adult drills to challenge them – it’s surprising how quickly they respond to it and they can actually do them pretty well.

The other day, a young child was on the other court being worked very hard by a coach.  He wasn’t aggressive, but firm and the lesson was very serious.  One of my parents turned round and said she understood now what I meant – the little boy kept looking over at us, where we were working hard, but laughing and enjoying it at the same time.  My pupil is progressing quickly and also wants to be there – for me, that is a success!

What do you think?

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