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Golden Rule: No Tennis Talk Outside the Courts

The following article was written by Coach Todd Widom and reprinted here with his permission. To see more of the article he’s written for ParentingAces, click here. Enjoy this little gem!

One rule when I was growing up was that the second you left the tennis court and exited the tennis facility, there was no talking about tennis. I can understand that a family may sit down and watch a tennis match on television, but to speak about your son or daughter’s tennis practice or tournament match outside the tennis facility is danger for the child. You may ask yourself, why?

To bombard your child with so much information on a regular basis, whether it is good information or not, is like playing with fire. The junior player never gets separation from the sport and getting tired or burned out is becoming more prevalent. Keep in mind that teenagers today could be spending more hours on the court then the players did in my generation due to home schooling opportunities. In addition, junior players today could be spending more time with their parents due to home schooling opportunities. In society today, a couple of clicks of a button and there is so much information at your fingertips. There are so many ways to hit a forehand or backhand from so many different so-called master teaching tennis professionals on the internet. I can personally tell you that many times I cannot even figure out what the pro is trying to teach. It confuses me. So if it confuses me, I can only imagine what it does to your son or daughter, if it is discussion outside of the tennis court.

Time outside of the court is exactly what it is. It is to speak about other things other than tennis. The topic or discussion at the dinner table should not be about rankings or ratings, tennis strokes, or how this one or that one did in their last tournament. I have had some of the best amateurs in this country living with my family and I over the past several years, and I have tried not to speak about tennis inside my house unless we are watching a tennis match on television. These students hear my voice on the court 4, 5 or 6 hours a day. They do not need to hear my voice for more hours inside the house. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with a student burning out or a student losing the love for the game of tennis. As I have said many times, if you want the most out of your students, it comes down to much more than groups and lessons at the high performance level of tennis. Educating everyone involved in a child’s tennis development and their overall development as a human being is crucial, so that mistakes are minimized and most importantly, so that you can get a great amount of joy and personal growth out of the great game of tennis.


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