A common misconception with the teaching of tennis fundamentals is that it has to be strict. Like drill sergeants have to storm down from Apache helicopters with tennis racquets, a basket of balls, stern commands and Nike feather caps…. No.
When kids are introduced to the sport, it’s imperative that it’s more FUN than anything else. It’s something we always stress at Tiger Tennis, and it sounds like it should be a given, but that’s not always the case.
Too often, kids are exposed to tennis upbringings that ignore all the fun the sport has to offer. Instead, some of America’s tennis youth are almost expected to treat tennis like a job—even when they’re not training to be competitive players!
Kids who just learned how to tie their shoes are thrown onto a court and fed balls and told to serve for an hour and a half. That just doesn’t cut it.
That’s why the Tiger Tennis Academy way of introducing tennis to young children is the best way to go about it. We play music, facilitate interactive games that make tennis an interesting and multidimensional activity, and keep the environment positive.
At the early stages of tennis development, it shouldn’t even be about true ‘game’ development. It should merely be about keeping kids happy and active while they’re in a tennis setting.
In a previous blog post, I cited how schools in Finland encourage physical activity in the scholastic environment. It’s not all overly structured either. And Finnish students test better than American students. That’s not to say the Finns are blatantly superior to Americans, but it does say something about results.
It’s clear that providing a relaxed environment is the foundational piece of a player’s mental development. By giving a child that, a parent or coach is giving him or her the opportunity to feel the sport out—a major key to a healthy introduction.
When it comes to fundamentals, of course a child needs consistent reminders of them, but not to a redundant degree. There are fun ways to get kids into tennis, and enough proper facilitation helps the right decisions get made as the journey progresses.