Coach search

giantschwinn

New User
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
Depends what your goals are. Do you have full scholarship Div 1 visions?
 

RyanRF

Professional
I'm not an expert at kids or coaching, but here's my $.02 anyways.

  • At that age the focus should be on having fun. Focus on the development of a positive relationship with the sport.
  • I wouldn't really stress about the development of habits. Many of the things he is currently doing (i.e. whippy forehand) is simply the result of him still being a small child with undeveloped muscles.
  • I think the second coach is right. 5 years old isn't a junior player. 5 years old is a five-year old.
  • If he's still into it a year or two from now, that would be a good time to seek out a more serious coach. In the meantime work with him yourself. Maybe do the younger kids' program so he can get time playing with others around his age.
 

giantschwinn

New User
My goal is to have him swing like Federer. I don't care if the ball goes in or not, as long as he swings like Federer. I envision my son to start beating me in singles when he turns 12.
Having a beautiful stroke is more important to me than his ranking or results.

I feel the second coach with text book form would be better for my son since she knows how to do it herself. But her approach might be a kill joy for him.

The first coach is fun and my son would probably come out of the lessons happy but not learn anything.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
When you are a good coach you get to pick who you coach.

J
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
Pick a coach that you respect, that's the most important thing of all. A coach cant have you going against their decisions. And I wouldn't worry too much about their progress at 5 years old. I think things can get more serious later on, but right now I think it's still really young, better to develop a healthy attitude towards tennis.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
Coach doesnt matter at that lvl. Pick the one they like most, they will listen to them better

1 private a week (instruction) and 3+ clinics a week (social skills and practice what they learned in the private).

A 5yr old may not have enough retention for multiple privates a week.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
Anybody giving advice in this thread who has actually coached a kid from 5years old to a decent level or are you all just making this stuff up?

J
Didnt hear your opinion, arent your a "high level" coach now?

I like doing beginners and advanced, no desire for the 3.5-4.5's. Ive taught 3yr olds, they are funny, just sit down on the court when they get tired
 
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giantschwinn

New User
Really good point on picking a coach you respect. Yes if I didn't respect him, I would probably be second guessing his methods/approaches.
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
Interesting discussion as I'm like you where I coach my son who's currently 9, he's coming along fine and have a pretty decent game right now playing in green dot tournaments. I've been attending USTA's early development camp with my son; spoke with the program lead on a similar topic. Here are some take away from my POV...

As far as technique is concern, we all agree that technique is important only if real interest is there with the kids. The concern here is not necessary about them having a windshield wipe forehand, but whether they can compete and hold their emotions together when the going gets tough. Keeping them positive and staying motivated is actually the harder thing to do. At the end of the day the goal is to get them to be great athletic, not necessarily great tennis players. In fact, they mentioned that kids today who play sports are burning out at a much faster rate because of the competitive need to "dedicate" to a single sport early.

Therefore, to put things in perspective, my reasons to put my kid in lesson is to get them to hit lots of balls, get him engage with other kids, and keep him focus. It seems like a waste of money to do, which I absolutely agree considering we pad ourselves on the back for getting our kids this far. However, being in group setting is irreplaceable as it keeps your kid engage. From that perspective, my focus on instructors aren't single into technical focus, but also mental motivation; the latter which is becoming more apparent and hard to find.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Little kids are by far the most fun to teach.
I've only helped out with the 10&under program a handful of times when those coaches were sick or away, but it is for sure enjoyable. I think my experience had a lot to do with the fact that our 10u head coach is very personable and does a good job running the program smoothly and we are lucky to have good kids. I've heard other programs are full of monsters lol.

J
 
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Chadalina

Guest
I've only helped out with the 10&under program a handful of times when those coaches were sick or away, but it is for sure enjoyable. I think my experience had a lot to do with the fact that our 10u head coach is very personable and does a good job running the program smoothly and we are lucky to have good kids. I've heard other programs are full of monsters lol.

J
Some people have no patience, the kid misses one shot and they arent hitting a ball for 1-2 mins because the coach is running his mouth while they are watching the plane go by.

