If you didn’t catch Tim Henman’s top tips talk for parents at Wimbledon, we thought you tennis-mad readers would benefit from these professional tips. The former world No.4 has been involved with the Road to Wimbledon Tournament for 13 years and has some serious advice for parents involved in the competitive game.
- Enjoyment is of paramount importance
As we all know, enjoying the game is the whole reason we play and “it’s so important that the child enjoys the game. If they can have fun on the court then they will get a lot more out of it.” If your child isn’t enjoying playing then it is important to spot this early, perhaps they need to change coach/club, or maybe they just need a few weeks break from the game to revive their passion.
- Keep the long term view in mind
“‘It’s difficult to find the right involvement as it’s a little bit like saying ‘what is the right style of play?’. It’s very individual for the child and the parents to discover what works best for them.” Some children respond well to active support by their parents and others prefer to be left alone to train.
- You can’t praise and encourage enough
“Some parents really enjoy watching, some have a true understanding of the game and some really want to get involved. Other parents might want no involvement and utilise a coach’s experience.” It is crucial that even though tennis may not be your game, it may be your child’s and encouraging them to do well and sitting at the side-line whilst they play will make all the difference to their game. Winning isn’t always possible and when they lose, it’s key that not only the coach is praising them, but you are too, we can all learn from defeat, so try and see the result in a positive light focusing on the areas where they played well. “Learning how to compete, learning how to win and lose. Even if you’re one of the best players in the world, then you’re going to lose a lot and it’s important that you learn from that to use it as a motivating factor to get better.”
- Practise makes perfect
“Practice makes permanent, practice doesn’t make perfect. If you’re engraining bad habits then they can become permanent. So it’s vital that you support good habits. That’s physical, mental and technical. I think that’s a very powerful message.”
So what do you think of the top tips from Tim Henman?
Has this inspired you to have a go yourself? If so, why not check out our family tennis holidays – it’s a great way to spend time together as a family and gain a new skill!