It is likely that if our children are committed to junior tennis they may not play sunday morning football, rugby or hockey but instead their team sports is something they do through school.
When I talk to football referees and fellow school teachers whose children play football, one of their regular comments concerns the shouting that comes from other parents and coaches on the sidelines. At best it could be the over repetition of phrases straight from ‘Match of the Day’ which the children do not understand let alone know how to respond too. At worse it is the over aggressive nature of the shouts from parents which can be on the boundary of abuse. A few years ago Gary Linker said youth football needs revolution in parent behaviour.
In other team sports, be it rugby, hockey or netball, there are likely to be regular interjections from parents but they tend to be less aggressive than for football.
It is an interesting contract to our life as tennis parents were we are not really allowed to say anything to our children. We may say good shot or well-played but this has to be much quieter and we are always trying to be fair to our child’s opponent too. Anything beyond this can be seen as coaching by tournament referees. In fact I was warned by a referee for symboling to my son that it was time for a change of ends in a tie break.
It is very hard to stay silent, especially when our child is having a bad match and we just want to give them some encouragement to keep going and perhaps just give them a hug because it so hard out there.
Though, overall I do think the peace is a good thing as the tennis is our children’s sport. In addition in a individual sport the battle can already appear gladiatorial and the last thing that needs adding to the emotions our children may be struggling with, is the views of parents. Admittedly at some point we will have seen an argument between parents when it has just got too much for them. Such parents are usually apologetically embarrassed the next day as they recognise their mistake.
So we know that keeping silent is globally best for our children but is there any further detail as to why? I saw the following infographic which was written for parents of children playing other sports which highlights 15 advantages to children for their parents remaining quiet as the performance of the children can actually increases.
So the next time, you feel you are suffering in silence or wishing that your child was playing a different sport as you just want to shout some encouragement, remember your quiet will actually be helping your child’s sporting development over time. So whilst you will encourage them as much as you can before or after the match, whilst the contest is taking place you are supporting in silence.
Thank you to @BelievePHQ for a fantastic and thoughtful info graphic they are well worth following on twitter.
If you have suggestions or stories of your own, then I’d love to hear them. Why not leave your thoughts as a comment below for other readers to see.
I am a tennis parent, educationalist and author. My guide for tennis parents, ‘Trophies, tears and line calls’ is now published . Please follow me on on twitter @tennisdaduk.