Tennis Parents

THE TEN BIGGEST MISTAKES COMMITTED BY THE “TENNIS PARENTS”

Tennis coaches may vary with their teaching techniques and ideology, however they all
share one similar “nightmare” which is the “Bad Tennis Parents”.
Raising championship kids is a very demanding job. Unfortunately most parents aren’t
prepared for this mission and the mistakes they make range from minor to enormous ones.
Their decisions have a direct impact on their child’s growth as a human being and a
tennis player. Using the proper tools and following some commonsense guidelines are
essential in becoming better “Tennis Parents”.
Here are some of these common mistakes and their remedies:

1.The last thing a coach wants to experience on the court is a parent that is repeatedly
interfering with his work. The constant interruption of the lesson by either giving
instruction, talking over the coach , questioning him or scolding the child is a
disrespectful and counterproductive behavior which takes all the fun out the learning experience let alone sending the wrong message to the kid.
If the parents feels that the coach is incompetent hiring a new coach should be the alternative.

2.As many other coaches I’m also very familiar with the “pushy tennis parents” phenomenon. Their constant scouting, comparing their kid’s time table to others, hoping from one coach to another, entering the child into excessive number of tournaments, and being obsessed with ranking are some of the trade marks of these parents. This approach will eventually lead to very undesirable consequences. It is a matter of time before the kid will succumb to the high expectations and the mounting pressure and call it quits.

3.This one is another unacceptable behavior by the tennis parent : punishment based
on poor performance.
No matter how badly your child performs in practice or tournament punishment is
totally inappropriate, on rare occasions I’ve even witnessed name calling and spanking
which border lines with child abuse.
Other popular forms of punishments such as grounding, being kept away from the tennis court , canceled tennis lessons , no television rights and so on – are all uncalled for. Poor performances and losing in a tournament are emotional let downs but they are also lessons in life. Dealing with failure teaches you to become stronger and prepares you for the future. And Just like at school , if your child fails a test you make him study harder but you don’t keep him out of school.

4.The opposite of the “Pushy tennis parent” is the one that does not get involved at all and the lack of attention can also produce a negative outcome. Raising a tennis player
requires devoted nurturing. Tennis lessons, driving to tournaments, setting up practice
matches and lots of encouragement make up the daily routine of the tennis parent. Yes, it is costly, it is time consuming, inconvenient at times – it is a commitment, and in the end it is well worth the effort.

5.The overly protective parents, although may have good intentions, could use some parental coaching as well. The word overly says it all, and it is not very positive .
Tennis is a game that actually teaches you a lesson in life. The emotions that are experienced in real life are the same as the ones on the court accept on a much larger scale. The let downs of losing and the “highs” of winning on the tennis court
are very similar to dealing with failure and successes in life. It is important for a child
not only to experience joyful moments but also the disappointments.
I’ve known a parent that pulled his child of the court during practice matches whenever
the game score didn’t favor him to avoid losing, another wouldn’t allow his son to play against a younger kid to shield him from “losing face”, another kid was not allowed even to practice return of serve of another kid , again to dodge playing out the point. Unfortunately these parents never allowed their kids to fend for themselves and consequently robbed them of their character building process.

6.The “Soft Tennis Parent” falls into the “Overly protective Parent” category with a
distinction, this parent is set on protecting the child not against another competitor but rather against the weather elements. “It is too hot”, “it is too cold”, “it is too windy”,
“it is too humid”, “it is very dry”, “it looks like it is going to rain”, “there is too much pollen in the air”, need to go on ?!
An important factor in mastering excellence in tennis is the ability to overcome the discomfort of challenging weather conditions. Tennis tournaments are never canceled because of it and practice or lessons shouldn’t be either. This phrase “Mind over matter” is a good principal to live by, it promotes building character through gaining mental and physical strength.

7.Being the “Coach Tennis Parent” is a grand responsibility to bear. Some parents with tennis background can do a fine job; on the other hand I’ve even heard of former A.T.P. player that his coaching didn’t yield very desirable results. As a “parent / coach” it is important to separate the two entities, which is not an easy task. Knowledge of the
game, communication skills, the ability to demonstrate and the understanding of progression are some of the necessary tools to be a sound coach. Love, encouragement,
patience and positive feedback are rather the parent’s responsibility.
Never the less the benefits of hiring a pro usually outweighs the “parent / coach” ideology. Allowing a coach to be in charge of the tennis program while maintaining a healthy parent coach relationship based on mutual respect is the optimum formula for developing the future’s champs.

8.The word “Loyalty” unfortunately is a thing of the past. At times when loyalty to the
country, to school, church, temple, teacher and friends is in sharp decline , tennis coaches aren’t excluded either. One of the biggest mistakes committed by the “Tennis Parent” is severing relations with a childhood coach; it has a long term repercussion,
it is counterproductive in regards to growing as a player or a person , it leaves an emotional scar on the child (regardless all rationalization), it sends a wrong message
(Everyone is disposable), all in all it is a “Crime” and parents are accountable!
However, there are times when it calls for hiring a new coach. Incompetency, lack of
professionalism or being abusive warrant an immediate response.
Unfortunately in most cases high expectations from the child lead to emotional and irrational decision making by the parents, regardless the quality of the coach.
I know of a parent that has enrolled his child in six different elementary schools by the age of eight because “the teachers were not good enough”.

9.The downfall of American tennis can be blamed mainly on teaching ideology. Tennis
institutions, organizations, associations, clubs, parents and coaches all bear the blame. There has been too much emphases on “Fun” with very little attention to “Quality”.
There is no question that by marketing tennis as “Fun” it appeals to a larger number
of people and subsequently generates more revenues. The question still remains: does
larger number of players produce more highly skilled players?! The answer is no!
I’ve seen kids with six months worth of lessons beating opponents that were enrolled in
some of these “Fun” programs for years.
The emphases when getting involved in tennis should be on quality time spent meaning
learning the proper skills and trying the hardest, fun is good and that should be the byproduct.

10.The theory that participation in multiple number of sports promotes better tennis players is questionable. The average kid today besides the academic curriculum is enrolled in soccer, basketball, baseball, karate, tennis, swimming, piano and more.
This overwhelming schedule eliminates any skill development and the old cliché
“Jack of all trades, Master of none” describes the inevitable.
True, to become a better tennis player it is necessary to be a good athlete and that is why cross training to enhance speed, strength, agility and hand eye coordination should be an integral part of a well rounded tennis program leaving ample time for on court training. quatro casino

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