I knew a guy who was coached very hard since he was 5. He was beating college players (top div2 players, rollins college) in tournaments when he was 14. He was top 10 itf, turned 18 and he can barely walk because of bad knee's.

People often push really early, the kid doesnt enjoy the sport and hates it. A friend of mine taught some of the top players here, he told me the kid hated tennis and slit his wrist in front of him and his parents when having a sit down about the future.

They are little kids, let them have fun. Id go with the first guy, the 2nd sounds like boot camp. Use him when they get older
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Some people have no patience, the kid misses one shot and they arent hitting a ball for 1-2 mins because the coach is running his mouth while they are watching the plane go by.

I knew a guy who was coached very hard since he was 5. He was beating college players (top div2 players, rollins college) in tournaments when he was 14. He was top 10 itf, turned 18 and he can barely walk because of bad knee's.

People often push really early, the kid doesnt enjoy the sport and hates it. A friend of mine taught some of the top players here, he told me the kid hated tennis and slit his wrist in front of him and his parents when having a sit down about the future.

They are little kids, let them have fun. Id go with the first guy, the 2nd sounds like boot camp. Use him when they get older
That being said, there are expectations I have if a kid has been with us through red-orange-green.

I don't want to get an 11 year old and spend months undoing bad habits.

J
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
Some people have no patience, the kid misses one shot and they arent hitting a ball for 1-2 mins because the coach is running his mouth while they are watching the plane go by.

I knew a guy who was coached very hard since he was 5. He was beating college players (top div2 players, rollins college) in tournaments when he was 14. He was top 10 itf, turned 18 and he can barely walk because of bad knee's.

People often push really early, the kid doesnt enjoy the sport and hates it. A friend of mine taught some of the top players here, he told me the kid hated tennis and slit his wrist in front of him and his parents when having a sit down about the future.

They are little kids, let them have fun. Id go with the first guy, the 2nd sounds like boot camp. Use him when they get older
Echo on this. That’s was my number 1 mistake early on because the game seemed very natural with my kid. But honestly it did more harm than good with our on court relationship. His coach, which is also a good friend of mine set me in place pretty quick, which I really appreciate now that I think back. Also the open dialogue with other parents at EDC also put a lot of things in perspective. As @Chadalina puts it, they need their moments to be kids on the tennis courts. The competition in them will come out naturally if they want to fight for it.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
That being said, there are expectations I have if a kid has been with us through red-orange-green.

I don't want to get an 11 year old and spend months undoing bad habits.

J
I cant stand red-green ball stuff. I think the results are speaking for themselves with our younger talent. Just use the dead balls the good players have worn out.

Teaching tennis has become very static, people basically read a book now since the upsta sold out to the $. Ive seen so many bad players becoming pro's in the past 15yrs.

In the past instruction was unique, now they want you to teach their way. Selling dumb dvds and making your attend conferences. My old boss was a master pro, he was/is a 3.5, yet he is giving serve presentations at the conferences. Dude is telling me how to teach, he cant even play lol

I would never teach a 2h bh above a 3.5 lvl because i cannot hit one. If you cant hit it, dont teach it imo.
 
I cant stand red-green ball stuff. I think the results are speaking for themselves with our younger talent. Just use the dead balls the good players have worn out.

Teaching tennis has become very static, people basically read a book now since the upsta sold out to the $. Ive seen so many bad players becoming pro's in the past 15yrs.

In the past instruction was unique, now they want you to teach their way. Selling dumb dvds and making your attend conferences. My old boss was a master pro, he was/is a 3.5, yet he is giving serve presentations at the conferences. Dude is telling me how to teach, he cant even play lol

I would never teach a 2h bh above a 3.5 lvl because i cannot hit one. If you cant hit it, dont teach it imo.
Just because someone is a good player doesn't mean they are a good teacher. They may have no idea what they do or why they do it because it's unconscious.

Just because someone is not a good player doesn't mean they are a bad teacher. They may have a great understanding of technique and the game and may be able to communicate this very well.

