As we all know tennis is a game that can be enjoyed by the whole family at any age and sex. But at what age should your kids first pick up a racket and join in enjoying the fun.
Is there such a thing as too young? Or is it more preferable to start at an easy level to build up the required muscles and skill.
Kids learn quickly, but that is also true of picking up bad habits and techniques that may stay with them into adult life. So what are the parameters and guidelines that are recommended for youngsters to enter the sport.
Setting a Goal
Firstly you must consider what is the end goal for your child? To be a professional player? Or just to have fun and exercise?
If you think that your child shows the aptitude needed to become a top player then it may be still advantageous to let him or her develop at their own pace. Children develop at different speeds and pushing a child too hard may be detrimental to both future physical and mental conditions. It is after all a lifelong sport.
Pushing your child down a professional route is totally a decision that the parents and the child can decide. But is a child of seven or eight mature enough to make a decision like that? Letting an older youth, say in their teens, pursue the sport because they love it seems like a reward.
Avoiding Potential Burn-Out
Any sportsman with a mind to becoming a professional has the same dangers and pitfalls. Education, health, mental and physical development, association with peers and the worst of all burn out have to be considered.
Kids have very few precious years to be a child, it is hard to identify what development takes place for the future in these formative, tender years. Many specialists endorse the theory that playtime is one of the most significant activities a child can participate in.
Tennis coach Mehul Kar states that kids can start playing tennis as early as four years old. He states by this age children are old enough to follow instructions and have enough strength and control of their bodies and coordination.
However, classes should be fun and more like a game than any form of training. Otherwise there is a real danger you can kill the passion and love for the game forever.
Parents can also set a good example by playing tennis with their kids, ensure that the child’s development goes hand in hand with fun.
Childhood is a period of steady but uncertain development. Both in growth and maturation and rapid progress is made in motor development at a young age.
Body and Mind
Tennis is without doubt good for the body and mind. The problem area with children is when you push them too hard to succeed, there is nothing wrong with a child of any age playing tennis if it is for fun and exercise.
Regular tennis play has been demonstrated to improve;
- Aerobic and cardiovascular fitness
- Anaerobic fitness
- Leg and arm strength
- Coordination and gross motor control
- Bone strength and density
- Psychological development
- Developing social skills
In summary there is no perfect age to start playing tennis, be aware of the dangers of pushing your kids too hard too fast. And above all let your children have fun with a racket and ball.
If you are interested in organising private coaching lessons for your child then talk to us. Our professional coaches can devise exactly the right training plan, based on the goals you and your youngster want to achieve.