Everyone knows that it is common courtesy to be quiet during a tennis match. But really, it’s easier said than done. I was a soccer mom before I became a crazy tennis mom, and trust me, soccer mom’s aren’t quiet! So what is the secret to staying quiet during the match.
Why is it so hard to stay quiet? First there is the pure desire to cheer when there is an incredible shot even when the point isn’t finished, next there is the desire to say something when you don’t agree with a call or they have the score wrong. Finally, for many there is that uncontrollable urge to coach the player during the match. So the question remains, how do you stay quiet?
The simple answer to this is have a little self-control as well as respect for the players on the court and a respect for the rules of the game.
When a point is exciting it’s so hard to keep your mouth shut and your excitement contained. It is for admiration of the point we want to cheer or gasp, but we must remember, our reaction can effect the outcome of the point. Tennis is a game of extreme focus and the noise on the sidelines may distract the players. I am saddened to say that many people are well aware of these factors and use them to try and give the advantage to one of the players.
Respecting the rules of the court is by far the most important reason to stay quiet during a tennis match. Simple truth, it is cheating to tell the player if a ball is in or out, to tell them the score or coach the player during the match. It is that simple, if you talk to the player on the court to say anything other than admiration for a shot or point you are cheating. If you are the parent of a junior tennis player, I certainly hope you do not advocate cheating.
So what is the art of staying quiet during the tennis match. I have found that backing away from the court is the most effective tool to staying quiet. If you are having trouble staying quiet and playing within the rules of the game back away from the court. A little distance will do you alot of good. Sitting with my hands clasped gently infront of my mouth has been the most effective tool for me (I look like I’m praying, which often I am, praying I can keep my mouth shut). My son calls it my pose and it is his favorite way for me to watch him play. He claims that I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve and when I cover my mouth he can’t read my expressions. I think it is just a good reminder to keep the lip zipped.
I know an awful lot of USTA Junior parents who could use a lesson or two in remembering to keep it zipped. It’s your child’s game and not yours. You are the example for your child so make sure the example you set is a good one, make it an example of respect for the players, respect for the rules, and respect for the game.