Ideally, the coach is both. Ideally, you can identify the ones that are neither. But often they only have 1 of the 2 characteristics.
 
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Chadalina

Guest
Just because someone is a good player doesn't mean they are a good teacher. They may have no idea what they do or why they do it because it's unconscious.
Thats what bad players who coach say. Trust me ive met many, i refer to them as "paper pro's". Its more of a reference to people who have been taught how to teach more so than actually learning it themselves on court.

They annoy me, i remember one guy, he was a 2.5, a yr later he was a 3.5 and a usta vp, simply because he took the classes, socialized and "paid his dues" (off court).
 
Thats what bad players who coach say. Trust me ive met many, i refer to them as "paper pro's". Its more of a reference to people who have been taught how to teach more so than actually learning it themselves on court.

They annoy me, i remember one guy, he was a 2.5, a yr later he was a 3.5 and a usta vp, simply because he took the classes, socialized and "paid his dues" (off court).
There are all types; rare is the one who can do both really well.

Concerning the type that isn't a good player but a good teacher: he could elevate his students' games by doing non-technique stuff as well [ie the 3Fs of footwork, focus, fitness, and spacing].
 

giantschwinn

New User
Badmice2, I don't know if you agree. The hardest thing I find about coaching my son is NOT teaching technique or knowing what drills to run. I watch enough tennis to know a good form when I see it. I'm a 4.5 player on a good day so I know how to feed balls and explain concepts. There are also lots of YouTube videos that one can draw inspiration from. The hardest thing for me is I don't know how fast he should be improving. I don't have other five year olds to compare to. The tennis progression is not linear. You put in the work and you don't always get it back right away. I have been trying to fix his forehand and not have his racquet open up at contact for the past three months. I don't know if this is because he lacks strength at 5 or his easton grip or that I sucked as coach. A more experienced coach would know how a typical 5 year old should progress. The funny thing is after I posted that question regarding grip change, last night he started to hit forehands with top spin... Meaning he doesn't open his racquet at contact anymore. Something just clicked. Teaching is really a rewarding experiences when a student makes progress, and even more so when the student is your own kid.
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
I know exactly what you’re talking about; and that’s the part where I say/see the game is natural to my kid, because he seems to somehow get it fairly quickly. On top of that you see some older kid playing with not so great strokes and you think damn my kid is pretty good! However, in my experience the danger in that over time is your expectations begins to sky rocket exponentially base on the fact that “he grasp this one thing, why can’t he grasp this other thing which is very similar?” And you start to struggle with “explaining” things, trying to simplify something that’s fairly complex.

My advise to you - DO NOT FALL INTO THAT TRAP. Do not jump ahead, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You can’t focus on the fact that he didn’t face down his string bed, windshield wipe, and finish over his left shoulder. If he does it once or twice, almost guarantee you that it was accidental. Instead focus on the end goal - make sure he hit the ball. If you want to give him instruction, do it by actions - show him, let him copy it; don’t use words. A photographic memory at their age is worth more than a thousand words.

I literally went through this tonight with my son, trying to get him to serve proper (he was turning his palm out too early and pulling his wrist back, serving like a pancake serve using a continental grip). He’s at the age now where he seeks logic - if I do this, that should happen. The problem is he doesn’t get the technical aspects of why. Therefore he spend his energy trying for focus and reason with himself to why and how he should fix it. And you know what worked, I showed him the action, and he copied it. 8 serves later he was kick serving without knowing it. What I hated in that whole experience was that he and I were losing the fun in playing because he can’t find the fix to his serve - all because he was fixated on that damn hand turn (hammer throw). We lost our cool just to find it. Its a terrible feeling. The struggle is real - how do you explain to kids “turn right to go left” (Disney Cars reference)?

when you have time, read “the inner game of tennis”. It’ll knock your socks off.
 
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badmice2

Semi-Pro
There are all types; rare is the one who can do both really well.

Concerning the type that isn't a good player but a good teacher: he could elevate his students' games by doing non-technique stuff as well [ie the 3Fs of footwork, focus, fitness, and spacing].
peter fischer
Nick bollettieri
Piotr Wozniacki
Richard williams
Leonard François
...

