The Parents' Role
The parents' role is more important in Tennis10s than at any other stage of tennis because children are very influenced by the behaviour of their parents at this age. This is a guide for parents to help them better understand Tennis10s and how they can help ensure that their children have a positive experience playing tennis.
Engaging, retaining and developing players is essential to the success of any sport and healthy competition is a key driver in making this happen. Creating a player-friendly platform for children to be introduced to competition at a level suitable for their age and understanding is vital. Parents can assist in creating a positive playing environment for their child by providing the right support and encouragement.
So what should parents expect from Tennis10s?
In training parents should expect to see…
- The use of slower Red, Orange or Green balls, smaller courts and smaller rackets.
- Activities which help the child to serve rally and score, as well as learn good technique.
- The child rallying and playing points with other children or with the coach, so that they learn tactics and how to play the game better.
- The child actively involved and never waiting in lines to play.
- An animated coach who effectively organises the children to play and creates a fun and friendly environment.
At competitions parents should expect to see…
- A festival type approach using multi match formats with all children getting to play lots of games. Team formats will often be used especially for the younger ages.
- Suitable short scoring method being used.
- Organisers who adapt the rules for players of different abilities to ensure success.
- Scorers or court supervisors present to help the children with scoring, when necessary.
Progressing From Red, To Orange, To Green…
It is important that players only progress to the next stage when they are able to control the ball and implement tactics effectively at their current Tennis10s stage. If the player moves up too soon then they may develop poor technique and lose confidence and interest.
Parents should understand that learning to play the game of tennis / compete is a gradual process and as children progress through the three stages of Tennis10s, parents should encourage their child to become more independent. Parents should also try to focus on how their child is developing, on their performance and most importantly on their enjoyment, rather than on their results in matches.
Tips for parents
The following are some useful tips for parents on how to support, encourage and act respectively during your child's Tennis10s development.
- Allow the child to play in the appropriate stage of Tennis10s so that they can gain confidence and better enjoy playing the game.
- It is best not to watch every match that the child plays as this can place pressure on them.
- Stick to your role as the parent and do not try to become the coach.
- Playing matches is an important part of a player’s development and the child should be encouraged by the parent to compete as well as have lessons.
- Be aware of the child’s capabilities and avoid comparing them with others players and their development.
- Be aware that at this age results are not so important. The most important aspect is that they like playing tennis and that they play lots of matches.
- Encourage good behaviour in lessons and matches.
- Do not tolerate bad behaviour, cheating or bad manners.
- Encourage the child to learn independence. Avoid making them depend too much on you.
- Focus on effort instead of results. Never ask “Did you win? Instead it is better to ask “How did you play?” or “Did you have fun?” Make them realise you are more interested in them than the result.
- Help the child to understand that showing respect for the rules, opponents, and officials, is all part of tennis.
- Respect the opponents, their parents and coaches, and of course the competition officials.
- Always applaud both players.
- The child’s coach has the expertise and they should be respected and appreciated by you.
To download the Tennis10s Parents' leaflet, visit the Resources section.
Parents playing tennis with their children
Parents like to play and have fun with their children!
Tennis Xpress is an ideal course for parents who are new to tennis and whose children are participating in Tennis10s, the ITF 10-and-under tennis programme. After the Tennis Xpress course parents will be able to play tennis with their children using slower balls. The coach should promote the Tennis Xpress course to parents of children involved in Tennis10s programmes.