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Introduce your child to tennis with tips from parents and pros

Jan 29, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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Are your kids eager to swing a racquet? Are they inspired by friends who play tennis, or by some of Canada’s top talent? Are you keen to introduce them to the game you know and love? Perhaps it’s time!

Today’s post is a series of tips from myself, other parents, and Tennis Canada head coach, Mr. André Labelle. André leads Tennis Canada’s Montreal and Toronto programs and works with the top identified youth players (under 14) in Canada. Needless to say, André knows a thing or two about tennis!

So let’s get your kids (and everyone else in the family too) onto the courts for some active fun!

My Tips:

1.    Don’t wait for spring to introduce young children to tennis! Blow up a few balloons and let them swat them in the basement, backyard, or playground. They’ll get an initial feel for the racquet, get some exercise, and have some fun.

2.    Be patient and encouraging.

3.    Be a positive role model – smile, laugh, have fun, and remember that tennis should be a game before it becomes a sport.

4.    Choose a time your child is happy and has lots of energy.

5.    Be sure to pack a water bottle, that the kids are dressed comfortably, and that if playing outdoors, everyone’s wearing sunscreen.

Tips from Tennis Canada National Junior Training Program Head Coach, André Labelle:

1.    Ensure your child plays with equipment designed for kids (racquets, balls, etc.).

2.Make sure your child is placed in an age-appropriate group.

  1. Find a club that fits your values and schedule.
  2. Make sure the instructor is certified, engaged, and enthusiastic. A good instructor will help your child develop a love of tennis that will last a lifetime.
  3. Make FUN the main objective.
  4. Have fun and enjoy active time playing as a family.
  5. Enroll your child in group lessons with small class sizes (small instructor/player ratio) to ensure they get plenty of playing time.
  6. Summer is a great time to begin with lots of available outdoor facilities (private clubs, community courts).
  7. Encourage your child to play in team tennis leagues to get match play and make new friends.
  8. Start with an hour a week.

Tips from other Parents:

We love when our readers engage and interact with us. We asked parents to share their best tips for introducing children to tennis with us @Tennis_Canada and @Cate_Cameron — and here are a couple they offered:

Shawna ‏(@s_scale) shared: Be patient and make games up to encourage practice! Most of all let them have fun.

Judy Tyson (@talkopolis) suggests: Make it a fun social connection, with group lessons & family matches!