What I’ve learnt from junior tennis: Stay dedicated

Stay dedicated.jpg

I have a new attitude to my daughter’s tennis which is based on the motto above. We both have to stay dedicated…

Two competitions ago, my daughter got off to slow start. She likes to hit the ball and go for winners on the 2nd or 3rd ball of the rally. In fast 4 tennis, you only have to win 16 points and the set or match is yours but vice versa if you lose 16 points, it is gone. In her first matches the ball was hitting the net or sailing long, so my comment was just try to get the ball in play a bit more and let your opponent make the mistake. Lo behold she won her next three matches.

I mentioned this to one of her coaches and his comment was that hitting quick winners is her natural game and that’s what she should be working on. If competitions are to be a learning environment, she need to practice this in competitions so that it becomes a natural behaviour.

My daughter had another lesson and the feedback at the end of that lesson was that during competitions, she didn’t want advice, she wanted to work on her power game but if she wanted help she would ask. Hmmm, that’s a tough one for any parent. But those were the rules we set up… so I was going to stick with them.

In her latest competition, she quickly lost her first two matches because the small margins of her going for winners weren’t in her favour. I stuck with the game plan; chat about other things including the good shots we saw older teenage play and definitely not to encourage her to start ‘playing safe’.

In her next matches, the radar was up and running and in reply to exactly the same balls as before, her shots were now flying in and the ratio of points won moved in her favour. She stuck to her game plan and as she warmed up it began to work.

I’m sure over the next few months the period of time for her to ‘warm-up’ and find her radar will shorten but only if we keep encouraging this style of play. After all… it’s not going to happen overnight!

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