With the everyday chaos of being a parent, finding the right activity for your child shouldn’t be one of those stressful decisions. If tennis is the activity of choice there are certain factors to consider to ensure a positive experience. Does your child already show potential and enthusiasm for the sport? Or do they only want to get out on the court with their friends and have a bit of fun? Here is what you need to know prior to setting up kids tennis lessons.
“My child is competitive and driven. What should I look for in an tennis instructor?”
- Setting the groundwork for your child’s game is key. An instructor who can ingrain solid fundamentals will facilitate progress. Proper technique is the foundation to becoming a great tennis player.
- You want an instructor who is enthusiastic, energetic and above all an individual who will challenge your child. A consistent challenge will keep a competitive child engaged and excited to keep learning. There is a fine balance between challenge and fun, but the best instructors are able to find that happy medium. Look for someone with former junior player or team coaching experience.
- Ideally your instructor is in the physical condition required to keep up with your children’s performance. If a junior player sees that the instructor is not able to keep up with them on the court then you may have a problem. Not to say there aren’t older instructors who won’t get the most out of your child, just don’t be disappointed when they aren’t conducting a hitting lesson.
- Make sure your child and instructor have compatible personalities. You can find the most qualified instructor in your area but be sure they can get through to your child on a personal level. A coach is as much of a mentor as they are an athletic coach so aligned goals and demeanor are key.
“My child has shown an interest in tennis but is looking mostly to have fun. What should I look for in an instructor?”
- You won’t need the most expensive instructor. It is important that your instructor is able to teach fundamentals but if a child looking at tennis as a recreational sport then their comfort with the instructor is the top priority.
- See if your child is more comfortable in a private or group setting. Some children just want to be among friends while others can be self conscious around others if they are a beginner. Tryout both types of lessons to see what environment, coach and level of attention they prefer.
- Kids love games. That’s obvious. You’ll want a coach however, who has extensive experience with children who are getting exposed to the sport for the first time. To be honest, the most important factor for anyone on the court is to enjoy your time. Implementing games, and knowing the right time to do so, help drill down the fundamentals in a seamless manner.
“I’ve determined the needs of my child (Possible pro! Casual kid!). What else should I keep in mind when making my final decision on a tennis coach?”:
- Pick an instructor that has been pre-screened. There are plenty of instructors who advertise themselves online but it’s nearly impossible to tell who is reliable, certified, or pre-approved. Find a pre-screened instructor to ensure that they will be a good fit with players with all ages and skill levels. Better yet, if an coach has gone through PTR and USPTA certification process you know you’re going to receive a next level tennis lesson experience.
- Be sure to consider how often your child should take lessons. Whether a casual or serious player, lessons every day will burn most children out.
- Communication, with you off the court and with your child on the court, is a must. It is always important for everyone to be at ease and aware of the set schedule and specific skills and goals of each lesson.
- Last but not least, try to find out from other parents if they are satisfied with the work of the instructor and the progress their youngsters are making. Most instructors will be happy to provide references to call or written testimonials to read. Previous positive experiences go a long way in deciding if a particular instructor fits with your child’s needs.
Hopefully now you’ll be able to make a more educated decision when it comes to your child’s tennis game. Whether they are looking to become the next Roger Federer or they are trying to hang out with some friends and whack the ball around a bit, there is a coach out there perfect for your child.