FAQs from Parents Answered!

Hi Everyone,

Over the past few months we have received a ton of great questions from parents regarding their child’s development as a tennis player and what are the best practices. With this post, we aim to shine more light on what we have learned from our own experience as well as from various sources.

1.     How many times should a child practice each week?
a.     Below is advice as provided by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for Junior Tennis players (Tennisconsult.com).

6-8 years olds:  3-4 sessions a week, each session no longer than 45 minutes. Group lessons, practice on mini court. 50% tennis – 50% other sports. Soccer, handball, basketball, swimming, etc.
9-11 years olds: 1 hour, 3-4 times a week. 70% tennis – 30% other sport.
12-14 years olds: 2-3 hours a day, 4-5 times a week of group lessons. 85% tennis – 15% other sport.
15-16 year old (intermediate level): 3-4 hours of training a day, 4-5 times a week.
16-18 year old (advanced level): 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 times a week.
 

2.     When should my child specialize in tennis (or any other sport)?
a.     There are several studies regarding when the appropriate time to specialize in a sport is. It’s easy to look at certain stars of their respective sport such as LeBron James and Tiger Woods and assume that early specialization in a sport is the only way to reach one’s potential. Furthermore, it has been proven to not only lead to one-dimensional athletes but also cause a player to become more injury prone. While many studies vary slightly on the optimal time to specialize on a sport, most agree that late adolescence (Around age 16) is the time when most athletes have developed the physical, social, Emotional, and motor skills needed to effectively specialize in a sport (Long-Term Athlete Development, Balyi, Way, Higgs)

3.     What should the parent’s role be in their child’s practice?
a.     No matter which sport you think about, parents play a substantial role in the development of their child’s athletic ability, but not in the way that most assume. One success story that highlights this fact in tennis is that of Canadian Milos Raonic (#3 in the world). He is known for continually crediting his success to his parents for not knowing anything about tennis (National Post).

According to tennisconsult.com, it’s important for tennis parents to realize that the emphasis for a young child playing sports should be on developing their social skills rather than their athletic skills. Furthermore, as cliché as it sounds, they should be excited to go to practice.

Furthermore, sports psychologists agree that the car ride home is not the time to coach your child on how they can improve on the court, especially if they lose a match. Children respond differently to these situations but the general conclusion is that it is more discouraging than helpful (More information). 

4.     When can my child start playing tournaments?
a.     Many of you may have noticed that we use different colored balls and various sizes of racquets. This trend follows the USTA 10u rules and to learn more about where to sign up click the link below. 

 

We hope that this information is helpful and if you have any questions about what we covered today or would like us to address another subject, do not hesitate letting us know!

Until next time,
Steven and Sam

Welcome To the Strategy Zone!

Hi Everyone, 

We are beyond excited to announce a new monthly blog series that is intended to cover the essential topics that our program uses to influence the development of junior tennis players. As many of you are aware, tennis is a unique sport with many intricate details that make it a fun yet challenging activity! We are privileged to benefit from a staff with such diverse experience. Much of what we will share will be a culmination of our own experiences and the well established systems set in motion by the USTA guidelines and philosophies from esteemed coaches such as Nick Bollettieri and PA Nilhagen. 

To begin, one of the most common questions that parents ask is, "Why are the balls different colors?" The answer is quite simple. A tennis court, racquet, and ball are all designed with adults in mind. Just as it wouldn't make sense for a child to play basketball on a ten-foot rim, tennis professionals around the world have realized that something had to change. Thus, courts sizes were adjusted, racquets were modified, and last but not least, the balls were designed to not bounce as high.  

Here is a brief video from the USTA (Note: USTA 10u Tournaments have followed this guidelines since 2012.)

Over the next few posts we plan to cover the following topics: 

  • Tennis (The basics)
  • Stroke Fundamentals
  • Stroke Development 
  • Footwork
  • Proper Equipment 
  • The Healthy Balance (Fun Vs. Too Serious)
  • High Performance Instruction

Overall, we hope these entries will encourage an open dialogue between coaches, parents, and players. Do not hesitate to approach us with any questions or if you'd like us to highlight a specific topic in future articles. 

Thanks for your time and see you on the court!

Cheers,
Sam and Steven