A child who has a desire to learn the game of tennis is easier to teach than one who is reticent or uninterested. As a parent interested in ways to engage a child’s learning of the game, junior tennis coaching provides a great opportunity to support the child while building skills, confidence and love of the game. Five benefits of playing junior tennis exist as examples of how to encourage a child’s excitement for the game.
The best place to learn is in one’s own backyard, driveway or park. Toss a few tennis balls to the child and provide an adequately sized racquet for play. A full-size racquet may be too large to handle for a young child. Smaller models help the child feel comfortable with hitting the ball. Encourage the youth through experimentation of hitting the ball, seeing where it goes and exploring the feel of hitting, swinging and stepping towards a ball. A child then begins to feel comfortable enough to build confidence in basic skills while having fun.
A parent or caregiver who plays tennis with a child can encourage play through throwing the ball, seeing how many times the ball can be hit with the racquet over the net by making a game out of it and allowing room for error. At this stage, it is appropriate to let the child become familiar with equipment and simple play. This will encourage a child’s excitement as will explaining basic elements such as forehand shots and rules of the game.
Junior tennis coaching by a parent, caregiver, friend or coach allows the child to grow in understanding of the goals of tennis and how to gain points. Rules for serving can be challenging to teach but it is best to keep it simple. A child learns how rules keep the game orderly but also builds focus and determination to see how many points the child can score in a fun manner.
When a child is given junior tennis coaching, it is important to practice drills. The benefit is reinforcement of game play, building on previous skills and strength. Coordination is a huge skill learned through repetitive practice as well as focus and concentration. Motor skills are key for children to develop which is why drills and repetition are excellent ways to encourage this in children.
The game of tennis is great for teaching sportsmanlike conduct. A child will not always win on the court or in life. As a child progresses in learning the game, this skill can be helpful also in the classroom for team building exercises, graciousness in defeat and humility. All of these skills benefit a child now and in the future as an adult in college, the workplace and social settings.