By Arvind Aravindhan, Tennis Director
Many parents struggle to know exactly what they should do to help maximize their child’s experience with tennis and be supportive. Listed below are a few points that can help you become a better “tennis” parent.
Early Stages of Tennis
At this stage, it is important that the child enjoys the game and is not forced into it. Even though there are instances where a parent may have dreamt of being a tennis star, all children may not hold this same dream. This is also the time to find the right coach or program that will help develop the player and lead them onto whichever path they choose. Tennis is a lifelong sport; so if your child is not interested in being competitive then let them simply enjoy playing the sport.
These are the stages where understanding your role as a parent is critical. You may be the one paying the bill but you are also part of the team which includes your child and the coach. Be mindful not to undermine the coach or your child. A good way to achieve this is to emphasize effort over outcome. This is when your child should set the goals and then you can help hold them accountable. One strong goal would be to always be disciplined and practice as these are very much a part of the sport and life. This is the stage to emphasize that there are no shortcuts to success.
The USTA’s website is a great reference to learn what to do and not to do during tournaments. During tournaments it is imperative that you refrain from coaching. This includes saying “Move your feet” or “Hit to her backhand”. Remember, hand signals are also considered coaching! Cheering is frowned upon but clapping can be encouraging to a player, and is therefore allowed; unless you are clapping at an opponent’s error.
Here are some other helpful rules that every parent should know:
- Parents or coaches are not allowed on the court during a match.
- Players must bring their own drinks and snack. They are not allowed to ask their parent to bring them a drink or snack during the match though they may ask another parent or their team’s captain to do so.
- If there is a dispute between the players regarding a line call or the correct score, the players must settle the dispute themselves; parents are not allowed to intervene.
There is a recent article that I have shared on my personal and Gulph Mills JKST Tennis Club’s Facebook page by Roger Federer’s mom that talks about how to be a tennis parent. Mrs. Federer does know a thing or two about raising a tennis player. To enjoy the article please visit: here.