Monthly Archives: March 2017

What I’ve learnt from junior tennis: Advising your child?

So how often have you given advice to your child about their tennis? Perhaps that their volleys would be better if they shortened the shot? Or that their serve would improve if the ball toss was slightly in front of them? And the response at best has been ignoring you or at worse a full-blown argument as to they don’t want your help?

I’m sure we have all been there at some time and all we’ve wanted to do is to help them with their tennis as at the end of the day, we want them to be happy and we know they’ll be happier if they do better.

We probably go silent for a bit and then maybe remind ourselves that we were the same with our parents. At worst some parents can get very cross about this response and the argument can continue over time.

Do we actually consider why this response is actually given to our advice?

The answer could be in an element of our child’s personality traits. Some researchers have considered two extremes of personality trait, internal and external and the description above is of a child showing an internal personality trait.

It is often found that in work contexts; 40% of people are classed as internal, 40% as external and 20% are combination of both traits. Interestingly this classification can change according to the context and I would imagine that most pre teens and teenagers would be Internal when they are receiving feedback from their parents!


What is an Internal Personality Traits?

Someone showing an internal personality trait will assess their performance according to their own internal standards or beliefs. So for example a child with an internal personality will make the decision on how well they have played themselves from information they have gathered. We probably recognise the situation of watching our child play and thinking they have played well but they come off court saying they were rubbish and they will base this purely on the score and a couple of isolated rally’s which may not be representative of the whole match.


If you ever give someone displaying an internal mind-set, negative feedback they will question the judgement of who is giving the feedback. Many parents will have experienced the situation of giving any type of feedback to their child and their child immediately debating the parents view. “What do you know?” can be one of the kinder responses our children give.


How do you motive internal people?

If you are trying to motivate someone showing an internal mind-set as we’ve already established we should not tell them what to do, even though this is very tempting and seems much quicker. Instead we should be looking to start sentences in some of the following ways:

  • You know what’s best…
  • Only you can decide…
  • It is up to you…
  • I need your opinion…

If you would like to find out more on internal personality traits the following video clip is worth watching:


This blog is from the tennisdaduk, follow him on twitter @tennisdaduk