The list of who should/shouldn’t teach tennis can go on and on. But you definitely don’t have to be a somebody to teach tennis these days. Personally it’s not always about what you know or don’t, sometime it’s about how well you can explain things and how well the student can relate to your teaching. Tiafoe has one of the ugliest strokes in the game, but he’s successful. Do you seriously blame the coach that taught him those ugly strokes and ask why he couldn’t change it to be proper?
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
I have been coaching my son myself for the past 6 months. He is improving nicely but in the back of my mind I always wonder what if he had a more experienced coach. I have no coaching experience, I don't know how a 5 year old should hit or what they are capable of. I am the one that taught him the whippy forehand. Am I rushing him along too quickly? He has had group lessons but at some point I want to start private lessons.
My local club has two coaches. One runs the junior program and the other runs the older kids program (for kids that can rally). I don't like the coach that runs the junior program because he doesn't pass the eye test...maybe a 4.0 player at best. The second coach has text book strokes and is a solid 5.0 player. The first coach is very friendly and talkative so kids like him and he has no shortage of private lessons. The second coach is stern and technical and has told me that she only takes high performance players/older kids. After having coached my son myself, I have a lot of respect for coaches that are willing to put in the ground work to develop junior players. For a coach to tell me that she only takes high performance players is kinda like telling me she is ripping off someone else's labor...makes me lose a little respect for her. Which coach would you choose to coach your kid? How much of a coach's ability to play the game influenced your decision to hire?
At 5 the goal of the coach is first and formost to help the kid fall in love with tennis, then to help them develop the basic attributes/behaviours that will set them on a path to being a good person and a good player - resilience, effort, respect, leadership, but primarily that they fall in love with the sport.

The coach your son plays with now isn't necessarily for ever, it's for this stage of his journey. Pick the coach that will help your son fall in love with the game - as his needs change, find a coach to meet those needs. You might get lucky and find a coach who has the skills to go with a player from tots to scholarship or beyond, you might find a coach who develops along with your kid - when I first started coaching some 20+ years ago I had never worked with a kid from 5 to university, but I had a great little group of kids to work with, so I went on the journey with them, "reinventing" myself as they went through their pathway and learning all the time. Of that group at least half went on to get get scholarships to US universities (and they've all graduated now which makes me feel old!). Having been through that experience initially, I have been on that journey with more players sinces, using the lessons I learned the first times around.

Pick the coach who will help your kid fall in love with the game.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
My goal is to have him swing like Federer. I don't care if the ball goes in or not, as long as he swings like Federer. I envision my son to start beating me in singles when he turns 12.
Having a beautiful stroke is more important to me than his ranking or results.

I feel the second coach with text book form would be better for my son since she knows how to do it herself. But her approach might be a kill joy for him.

The first coach is fun and my son would probably come out of the lessons happy but not learn anything.
The best way then is to look at the students of local coaches and see how they hit. That's the best evidence of their stroke building work, even if they are a tough slightly rude coach from an Eastern block country go with the evidence of their students' strokes.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
My goal is to have him swing like Federer. I don't care if the ball goes in or not, as long as he swings like Federer.
If you want you son to swing like Federer, the first thing he has to do is to be able to MOVE like Federer.

Federer did not learn to move the way he does by hitting tennis balls.

Federer learned to move the way he does by playing several sports including Football (Soccer if you are American!) and Cricket.

There is a common misconception that teaching a child to hit tennis balls from 3yo or 4yo will turn them into a Tennis Champion. The only players I know to ever succeed at that was Andre Agassi and the Williams Sisters. The rest honed their skills by playing lots of other sports that involved footwork.

So, perhaps consider forgetting the Private Coaching for a couple of years and consider introducing him to another sport, Soccer? Basketball? to help him develop top notch movement skills. A team sport will also teach him lots of other skills that will be very valuable that he would not necessarily pick up playing only tennis.

