Tennis is a very popular sport played by millions around the world, both young and old. But how young should my child start playing tennis? Should he start at three years old like Andre Agassi or maybe at eight like Roger Federer?
Children can start playing as soon as they can hold a racquet and display some sort of hand-eye coordination. You can start them off by just rolling balls to them to help develop their coordination. Then gradually they will be able to hit bouncing balls and eventually sustain rallies. It is recommended and recognised internationally that children should use softer balls. Those are the red, orange and green balls. In line with that children should also be using smaller racquets to avoid injury.
Their practice sessions shouldn’t be too long either. Young kids have a short attention span and have the tendency to daydream or completely ignore you. It is important that you make the sessions fun so that they enjoy playing tennis. Compliments and rewards are also useful in encouraging children to play more. It is important that at an early age you develop their fundamental motor skills. These are things like running, jumping, throwing and catching. Children also need to develop their basic movement like agility, coordination and balance. All these things are not only essential for tennis but for any sport.
Playing tennis at a young age is beneficial for the youngster. The game teaches them needed skills and attributes for life. Discipline is taught through the need for self-improvement in tennis. Youngsters also learn how to be a sportsman and how to cooperate with others. When they play tennis they will meet new people who may they become friends with forever. Tennis also gives joy to the player. It is the joy of winning a point and mastering a technique and the joy of playing tennis.
It doesn’t really matter what age your child starts to play tennis. It doesn’t matter if at first they don’t seem to be doing well. When Andy Murray first started playing tennis his mum said “He was useless. He had bad concentration, bad coordination and a temper.” Now Andy Murray is a Grand Slam winner and one of the best in the game. As long as your child loves playing tennis and wants to play more, then they are on the right track and you never know, they could be the next Wimbledon Champion.