We’ve all seen it. The player almost being forced to go on court for practice, then playing with as though they are wearing lead diving boots and the speediest they move is leaving the court.
If its your child this is so hard to watch. Even the most saintly parent will feel cross and think about the sacrifices; the time, the effort and the money that has been invested in this ‘hobby’ / ‘past time’.
It easy to blurt out this emotion by being cross with a child, telling them not to be silly or too grow up. Forgetting they are children and this is supposed to be a leisure interest, they aren’t professionals.
One could tell their children of the money we are spending and how they are wasting it. What do children say? ‘I didn’t ask you too.’, ‘stop spending it, I’m not bothered’ or ‘Great can I have an xbox one instead!’
Working through your child’s low motivation is one of the hardest things for a tennis parent, get it right and they may fall back in love with the game, get it wrong and no motivation will quickly follow low motivation and the sport may be given up.
So what can you do? Here are some thoughts?
1) Allow your child to practice with their coach as they want, allow the coach to work with them.
2) Take the pressure of practice by not sitting watching, go in the gym, read a book or even have a game yourself.
3) Reduce the tennis so that they look forward to playing
4) Increase squad session maybe with players of different ages (younger / older)
5) Look for fun tennis opportunities, could they go to adult social tennis sessions
6) Could they play touch tennis or beach tennis
7) Be a hitting partner for a younger child or help with squads, they may even earn some pocket money.
8) Have a break!
These are some ideas from my book, Mental Tennis: A guide for parents which I am currently writing. I am looking for parents (and coaches) who would be prepared to write me a paragraph which I could include in the book. If you are interested then please contact me via twitter or in the comments section on the blog.