As a tennis parent you should play an important positive role in their children´s sports experience
We have all heard about, seen or maybe you are the over exited parent who for example shouts too loudly during the games of their kid. Unfortunately the behaviour of parents is many times the reason why kids want to stop playing the sport they used to love. That needs to change!
In this article we will share our top tips on how to support the progress of your child in the best ways possible. Whether your child is an extremely talented player or still struggling with the basics, we will share our best tips on how to a role model for your kid so you can help making the most out of his or her tennis experience.
Be a parent first
When your kid comes off the court, he/she is not looking forward to hear from you about what went wrong during the match and how you should´ve done it better. Your kid most likely wants you to be the parent that gives you a heads up and letting you know that losing isn´t the end of the world.
You don´t need to throw all the things your kid did wrong during the match on top of him/her right after your kid steps off the court from a match. You can always hire a coach but your kid only has one mom and dad.
tennis parent, Focus on the fun of the sport!
Sport for kids is mostly about having fun. Most likely your kid isn´t the new Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams. Play is the basis of how we learn everything. We have to make some mistakes along the way to learn how to do things the right way.
Children typically are so focused on their own play that they aren’t comparing themselves to other players. You do not want to rate your child’s performance based on others. This will introduce a sense of doubt or shame when they make mistakes and they will lose any sense of fun. A good question to ask first when your kid steps of the court will be, “did you have fun.” Let them know that this is what’s most important!
With every sport comes the potential for injury. Kids are running, jumping, hitting and maybe even sliding. A big part of playing sports is about experiencing the physicality of movement and becoming more coordinated. Help your child to pay attention by learning good sports technique with their coach. Help your kid by let him use the appropriate equipment like a good racquet, a nice string combination, a grip that´s not slipping away from his/her hands and ofcourse proper shoes! Letting your kid play without the right equipment can hurt him/her in the long run with potential injuries.
Be patient with your child
Everything in life takes time to learn. We get better with practice, and some things come more naturally than others. Sports can give you and your child the chance to learn more patience. Parents say some of the most gratifying experiences they have when watching their child play a sport is when they have a great play or do something new that they have never been able to do before.
Celebrate the little victories as well as the big ones just the same. Your child will build off of each new skill he or she learns. Ultimately they will learn to have resilience in the face of adversity.
Children learn self-control when sports parents display self-control
The way you behave when you’re in the stands watching your child is important. As mentioned above, you don’t want your actions and words in the stands to create unnecessary stress for you child.
When you display self-control in the stands and after competition, your child learns self-control. And when you cheer for everyone, your child is more likely to cheer for everyone too.
Being a good tennis parent means cheering for everyone!
Competitive parents and youth sports don’t always mix well. Even if you’re doing a great job supporting your child, there may be some parents creating a tough sports environment. Loud and competitive sports parents can put a damper on kids sports.
Consider making an honest effort to cheer on your child’s teammates and even allow yourself to compliment the competition.
When you respond to an impressive performance honestly, other parents may even be reminded to do the same. Positive sports parenting actions like these can help take away any negative emotions during competition.
Don’t forget the coaches, judges or volunteers who are spending time and putting in effort to make youth sports available to your child and other kids.
If you find it difficult to cheer for, or compliment the other player, focus on the sport! Consider saying “good game” or “that was a great competition” to help a tough situation. When emotions are running high, it can take a while to cool off. Just compliment the other player and that´s that…. Let´s move on to the next match 🙂
Good sports parenting takes practice
In the end, being a good sports parent requires practice, just like athletics.
The more often you practice positive sports parenting, like cheering for your child’s opponent or complementing the coach and/or the referee, the greater your impact will be on their sports experience. The best part is that if you want to make changes to your sports parenting style, everyday is a chance to get better at it. Just like your kid is training to improves his/her strokes, overall game and personality.
Be brave! Ask your kids how you’re doing as a tennis parent
We all know how important it is to communicate with our children. Often, parents are leaned on to help children navigate difficult situations. However, like any good relationship, the communication has to come from both sides.
Make clear that you’re interested to hear from your child about the details of their experience. How do they feel about what’s happening at practices and competitions? And very important as a sport parent, how did they feel about your involvement during the game? Maybe there is something that you can improve, always keep improving.
Now you read those tips, it´s also your time to shine. We play sports to enjoy ourselves, so does your kid. Make sure to give him/her the best possible time you can, you will thank us later 🙂