The No.1 Reason Children *Quit* Tennis

(This message is intended for professionals who teach tennis to children or beginning players. If you are not interested in this topic, please share it with a coach or tennis parent who might find it useful – thank you!)
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children having fun playing tennis
The year was 2004 when I got a job working as an assistant tennis coach for a city program.
The pay was just awful but I considered it an opportunity for me to learn and grow as a coach.
At that time I was in my twenties, barely spoke English, and was trying to learn as much as I could to improve my teaching skills.

The “city” was organizing beginner classes and my boss and I were greeting these big crowds of enthusiastic kids who were coming with their parents to learn how to play tennis.
My boss, at that time, was an elderly lady who was kind to kids but did not have too much knowledge about helping beginning players fall in love with the sport.
She would stress the discipline and technique way too much, to the point where most of the players were staying in lines waiting for their turn to hit a ball once in awhile…

As a result, we could see that even though those parents were paying for the lessons 6 weeks in advance, many children started to quit their classes after the first couple of lessons.
By the end of the 6-week session, we were left with barely 30% of the kids who signed up for the classes.

Those 2 years that I’d been working for the “city” taught me a VALUABLE lesson:

PEOPLE PLAY TENNIS BECAUSE THEY ENJOY IT.

And they quit if they don’t.

It’s just that simple…

Now, I have to say that during those 2 years working for the “city” I did not let things continue as they initially were. Here’s what I did:

  1. I talked to my “boss” and convinced her to “rotate” the children so that they learn from both of us (with respect to the other’s methodology). In this way, the kids would get to learn and improve with tips from both of us.
  2. We agreed that we should find ways to limit waiting in line by introducing fast-paced drills.
  3. The technical aspects were discussed and practiced at the beginning and reminded throughout the lessons making sure that while we were teaching those who struggled, we kept the others busy so that nobody was left wandering on the court.
  4. Every lesson should have at least two periods of fun activities that kids would enjoy:
    – one in the middle of the class to take their minds away from the technical and repetitive tasks, and also to bring some excitement after all previous work;
    – another one at the end of the class (last 10 minutes) to allow the kids to leave their classes happy and “loud” so that they have something to look forward to after all the work they put in during the class; and their parents would see that kids were having fun at tennis practice, before picking them up.

This statement has been my motto for the rest of my tennis teaching career:
MAKE TENNIS LESSONS FUN AND THEY WILL KEEP COMING TO PRACTICE.

You might be wondering how can you find drills and games that keep kids interested and excited about practicing their skills?
Well, there are two main ways:

  1. You can search YouTube or the internet and eventually you’ll make a list of drills and games that you can apply with your students.
    But that takes time which you probably would be the best spending with your family or working on more exciting projects.
  2. You can sign up for programs such as Best Tennis Drills and Games for Kids which is a collection of drills and games that I’ve applied with my students during my many years of teaching thousands of beginning tennis players, kids and adults.

I’ve learned what works and what not, what gets beginning players excited, what kind of drills improve their speed, body control, shot accuracy, and consistency.

You can do your own research or just keep things simple and take what others have worked for and know it works.

This is why I created this program for you – to take my proven drills and games that are guaranteed to be loved by your beginning players.

Get access to Best Tennis Drills and Games for KIDS today and make tennis lessons fun for your beginning students.

Be Inspired,

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

I am a “pushy” parent!

pushy parentThe idea to write this article came to me right as I was watching this YouTube video of a 9 year old tennis “prodigy” girl…
This particular video was the last drop in the bucket for me regarding a debate that is kind of tabu for a lot of parents and coaches.
!!! If you are a tennis parent or coach you might want to stick with me and read this article all the way.

For those who don’t know me, I am a tennis coach and have been teaching tennis since… I was a kid. I have always loved teaching and sharing my knowledge with anyone willing to learn and improve.
But this is not about me. It is about a debate that seems to be a sensitive subject for many. It is about whether parents should PUSH their kids to pursue a certain sport…

It’s a great scenario when your child loves a sport, let’s say tennis and he is motivated to improve and cannot wait to get on the tennis court.
But there is also a scenario in which you, a parent, love a certain sport, let say (: tennis, and you see your child has no drive, no desire to practice a sport even though he/she has talent and you know that by practicing the sport he/she will benefit tremendously later on in life.

During my tennis teaching career I have met and taught countless adults who confessed that they regretted the fact their parents did not “push” them to stick with and work harder in tennis when they were kids. They are aware that when they were young they had other hobbies who were more comfortable to them like: hanging out with friends, watching TV, video games etc. Those distractions did not account for a more enjoyable life later on.

