What should a tennis parent tell their child before they go on the tennis court? Only this: “have fun”.
The reason is that a child has a way of misinterpreting almost anything a parent says. For example, if they say “good luck”, the child could think: They do not think I am good enough to win without luck.
If the tennis parent says “play your best”, the child can read this as: They think I do not play my best so I had better do something extra to win their approval. This can lead to a rapid series of unforced errors and a quick loss because the child is so stressed about losing their parent’s approval.
Kids can misinterpret anything a parent says to their demise. This is because the child is completely dependent on the parent for they safety, security and well being and so may be constantly on the lookout for any indication that this may be taken away.
It is irrational, generally, but kids do not think like adults and so the parent must chose their words carefully if they are to inspire their child to play their best rather than detract from it. “Have fun” is your best and safest comment as a parent.