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yesyesok 08-15-2012 11:06 PM

Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Hi guys, I'm needing advice on getting my 4 year old son started with tennis, to a level where he can actually hit a ball consistently.

I play with him out the back garden, using a kids badminton net, as much as I can but I struggle to keep his interest because he can't hit a ball in the air consistently.

The other day I gave him a full size racquet instead of a small plastic kids one and it made a difference, he hit a few balls clean in the air with good force, and I made a big hurrah of it to him while convincing myself he's the next Federer/Nadal. (He's probably not:sad:)

In terms of serving he just places the ball on the racquet strings and moves the racquet forward. I think that's fine for now until he is a wee bit older.

He's a very timid child so lessons are out of the question for now, he'd spend the whole time crying, he has a bit of maturing to do before we can do lessons.

I was hoping for tips to make him more competent. I'd love to get to a stage where I could take him onto a real court, or even a badminton court with the net lowered, and just rally (obviously just trying to keep it in). I really don't know where to go as I am awful at tennis myself, and didn't play until I was 19.

Thanks in advance.

HKz 08-16-2012 12:33 AM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Well first thing first is to teach him properly. I totally understand that you want to be his coach/mentor/etc, but if you are really wanting him to get somewhere then you certainly may need to get some help with teaching him especially the basics when the brain is like a sponge and they'll develop habits engraved forever.

Secondly, you need to be firm with a schedule even early on. I mean look at Agassi's early beginnings. His father would MAKE him hit balls for hours on end even if Andre didn't want to, and I'm sure that involved a lot of emotional and physical abuse to keep Andre on the court focused. I'm not saying this is the right way, or to even do this, but if you look at how other pros started out, you'll notice similar beginnings where their parents/coaches really pushed them. It isn't like other sports perhaps where the kid has plenty of time to get disciplined, so you have to start now. However, you definitely have to find out how to make tennis enjoyable for your son. You don't want him growing up to be hating it and then get burned out by his teens. This happens very often.

As for bringing him to a court, who cares how good or what age he is. I took my son out to a tennis court as soon as he was able to crawl (of course I have it easy since I have my parents' old house which has a tennis court in the backyard :p ) but really, letting him get a feel of the court early on will undeniably make it comfortable for him later on very quickly.

Finally, in regards to his progression, well that is a tough question. We see just even at the pros, there are early learners and late bloomers. Your son will be the same way. Perhaps he'll pick up certain shots really quickly or maybe he'll struggle. You just cannot get frustrated at all with this!

Good luck! My son is almost 3, so we are making some progress too :)

Super Djoker 08-16-2012 06:01 PM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
If he,s 4 I would just do a bit maybe 2 times a week and see how he takes it , there are a few things you can teach him right away , like keeping his eye,s on the ball. Being balanced before hitting the ball and swinging threw . Above all though I would make sure he,s enjoying it . Just ask him and if he wants to play more he,ll let you know . I think my mum wanted me to play but I hated tennis when I was growing up .

Super Djoker 08-16-2012 06:03 PM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
I know that,s really basic and not very helpful , but the basics are important

HKz 08-17-2012 01:34 AM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Djoker (Post 12329020)
If he,s 4 I would just do a bit maybe 2 times a week and see how he takes it , there are a few things you can teach him right away , like keeping his eye,s on the ball. Being balanced before hitting the ball and swinging threw . Above all though I would make sure he,s enjoying it . Just ask him and if he wants to play more he,ll let you know . I think my mum wanted me to play but I hated tennis when I was growing up .

That is the "PC" way of doing it. It is bullshit. You can't tell me pros "loved" tennis at that age. Agassi's journey of hating tennis and becoming a pro is much more a reality than someone like perhaps Federer loving tennis and becoming pro. Kids are naturally going to get burned out and realize they don't have as much of a childhood as others, so those that become pros are the ones that realize they are playing a privileged sport so they learn to respect what they are doing, just bite their tongue or one day find true enjoyment of playing. Tennis is a very demanding sport early on and requires a constant push.

