Why is setting goals so important?
A person, player or team is very healthy when there is minimum confusion about the goal.
Goal setting is fundamental to achieving excellence in sport. Much research on athletes and coaches that succeed at high levels points to quality goal setting as a significant factor in their achievements.
The right Coaching and training package
Establishing the best possible training and coaching package is vital in ensuring good progress of a tennis player.
How much should my child practice?
This is a really difficult question and the honest answer is “it depends”.
The answer we would give would vary depending on:
The age of the child
The standard of the child
The mental approach of the child
The commitment of the child
The ambition of the child
How much time, realistically, the child has to practise
Commitments to family, school and other sports
The best way to answer this is to start by looking at what levels of practice are necessary to reach an elite level. Once you have this information you can take into account all the factors and come to a decision based on what’s right for your child and you.
The 12 years-12 hours rule
This is the guide used by the Belgian Tennis Federation, and, personally, I think it is a bit more user-friendly. It suggests that the age of 12 is a ‘balance point’ where a child should do the same number of tennis-specific and fitness training hours a week as their age. When the child is younger than 12, they should do slightly fewer hours a week than their age. When the child is over 12 they should train for slightly more hours a week than their age.
How should I schedule a training week?
The demands on children that are looking to pursue tennis seriously are very high. They need to put in a lot of training hours, fulfill all their school commitments and still have some life outside of school and tennis. As the parent you need to pay careful attention to how your child’s week is scheduled; the dangers of not doing this are:
Fatigue – too tired to play well and too tired to do well at school
No social life – no time with friends outside tennis
Not putting in enough hours of tennis practice
Not having enough time to focus on schoolwork
There will never be an easy solution. The following is the best advice we can give to help you find the right training week.
Don’t have all tennis training after school. It will become a chore very quickly. Look to find training times during the school day if possible – is it possible to get out over one lunchtime a week or to miss one PE session a week? Is before school a possibility?
Make sure your child has one full day off from tennis a week.
Look at other things going on in your child’s week. Which are the tough days at school? When do they have other sports? Work tennis sessions around this to avoid fatigue.
Try to keep Fridays as lighter days. Experience shows us that children will be tired on Fridays and that a short sharp session on a Friday before a competition can work wonders.
Don’t have competitions scheduled every weekend. Weekends are great for quality training time. Identify some weekends that are free from tournament and family commitments and schedule in some coaching and training sessions.