I have seen many kids pound the tennis courts from 5yo. A decade later most of them have given up on the sport because they are burnt out, or their bodies are riddled with stress factors or chronic tennis related arm injuries.

Whatever you decide. Best of Luck :)
 

giantschwinn

New User
He tells me to shut up when I talk too much. Instead of shutting up, I start to talk like Disney characters and that usually brings a smile to his face and reengage him.
Regarding developing a love for the game, I don't think you need to go out of way to develop "a love for the game". Tennis is inherently fun and the better you get the more fun it becomes. Once a kid knows how to rally, the fun increases exponentially. My son loves to play points with me and actually thinks he can beat me. If he wins, I let him dump water on my head. Pretty much everytime the game ends with him dumping water on my head. It's getting cold lately so I need to think of a new game.
There is a video game at Chucky Cheese that involves shooting at Jurassic park dinosaurs. I tell him the tennis balls are dinosaurs attacking his base. He needs to hit these dinosaurs away with his racquet. He has 10 lives, if he misses or hits one with bad form, he loses a life. He loves this game and hits extra well with great concentration.

It's typically the pushy parents that takes the fun away. I tell myself my goal is to develop his strokes. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

He started soccer and tennis around the same time. He likes soccer better because at this age it's easy to score. He averages 3-4 goals a game. One time his teams played a good team and he didn't score. After the game he tells me he hates soccer and likes tennis more. I was relieved. ;)
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
He tells me to shut up when I talk too much. Instead of shutting up, I start to talk like Disney characters and that usually brings a smile to his face and reengage him.
Regarding developing a love for the game, I don't think you need to go out of way to develop "a love for the game". Tennis is inherently fun and the better you get the more fun it becomes. Once a kid knows how to rally, the fun increases exponentially. My son loves to play points with me and actually thinks he can beat me. If he wins, I let him dump water on my head. Pretty much everytime the game ends with him dumping water on my head. It's getting cold lately so I need to think of a new game.
There is a video game at Chucky Cheese that involves shooting at Jurassic park dinosaurs. I tell him the tennis balls are dinosaurs attacking his base. He needs to hit these dinosaurs away with his racquet. He has 10 lives, if he misses or hits one with bad form, he loses a life. He loves this game and hits extra well with great concentration.

It's typically the pushy parents that takes the fun away. I tell myself my goal is to develop his strokes. Anything else is just icing on the cake.

He started soccer and tennis around the same time. He likes soccer better because at this age it's easy to score. He averages 3-4 goals a game. One time his teams played a good team and he didn't score. After the game he tells me he hates soccer and likes tennis more. I was relieved. ;)
I don't have a kid myself, so who am I to make statements here, hence you can ignore it.

But:
1. Your kid already tells you to shut up. The Disney character magic will lose its appeal much faster than you think
2. Your vision for kid is not clear. But from "swing like Federer" I assume that you would like seeing the kid either trying to become a pro, or at least getting a scholarship in college. Well this requires a lot of work. Both on technique but as well on fitness. A lot of competitive grind. Overcoming frustrations of losing.
Keep in mind, in competitive tennis, in singles, every time there is 1 winner and 1 loser. There is no tie.
Read about pros, most of them will say that overcoming the loss at most tournaments is a huge challenge. Those who can't - ...
Think about what Uncle Toni talks so much and why he was so keen on developing Rafa's mentality over everything else.

so, to sum it up.
If your kid won't have internal motivation to train like a freak, you might end up having big issues in your relationship.
This is why love for the game is so important.
Think about the age when hormones will kick in. Why go and train instead of flirting with the opposite sex? Why go and train instead of rebelling?
And yes, I know enough examples of kids that are great champions at the age 6-10 and then they disappear because of burn-out, because of injuries, etc.

p.s.
think how many talented juniors were in the world since let's say Federer turned pro. If you assume that every year, there were 10 new top juniors in top 20 or top 30, who reaching the top focused on the ATP tour, that would be probably 170-200 top talented juniors by now. Yet, the ATP top 10, and top 100 has the same names since many years. Ask yourself why.
think also about cases like Bernard Tomic but also other pros that were handled very tough as kids, made it to the top, but they simply burn out because of the stress and pressure. In this case Bernie is still a good example, as he made millions. But there are many that burned out without cashing anything solid, and they don't have / know any other skill in life.
this is so much about love for the game.
 

giantschwinn

New User
My expectation is very clear. Teach good strokes for now. Anything that comes later is just icing on the cake. If he wants to compete fine, if not, I am happy with him playing weekly doubles with me in my local league.

