As the crazy tennis mom I have learned the importance of listening to what my child wants from me in regard to their tennis. I wish someone had talked to me earlier about the importance of this and instead of being overly involved with my sons tennis I could have enjoyed it more. In his early years I was so involved that we spent more time arguing about his game than enjoying it. During his matches I was too busy analysing the points to appreciate them. When I learned to let go, I was able to enjoy his tennis so much more and outside of the tennis our relationship became so much stronger.
To help us hear what our junior tennis players are trying to tell us about what they want from us I am going to try to incorporate regular articles with words directly from the kids. My first guest will be my daughter, a 13-year-old recreational tennis player, who hopes to play on the high school team in a couple of years.
I asked her to take a moment and think of the best advise she could give parents about how they can help their child’s tennis. This was her response:
“After a match don’t tell me what I did wrong, I already know.
Please just congratulate me and stay quiet. If I won, you are congratulating me for a win, if I lost you are congratulating me for playing hard.
Don’t pressure me into playing competitively if I only want to play for fun.”
I will do my best to respect her wishes. The staying quiet part is always the hardest and I will admit I still try to slip a little bit of advise or “constructive criticism” in just not immediately after her match. I’m doing better but I’m not perfect!
Just try to remember tennis is only a game and your relationship with your child is so much more important. In the end it’s really all about the kids.