So you have decided that your kid needs to start playing sports. And for whatever reason, your choice is tennis. Remember the proverb “Measure twice and cut once”. For those who are on the way I offer the following advice. All my advice is based on my 9 years of experience as a tennis parent. Also I have read a lot of books and discussed all these things with people from tennis world.
Tennis is a one man sport. It’s just like boxing, except for the straight up beating. Do not think that tennis is an aristocratic sport. It was like that many years ago. Now, tennis industry is a billion dollar show with its own rules. There are no draws. One player is the winner, while the other is the loser.
Think hard about your abilities and the child’s natural gifts. Ask yourselves the following questions: Why tennis? Why not football, baseball, basketball, track and field, gymnastics, or dozens of other more accessible and equally popular sports? Do you have enough patience, nerves, and money needed for your child to be able to go through this long process? What exact goals are you setting when you are sending your kid to play this difficult and expensive sport? Are you even setting any goals at all?
Don’t hide behind the back of a little child, telling yourself that your kid likes the sport and made the commitment when he saw the neighbor’s kid practicing, or when he saw Maria Sharapova or Roger Federer on TV. Remember that tennis is like a swamp. Once you get in, it’s going to be very hard to get out.
But if you have decided that tennis is a right sport to your kid, be prepared for a long journey that is sometimes enjoyable, sometimes very tough.