5 keys for parents to help our junior players
Understand the commitment
Tennis is not the cheapest sport to train in but the benefits go way beyond developing your child’s tennis game and as a coaching team we are qualified professionals ready to mentor them and help them thrive.
To play at a Club level of tennis, we encourage the children to play at least 80 times per year. Tennis is a really difficult sport to start and stop so progress will be much slower without continuity, therefore we encourage year round play. To aim to play at a State level of tennis and above, we encourage at least 200 times per year.
As a starting guide to playing at a club level:
- 1 or 2 @ squad training session’s.
- 1 @ pennant tennis or an alternative match play session.
As a guide if your child shows extra interest and you want to nurture that passion:
- 2 or 3 @ squad training session’s.
- 1 @ private lesson
- 1 or 2 pennant or an alternative match play session.
Automatic Enrolment – We make it very clear that your child is automatically enrolled from term to term in the same day’s and time’s training session. We must have these details sorted by the end of the previous term to plan our courts, our coaches and our lessons. All payment for training fees are paid up front and are made before the first week of the term.
Trust the coaching team
As a coaching team, this is our profession and a sport we have been involved in for our whole life. We believe in our methods and this has taken thousands of hours of tennis experience to understand. Therefore by signing up your children to the academy, you are putting your trust in the coaching team.
1. What they are working on in their training session’s
The content of the tennis training is all driven by your coach. Higher levels of technique will be worked on in Winter and higher degree of point play will be worked on in Summer but at different times coaches need to rely on the art of tennis coaching and make sessions slightly easier, harder, more physical or more psychological at different times.
Feedback from parents (or even better from the child) about what was working well and what was challenging in their last match can be helpful. Coaches will choose what to work on and when.
2. What teams or squad they need to be on
Any changes of squad or team placement must be initiated only by the coach and discussed with the Junior Club team. If your child is considered the best player in the group (both results and work rate) for two terms in a row they will be asked to move up to a different level of training. Your child needs their time being a leader in their training.
Parents generally want their child to play in a higher squad or team prematurely. This is a natural response to see and want the best in their children. Unfortunately this process is very misunderstood and if done early, detrimental to the young players game. At the right time, going up a level is essential.
We welcome parents to send tournament results or pennant results for review by the coaching team. Any parent requests for team or squad changes will not have any impact on selections. We ask you to trust the process as we also want to see your child become the best tennis player they can be.
We are not the type of academy that players can use to supplement other training or club program’s they are involved in. We want our players fully committed to training and playing with us. If your child has particular skill and passion, then we then work with the state and national programs in regards to other training and competition opportunities. For us its like when children go to school, it is not effective to attend two different schools with different philosophies or training methods.
Its about your child.
- Player (taking responsibility, learning and building independence)
- Coach (teaching, facilitating learning and motivating)
- Parent (supporting and encouraging 1. player and 2. coach)
This means the whole journey is about your child. How can they become intrinsically motivated to become the best that they can become. How can they display perfect sportsmanship whilst competing to their maximum potential? How can they learn and improve themselves and take responsibility for their losses?
Your child is encouraged to be the CEO of their Tennis game and take responsibility through packing and taking their own tennis gear, setting their own tennis goals and executing and reviewing their performance. We don’t believe in Mum/Dad being the CEO of their child’s tennis as this clashes with the independence and responsibility we are trying to develop in the child. Likewise as a coaching team, we will try to get your child to set their own goal’s and use questions to persuade them into the right answer. At times as a coaching team we have to switch to more critical or authoritarian style but this is normally if your child is not putting in enough effort to improve, not because of losing a match.
Any parent coaching, instructing or conversing from the sideline causes confusion, overwhelm and embarrassment in the child and takes us away from fostering independence and getting your child to solve the problem themselves. So during training and matches, parents are encouraged to watch and support the tennis match but have minimal interaction. Children really do pick up on your anxiety so try and be calm whilst watching as this will have a negative impact on their performance also.
It should be said that there are many successful examples in junior tennis where a parent takes responsibility as CEO of their child’s tennis. And it CAN work if done in the right way but doesn’t fit into our own coaching philosophy and there are other tennis programs that would be better suited to a parent driven tennis pathway.
We encourage parents to play tennis with your children! Be their parent, not their coach but by also being their hitting partner, it gives you a fantastic way to share a healthy activity that you can enjoy together. Or if tennis isn’t your thing, then show an interest in what they did during a lesson or squad or go for a run with them to help them build their fitness.
Play Club/Team Tennis
Our Tennis Academy is interlinked with the Scarborough Tennis Club. Therefore our players are highly encouraged to play pennants for the club. The importance of building and developing a team culture is essential to our tennis program. Our young players have a sense of belonging and feel a part of something bigger than just their own tennis games.
Our tennis club has teams running in winter and summer pennants with Orange ball, Green ball, 12 under, 14 under and 16 under teams. We encourage the children to play at least 1 of the seasons to support their tennis development and we look forward to many years of them representing the tennis club.
In WA, they are run through Tennis West and start with Junior Development Series through to the Optus Junior Tour which is a national junior tournament series. Tournaments teach kids about how to handle pressure and gives them the fun opportunity to compete against different players and test themselves and their games. Tournaments can be high pressure with a lot of ‘CEO tennis parents’ and highly strung children but if your child is ready, their game and their strength of mind will improve as a result.
We believe in building independent, strong minded young tennis players who have a high self esteem and are intrinsically motivated to improve their game every single day. This attitude yields results both in tennis but also in life.