Tennis season is getting into high gear. The junior tennis players are either in the high school tennis season or are in the big push to increase their rankings before the qualifiers. Extra hours are being put in during the week to train and weekends seem to be filled with tournaments.
It’s also a great time of the year to head to the park to play a game of pick-up basketball, go shopping with the girls for the new spring fashions, and don’t forget prom! So how do you provide balance for your junior tennis player?
I have heard stories of young ladies and gentlemen who say they never went to prom because it was always the same week-end as a big tournament, one young man even skipped graduation to play a tournament. Is this fair to our players. Prom, graduation, end of the school year parties are once in a life time (sometimes twice) opportunities, should they miss these experiences to play tennis?
If you have followed my blog at all I’m sure you already know my answer to this question. Absolutely not! There will always be another big tournament but there won’t be another high school prom. Tennis is such an isolating sport to begin with it isn’t fair to ask our junior player to give up social events they want to participate in.
Some players are not very comfortable or confident in their social skills and like to use tennis as an excuse or escape from these situations. They are comfortable on the court rather than the dance floor. But we cannot allow our kids to avoid these situations or hide from social interaction on a tennis court. Our coach refused to give one of our fellow team mates another tennis lesson until he bought his prom ticket and committed to going to the prom. The young man was very uncomfortable in these situations but the coach refused to allow him to avoid it by hiding on the tennis court (he ended up having a lot of fun.)
I find myself getting a little frustrated at times with my son when he wants to go to the basketball court and shoot hoops with the guys. My first reaction is always “shouldn’t you be playing tennis?” But I catch myself and remember that if I want him to continue to love playing tennis he can’t feel like it is keeping him from doing other things he wants to do. It doesn’t take much to build up a resentment for the sport.
It is very easy to allow tennis to become our entire life and our junior players entire life. Be careful, this is the fastest path to burnout and resentment toward the game they love. Tennis is really all about the life lessons, and this is yet another great opportunity to teach one of those lessons.