Super Djoker 08-17-2012 07:11 PM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HKz (Post 12330695)
That is the "PC" way of doing it. It is bullshit. You can't tell me pros "loved" tennis at that age. Agassi's journey of hating tennis and becoming a pro is much more a reality than someone like perhaps Federer loving tennis and becoming pro. Kids are naturally going to get burned out and realize they don't have as much of a childhood as others, so those that become pros are the ones that realize they are playing a privileged sport so they learn to respect what they are doing, just bite their tongue or one day find true enjoyment of playing. Tennis is a very demanding sport early on and requires a constant push.

I don,t think forcing someone into a sport is going to get them good . There must be hundreds of young players that where pushed into it and detested the fact that they where made to play the sport. By all means introduce them to it encourage them , but forcing someone into tennis is very selfish on a parents part ! They either like it or they don,t if someone really wants to get good at tennis they will find that out themselves from playing here and there . Only a very small few ever make it to being top level players. You can,t just tell your child he or she is playing tennis , I call that crap parenting !

HKz 08-18-2012 02:26 AM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Djoker (Post 12332562)
I don,t think forcing someone into a sport is going to get them good . There must be hundreds of young players that where pushed into it and detested the fact that they where made to play the sport. By all means introduce them to it encourage them , but forcing someone into tennis is very selfish on a parents part ! They either like it or they don,t if someone really wants to get good at tennis they will find that out themselves from playing here and there . Only a very small few ever make it to being top level players. You can,t just tell your child he or she is playing tennis , I call that crap parenting !

You are extremely naive to think that way at all. As I said in my previous comment, yes there are countless number of failed tennis players because they got burnt out. I mean no shit it doesn't seem right "forcing" a little kid to play a sport, but in general if you want your child to have true success in a sport like tennis, that is what you have to put them through. You show me how the greats for sports like tennis and golf were brought into the sport, or better yet, go raise a child and you'll find out that if you let them do what they want, it'll be a waste of their time. Most successful people in life I'd say were pushed by their parents in someway or another and eventually found the passion, respect or whatever for what they do.

Just go read the stories of players like Agassi and Rafa. How they were raised into the game is very much a reality for most tennis pros. You have to be completely oblivious or in total denial to think otherwise.

Super Djoker 08-18-2012 07:16 PM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HKz (Post 12333999)
You are extremely naive to think that way at all. As I said in my previous comment, yes there are countless number of failed tennis players because they got burnt out. I mean no shit it doesn't seem right "forcing" a little kid to play a sport, but in general if you want your child to have true success in a sport like tennis, that is what you have to put them through. You show me how the greats for sports like tennis and golf were brought into the sport, or better yet, go raise a child and you'll find out that if you let them do what they want, it'll be a waste of their time. Most successful people in life I'd say were pushed by their parents in someway or another and eventually found the passion, respect or whatever for what they do.

Just go read the stories of players like Agassi and Rafa. How they were raised into the game is very much a reality for most tennis pros. You have to be completely oblivious or in total denial to think otherwise.

I see where your coming from and I understand your point , the actual likelehood of this kid becoming the next Gilles Simon or even Gilles Muller is very very slim . But yeah I guess your right , anything worth it in life takes sacrifice . There,s still only a million to 1 shot of him becoming a star of the game . Not that this is the only thing that matters, I Couldent even tell you how many players are trying to become pros right now , . I guess your right . Still doesn't mean his son will enjoy the sport or possibly quit in a few weeks , few years . Early teens or 20s . The only person who can turn him into a tennis player truly is himself thought , and that,s fact. !

HKz 08-19-2012 07:56 AM

Re: Getting my 4 year old into playing tennis
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Super Djoker (Post 12335866)
I see where your coming from and I understand your point , the actual likelehood of this kid becoming the next Gilles Simon or even Gilles Muller is very very slim . But yeah I guess your right , anything worth it in life takes sacrifice . There,s still only a million to 1 shot of him becoming a star of the game . Not that this is the only thing that matters, I Couldent even tell you how many players are trying to become pros right now , . I guess your right . Still doesn't mean his son will enjoy the sport or possibly quit in a few weeks , few years . Early teens or 20s . The only person who can turn him into a tennis player truly is himself thought , and that,s fact. !

Obviously, that is the gamble one takes when pushing their child towards such a inflexible career, some take it better than others, some end up failing, some get injured, some get burned out emotionally, etc. Because no matter how much you try to get your kid to love a sport like tennis while growing up, it doesn't change the fact that they still have to go out there many hours everyday to train from an early age.


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