Many of us shared the game of tennis with our children – and are now doing it with grandchildren. Putting aside the techniques for teaching strokes, what is the best way to deal with kids and competition?
Never Keep Score?
Both my sons played on the tennis court I built in our Connecticut backyard; but my philosophy was to never compete against them. I felt it was a “lose-lose” proposition… starting them at 6 or 7 years old, I would beat them for at least a solid ten years; and then eventually, they would get better and beat me for the rest of my life!
“Let’s play a game, Grandpa!”
But two of my grandsons are different… they insist on “keeping score” and wanting to play games. Of course, I moderate how hard I hit and how close the games are to maintain their level of enthusiasm.
But which way is better: to compete or just practice with kids?
And when you keep score, there are winners and losers; and young kids don’t always take losing well. So, what is the best way to handle the temper tantrums, where they throw down their racquets and refuse to continue playing?
I believe even the great and even-tempered Roger Federer was a volatile teen; and his parents took his racquet away from him until he settled down.
But, if you can successfully manage the process, it is a great joy to see your children and grandchildren excel in this great sport.
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