Finding the ideal tennis coaching for kids can be challenging without a set goal in mind. Choosing the right tennis instructor is the first step in obtaining quality tennis coaching for kids.
Tennis coaching for kids begins with fostering your child’s natural learning process
Your kid has shown some talent, a knack for the game. You can see that he will advance more quickly than other kids his age and you don’t want to stunt his development by throwing him into a free class at the Y or on a nearby public court.
What’s more, your child has shown a zeal for the game, begging you to take him to the courts and incessantly bouncing a tennis ball around the house.
You don’t want to necessarily turn your kid into the next Pete Sampras, but you have been told by all of the best parenting books to feed your child’s passion. It’s time to find a private coach, but finding good tennis coaching for kids can be like walking through a dense jungle with no guide.
We’re here to help. Behold, six tips on finding the right coach for your prodigy:
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #1: Find an organization that has a low player/coach ratio.
There are a multitude of camps and academies that would all love to have your hard-earned dollars. They might even have big names and famous alumni.
However, you need to do some research and find out if your child will actually be coached by a legend or assigned to a side court to dehydrate in the heat in a large group overseen by a surly college kid who enjoys making his pupils throw up on the court.
You need to find a camp or club with a low player/coach ratio, getting one-on-one lessons if possible if the price is right. The advantages of a tutor on the tennis court are the same as in a classroom; the one-to-one ratio ensures the tutor’s full attention and causes your child to focus on the teacher, not his classmates. A two-to-one or three-to-one lesson is also acceptable, but beyond that the amount of instruction per dollar goes down when considering tennis coaching for kids. Try to find a reasonable rate for individualized instruction if at all possible before you scurry to the big names.
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #2: Find a coach with the right education.
Now that you have decided to find a coach to give one-on-one lessons or small group lessons, you need to discern which coach is the right one for your child. A good place to start with evaluating a coach is to look at his resume and find out how much schooling he did and if he is certified by national and international organizations.
There is a vast difference between a coach who never went to college and one who graduated from college and even grad school. The differences lie in maturity and often work ethic. Someone who has finished grad school knows something about persevering and doing a job right. They will bring that ethic to the court as well. If the potential coach has gone to college, find out if he played on the collegiate level. That will tell you a lot about his playing level.
Discover also if the coach has been certified by the USPTA, for instance, or some other national body. How many types of certification does the coach have? How many certificates on the wall? To what level did he climb on the training ladder? All of the papers in the world plastered on a wall in frames do not make a tennis player a good coach, but it will give you an idea of how serious he takes coaching, which is a start.
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #3: Does the coach pass the eye test?
By this I mean: does the coach keep himself in peak physical condition? Does he play regularly? This matters for several reasons:
- Will he be able to keep up on the court with your child?
- Will he bring a high energy level to the lessons? If not, then the student usually responds in kind.
- Does he play regularly in matches or tournaments? If so, then when he gives game advice, he is talking out of recent match experience, not from a distant past or training manual.
- Physical appearance often equates with self-confidence, and the best coaches do have a certain level of confidence.
- If the coach is going to demand hard work and discipline from the student, does he practice that? If not, your child will notice immediately and one of the key moral bases for authority while tennis coaching for kids will be knocked out.
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #4: Watch a sample lesson.
If you are able to sign up for just one or a few lessons, stick around before you run those errands and see how the coach operates. Here are some good questions to ponder:
- Was the coach on time? Did the lesson begin on time?
- Did the coach have a definite plan for the lesson and did he carry it out? Did the plan vary with each lesson, or does the coach show a numbing lack of creativity?
- Did the coach engage your child as the lesson proceeded? Did the coach communicate to your child that he cared about him and his progress?
As you ask and answer these questions and others, you will get a quick feel for whether the coach loves what he does or if he is simply going through the motions and looking for a paycheck.
Even though “tennis instructor” might seem like an ideal job, it can get old in a hurry if a person does not love it. Be wary especially of former players who simply fall into coaching simply because he had no other legitimate job prospects after practically majoring in tennis at the university.
Just because a player excelled on the playing field does not mean that he will be a good coach.
Coaching is teaching, and some people are suited for it while others are not. In fact, some of the best coaches are those who did not ascend to the sport’s highest levels. They might have been extremely technically proficient yet lacking in natural skills. Those types of players make great coaches in a technique sport like tennis. Sometimes the best tennis coaching for kids is done by fairly mediocre players.
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #5: Here’s a novel idea: ask your child if he liked the coach!
Different children respond to different types of coaches. A coach that you like might not be favored by your child. Some coaches don’t say much but are great players who know excellent drills and push their students hard.
Some coaches talk a lot, continually shouting encouragement to their charges. What kind of child do you have? Does he need constant pats on the back and a lot of positive reinforcement? Then you probably don’t want to hire a taciturn coach.
Does your child like to pushed to his limits and draw on his own motivation? Then a gabby coach with less technique might be the worst choice.
It is a good idea to watch how your child acts during a lesson: engaged or bored? Happy or moody? Motivated or slothful? Assure your child that he can be as negative as he wants to be when evaluating the prospective coach.
Tell him that there are many coaches to choose from, and if he doesn’t like the first one, you will do your best to find another one. Kids learn more from teachers that they like; find out if your kid likes the coach that you have lined up. If not, you need to keep shopping before you get locked into a long-term deal as you seek the best tennis coaching for kids.
Tennis Coaching For Kids – Tip #6: How many players has the coach guided to top rankings?
If you are very serious about your search for a coach because your child has superstar potential, then you need to find out if the coach has mentored other players to top rankings. How many players has the academy or coach sent onto the university playing level?
Onto the pro tour? How many players under this coach have made it to the top 10 in your region?
Ask questions and do a bit of research. It’s possible that a certain coach simply had the good fortune to guide big talents and not screw them up as they ascended in the regional rankings, but most top players owe at least a bit of their success to their coaches.
Try to find one who has produced champions so that your child has the best chance to rise in the rankings as well.
Armed with these tips, you will have a much better chance to find the right coach for your tennis wunderkind. Some coaches form such tight bonds with their pupils that they guide them for years and years as they climb up the tennis ladder. If you make your choice carefully, you might end up with a coach that influences your child on and off the court for years to come.
If you want to play like the PROS, then you need to have the game. Check out our Tennis Ebooks and be on the way to improving all of your tennis strokes without the trial and error. Click Here to Improve Your Tennis