By the time you read this article, the U.S. Open (America’s grand slam tennis tournament) will be in the quarter-finals, Labor Day will have come and gone, and school will have been in session for more than two weeks.

On that note, I’d like to take this opportunity to mention how well kids who are playing tennis (and most sports, for that matter) do in school, and life in general. One of tennis’ greatest assets is that of gaining self confidence.

As the great Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”

Whether kids are in the classroom or on the court, self-confidence helps them excel, and learning how to play tennis helps youths build self-confidence.

Additionally, parents want to instill the values of pride, respect and responsibility in their children, and for grades K-3 learning how to play tennis will do just that.

Here are some values that children pick up when learning to play tennis:

  • Practice and get better. They learn the fundamentals, practice, get better, and increase self-esteem.
  • Serious fun. They develop techniques and skills to keep the ball in play and have fun doing something that they are good at.
  • Value of hard work. On and off the court, children come to realize the importance of hard work, responsibility and success, as well as failure in things they do and how to learn from their mistakes.
  • Preparing to succeed. By preparing and practicing, they excel at hitting the ball, crunching the numbers, and expressing themselves verbally and in writing.

It’s important that the child’s tennis instructor takes tennis seriously while making it a fun experience. It’s more important that the in-structor works with the children to develop their values both on the court and in the classroom. A good instructor can inspire almost any child to gain a love for the game.

I still remember the instructors from my school days that caused me to be inspired to learn, and I looked forward to being in their classes.

Unlike many other sports, tennis has some tangible takeaways. Physically, students gain endurance and coordination. Mentally, they learn about self-discipline, problem solving, and how to succeed on the court and in the classroom as well.

Now that school is underway, it’s a good time to give your child an “ad”(vantage) by learning a new sport after school that can help master the challenges of academics during school, and life skills in general.

Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio and youth tennis coach who lives, teaches and provides custom-hybrid racquet service in the Bluffton-Hilton Head Island area.