Unfortunately, tennis is not as popular a sport as soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and many other team sports where you have teammates to share pressure when winning and losing. Tennis is an expensive sport, and it requires a financial and time commitment from the player’s parents. Junior tennis players feel a tremendous amount of pressure to win, and on the top of that, they feel pressure from their parents as well.
All parents want the best for their child, and they work hard to provide their children with the best they can, but parents need some coaching on how to be “tennis parents” so their children can be the best they can be playing tennis. It is very important to raise your child and give them the building blocks to great confidence, resilience, work ethic, modesty and the courage to be a tennis player. But parents need to trust their children’s coaches about their technique and time on the court spent with their child.
Parents need to find a good program and a good coach that fits their child. They need to conduct a great deal of research about tennis programs to find the right program that is dedicated to developing players and teaching your child everything they know. Parents also need to find a coach who wants the best for your child and who has knowledge about the game.
Loyalty is another key factor in finding the right coach. Parents often take their child to different tennis programs and take private lessons at various tennis clubs. These actions may confuse the child and make it difficult to find balance and stability. Coaching philosophies that differ may confuse a child, thus stunt their growth as a player.
Once this work is done, the parents need to take a step back and not get involved in any tennis techniques … they should leave that up to the coach.
A child’s tennis game is not going to be perfect day in and day out. There may, in fact, be very few days where you feel amazing on the court, where every ball you hit is perfectly placed. Parents must understand that their child will not be perfect every day on the court, and they need to deal with adversity. They need to develop the skills to cope with days like these both on the court and in their everyday life.
All coaches understand that parents need to be connected with their children’s tennis game so their children can participate in tennis programs, take private lessons, participate in fitness sessions and play in tournaments. If you don’t have all of these things going on, the chances of the child sticking with tennis are minimal. I recommend that parents do the proper research and find the proper coach for their child on the court, while they provide the proper support as a parent off the court. The most important factor to this all is that the child’s tennis experience is a positive and happy one, full of support both on and off the court.
Vinicius Carmo is Tennis Director of The Ross School Tennis Academy and Coach of the Boys and Girls Varsity Tennis Teams. As a player, Vinicius was ranked among the top five junior players in Brazil and played several international junior tennis tournaments. He attended the University of Tennessee for four years on a full scholarship.