What is the Best Age to Start Tennis Lessons for Kids?
With Wimbledon having recently served up the latest Grand Slam to take place in England, it is no wonder that we are all champing at the bit to lob a volley into the far court and pull on our finest tennis shoes to grace the grass. So, what better time to get young players involved in the rallying revery of tennis? Join Jaques of London as we look to turn mini Henmans into centre court conquering Federers, and ask, ‘What is the Best Age to Start Tennis Lessons for Kids?’
When are Children Ready to Play Tennis?
When deciding upon the right age to introduce youngsters to the excitement of the tennis court, there are several factors that need to be considered before they can begin smashing aces and hitting through-the-leg return shots.
Although it is generally safe to say that, by the age of 6, most children will be capable of grasping the many different aspects that tennis presents to new players, it is also important to be aware of the hurdles that tennis newbies can expect to face when picking up the racket for the very first time. So, let’s take a look at the key factors to beating the baseline blues and serving up an unstoppable shot.
When are Kids Physically Ready to Play Tennis?
Tennis has many benefits when it comes to boosting the physical well-being of young players, but, as with anything, it is important to be able to walk before you can run across centre court and deliver a thunderous backhand return.
One of the major hurdles to the tennis court for younger players is the physical requirements. From solid bone structure to well balanced hand-eye coordination, there are many physical challenges to consider in order to declare game, set and match on your sporting rivals:
Speed and Agility – Consider your child’s ability to move around the court and respond to fast paced action.
Balance – Tennis requires constant movement and readjustment of balance. Balance with aggressive movement can also lead to the Wimbledon wobbles. So, be sure that your child can control their full range of movement before sending them out onto centre court.
Strength – Tennis requires strength from all areas of the body. From leg muscles to control body positioning, to the need to perform powerful shots and control serves. When you consider that the world record service speed stands at 157 mph, it’s easy to see how power plays such a smashing role in achieving grass glory.
Flexibility – Whether attempting a last second through-the-legs shot of performing a Boris Becker mimicking dive, tennis challenges players with incredible ranges of flexibility. Fortunately, flexibility is one quality tennis tots have in spades, but tennis also requires the assistance of strong muscles to achieve the full range of motion required.
Aerobic Fitness – If you have heard the grunts echo from SW19, you are likely already aware of the incredible fitness required to compete at the highest levels. Tennis games can also last well after hours, meaning that aerobic fitness is key for keeping the muscles going long into tiebreak.
Understanding when your child is ready to pick up the racket, relies on an awareness of their physical strengths and weaknesses. So, be sure to get your approach shot right to avoid any unforced errors.
When are Children Mentally Ready to Learn Tennis?
Tennis requires an incredible amount of physical ability. But, as a chiefly solo game, it also asks a great deal of the players mental strength to remain focussed from first service to last. As any McEnroe follower will know, the challenge of the game can bring many a racket (and player) to breaking point.
This is always important to bear in mind. Tennis can place great focus upon the individual skills of a player, and, with so much to take in and learn, can be overwhelming when attempted from an early age.
What Can Kids Learn from Playing Tennis?
Fortunately, tennis not only delivers mental challenge, but also endorses mental development. Tennis benefits children by encouraging them to develop a single-minded, winning mentality towards competition. Similarly, it also builds upon concentration, whilst providing them opportunities in both solo play and competitive collaboration with others.
Of course, as caring parents, it can be all too easy to fall into the role of coach and turn encouragement into pushy parenting. Remember, whatever sport your child chooses to show an interest in, there is nothing more affective at sapping the fun out of play than a parent who turns the main focus of the game onto themselves.
So, avoid being a confusing coach or annoying umpire and make sure that, when it comes to playing tennis with kids, every shot will be an ace!
For more tennis tantalisation and Wimbledon wonder, why not put your own grand slam knowledge to the test and take part in our wonderful Wimbledon Quiz or design your own head turning tennis kit? Both are available at the Jaques of London Mini Minds Hub – Your Number one resource for fun and learning.
Just remember the time that you asked, “What is the Best Age to Start Tennis Lessons for Kids?”, when your child is raising the Wimbledon Trophy in the years to come. It’s your serve!