“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation” – Arthur Ashe
Whether kids are in the classroom or on the court, self-confidence helps them excel, and learning how to play tennis (which has to do a lot with preparation) helps youths build self-confidence.
In addition to confidence, parents want to instill the values of pride, respect and responsibility in their children, and for kindergarten to 3rd graders, 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 their 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 is important that the child’s tennis instructor takes tennis seriously. It’s more important that the instructor works with the children to develop their values both on the court and in the classroom. A good instructor can inspire most any child.
I remember a friend telling me that it was a struggle for him to get 65s and 70s when learning French. Then he had a teacher who inspired him – and his grades in French were 85s and 90s.
Unlike many other sports, tennis has some tangible takeaways. Physically, students gain endurance and coordination. Mentally, they learn about self-discipline and how to succeed, on the court and in the classroom as well.
Now that school is underway, it is a good time to help your child “get excited” about learning a new sport after school and mastering the challenges of academics during school.
Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio and Youth tennis coach who lives and teaches in the greater Bluffton-Hilton Head Island area.