More Than a Sport: How Tennis Can Teach Kids Invaluable Life Lessons
For kids, tennis may seem just like another game, but this largely individual sport is about more than just backspins, faults and breakpoints.
While tennis demands a great deal of sacrifice, it rewards kids willing to remain committed with valuable life lessons.
Besides having fun and keeping kids fit and active, engaging tennis lessons can teach the importance of passion and dedication. Here are several other lessons from tennis that can help a kid grow as a person.
1. Practice makes perfect
This timeless saying holds exceptionally true for tennis as in all aspects of life. Unlike other individual sports (think cycling, running, swimming, etc.), the goal of tennis is not to reach the finish line first or continually practice a certain routine. It isn’t even about being the strongest or fastest on the tennis court.
Tennis is all about hard work and determination. It’s understanding the opposing player and making adjustments to exploit weaknesses, no matter how superior the opposing player might be. The sport is a game of small and big opportunities, and the person who makes the most of each opportunity can achieve success.
And achieving that success takes practice. Practice will emphasize strengths, improve performance and increase athleticism.
2. It’s okay to fail
As a sport built on points, games, sets and matches, tennis provides players many opportunities to win. But it also can lead to failure which, to some children, can be exceptionally debilitating.
While failure hurts, it is an important part of life, both on and off the court.
The greatest and most successful athletes have failed more times than can be believed. Failure can lead to learning some very important life lessons. Failure strips egos and can be very humbling. And in a sport where one player will inevitably win and another must lose, failure will come eventually.
It’s okay to fail. Failure is necessary to enjoy success. Failure is a great teacher as it helps players discover ways to learn from mistakes and get better.
3. Never give up
Similar to failure, tennis can be a good proving ground for young tennis players as it teaches the valuable lesson of never giving up.
As an individual sport, tennis players are subjected to moments when things seem to be going well. Momentum can quickly change the pace of the game and suddenly, the opposing player ties up the sets and things become really hard.
It is these moments that determine the quality of a tennis player. Staying engaged and unrelenting even when circumstances shift will determine the outcome of the game. Not giving up when things become difficult will lead to success.
4. Think before acting
As a fast-paced sport, young tennis players must learn the importance of quick decisions. The ability to think quickly and on the fly can make a huge difference when facing a superior player. Being decisive on the court will improve shot selection, ball placement and footwork, among other technical and tactical skills.
Tennis players who can adjust play styles according to the court surface, the weather, and of course, the opponent can execute the right moves to gain the advantage. This is where practice comes into play. Practice prepares players for a variety of scenarios that could occur on the court.
A tennis player who can concentrate on the task at hand, visualize scenarios, and prepare for inevitabilities will perform with confidence.
5. Tennis is a mental game
Having a strong mental game is just as important as playing the physical game.
While tennis can be broken down into four main sections (physical, technical, tactical and mental), mental toughness can arguably be the deciding factor in a match or tournament. Even if all tennis players practiced and were coached the same way, what would separate players from one another is their mental fortitude.
The player who is mentally fit can have a decisive edge against the opponent. Being able to stay calm and focused throughout critical situations or difficult challenges can determine who wins or loses. Strong concentration and a determined will can also be applied in a number of situations outside the court.
The most important lesson
Tennis can be a great activity for any child. It teaches numerous life skills that kids can carry long after they’ve left the tennis court.
That said, the most important lesson that tennis can teach is the importance of having fun. Tennis affords kids opportunities to play with friends, laugh, and go home in high spirits, grinning from ear to ear.
And at the end of the day, shouldn’t that be what tennis is all about?
How has tennis helped you grow and become a better person? What do kids you know have to say about how tennis is impacting their lives? Let us know in the comments!
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.