Now, as a parent myself, I am put in a situation where I have to guide my two daughters (7 and 5 years old) to whether pick up tennis or not.
As a tennis coach I would hate myself to have any of my daughters, in 20 years from now, asking me why did I not teach them the sport I am so knowledgeable about?
I would hate to know that I have the necessary skills to give my children the gift of a healthy habit (of playing tennis) and not do it.

My problem is the following (and I am sure a lot of parents and coaches have this dilemma): my kids are not “crazy” about playing tennis!
My kids would rather just hang around with their friends all day, watch TV and/or indulge in short term fun activities like playing online video games… As a parent I am aware that a few years from now they will find that these activities are not providing a healthy lifestyle for them.

So the BIG question is: should I, as a parent and a coach, step up and “push” my kids into playing the sport I am very proficient in?
(Tennis Lessons with Little Kids)

Before I give you MY answer I would like to give YOU some arguments:

– I’ve seen and heard the opinion of many parents stating that kids should be given options and let them choose.
I think it is a very wise decision. But what if… while you give your child the many options, you and your child, actually focus on at least one sport that you are sure your kid will benefit in the future. Something like running, swimming, basketball, tennis, surfing, iceskating… These are sports that they can practice for the rest of their life. These are sports that will allow them to stay in shape even after the age of 30, 40 or older. What if we “push” our kids to learn a sport they can practice for the rest of their life?
As much as I think playing American Football or Baseball are great and teaches them discipline, hard work and team play, these sports are kind of “dead” for them (as far as the possibility of continuing practicing them) after the age of 25…
On the other side, if we just let kids experiment all the sports hoping that one day they will stick with one, they might end up knowing a little bit of every sport but not be good at any one…

– Think about how you were at the age of 7, 8, or 9… Were you aware what would be good for you in ten, twenty, thirty… years later? No, of course not. Therefore we, as parents, must present the future to our kids describing the importance of doing sports and activities that could have an impact for them later on.
Even though Johnny loves to play online games, that will not help him be more sociable, driven and outgoing in the future.

Having said that, here are my opinions in regard to providing our children with skills that would help them become successful later on in life:

  • Every kid should be given the opportunity to learn at least one foreign language.
  • Kids should also learn how to dance (how many times you went to parties or social gatherings and you envied the ones who were able to move gracefully on the music?).
  • Every kid should, at some point, know how to defend themselves – get them into a few karate or any self-defence classes.
  • Children should be given the opportunity to learn how to play at least one musical instrument (piano, violin, saxophone etc.).
  • Every kid should practice and be good at one sport. Why? Because in order to be good it takes dedication and perseverance. It is easy to begin a sport or anything else and… quit. But if we, as parents, encourage the kids to stick with a sport they will learn that whatever they do and work hard at will become a habit and great things happen when we persevere.

With these said, I think that I should “push” my kids to learn tennis and they should learn from my knowledge to become as good tennis players as they can be. I am sure that whether they will decide to stick with tennis or not, the skills they will learn from practicing and persevering in tennis will help them in life later on too.
And I am sure of one thing: my kids will not tell me “Hey Dad, how come you did not teach us tennis?”
As I do this, I want to make sure that my kids learn a foreign language, play piano (or guitar), take self-defence classes and take dance lessons too.
Everything else… is up to them.

I would love your opinion on this. Please share this article and contribute with your feedback… Thanks!

 

Cosmin Miholca
WebTennis24.com

The 10 Commandments For Tennis Coaches

tennis coach1. You shall not wear sunglasses when talking with your students, nor when greeting anyone.
2. You shall always have a positive attitude.
3. You shall always remember your students’ name and greet them as soon as they enter your tennis court.
4. You shall never pick-up or talk or text on your cell phone during your tennis lessons.
5. You shall never be late for your tennis lesson otherwise it is free for your client.
6. You shall not speak poorly of your fellow tennis coaches regardless of their teaching methods or any club or tennis organisation affiliations.
7. You shall show respect to your clients and make them feel welcome even after they have stopped coming to you for lessons.
8. Once in awhile you shall give free lessons to those who cannot afford them, and spend extra time with your clients who need more help.
9. You shall always look clean and smell nice.
10. You shall always look for ways to improve your tennis knowledge and share it with not only your students but younger fellow coaches who seek guidance also.
(Tennis Drills and Lesson Plans – for tennis coaches)

 

Cosmin Miholca
WebTennis24.com

As a tennis coach you would enjoy the drills and tips from the Coaching section at WebTennis24.