You people seem to think/assume teaching a 5 year old tennis is too early, too hard, kills the fun and I must have some lofty goal of him turning pro. Nothing like that at all. I believe in doing things well and doing things the proper way. Give it your all when you perform a task regardless of the end goal. I think there is a Japanese term for this. It's easy to do this for things you like or things that are fun...like tennis. The next level, is to have the same attitude for things you don't like.

Last year when he first started playing, I have to constantly remind him to stay focused. We play at this court where there are a lot of residents, and when he sees a person walking the dog, he would stare at them and tune out. A few weeks later, he came home from preschool and told me he finished coloring a picture because he was focused. Have you ever have a 4 year old telling you he accomplished something because he was focused? With moments like these, do you think I care about him turning pro?
 
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blablavla

Hall of Fame
My expectation is very clear. Teach good strokes for now. Anything that comes later is just icing on the cake. If he wants to compete fine, if not, I am happy with him playing weekly doubles with me in my local league.

You people seem to think/assume teaching a 5 year old tennis if too early, too hard, kills the fun and I must have some lofty goal of him turning pro. Nothing like that at all. I believe in doing things well and doing things the proper way. Give it your all when you perform a task regardless of the end goal. I think there is a Japanese term for this. It's easy to do this for things you like or things that are fun...like tennis. The next level, is to have the same attitude for things you don't like.
as far as it concerns me, I don't think that teaching anything a 5 yo is difficult.
I would argue quite the opposite, that at that age, it is rather easy to learn most things.

what people here are saying, is a bit different.
At least for me it was not clear that hitting good strokes is fine.
And I would assume that the discussion derailed from here, as at least part of those who posted knows how difficult it is to grind through the trainings in order to achieve a significant level. And even then, you still need a bit of luck and significant financial resources to help you travel & train till you reach the results that will pay off.

otherwise kudos to your approach.

again, I am not a trainer, but I would make a wild guess that at this age it is important to get:
- feeling of the ball
- hands-eye coordination
- footwork
I would say this is more important that visually beautiful strokes, as without good footwork there won't be repetitive beautiful strokes, without feeling of the ball, it is difficult to employ the footwork to be where you are supposed to be.
 

badmice2

Semi-Pro
My expectation is very clear. Teach good strokes for now. Anything that comes later is just icing on the cake. If he wants to compete fine, if not, I am happy with him playing weekly doubles with me in my local league.

You people seem to think/assume teaching a 5 year old tennis is too early, too hard, kills the fun and I must have some lofty goal of him turning pro. Nothing like that at all. I believe in doing things well and doing things the proper way. Give it your all when you perform a task regardless of the end goal. I think there is a Japanese term for this. It's easy to do this for things you like or things that are fun...like tennis. The next level, is to have the same attitude for things you don't like.

Last year when he first started playing, I have to constantly remind him to stay focused. We play at this court where there are a lot of residents, and when he sees a person walking the dog, he would stare at them and tune out. A few weeks later, he came home from preschool and told me he finished coloring a picture because he was focused. Have you ever have a 4 year old telling you he accomplished something because he was focused? With moments like these, do you think I care about him turning pro?
I dont think teaching a kid at 5 is early; I started teaching mine at 5, my daughter recently started playing as well is 6. I actually took an advice from a coach at that time - get them to hit the ball early, and if possible, get them to hit on movement (big or small) if they're able to, it makes learning the game way easier. My oldest, who played a lot of team sport and was winning trophies (bball, flag football), it was actually a real learning experience with him having to win on his own - no teammate, no passing. I respect that you're trying to teach him proper strokes early, that was and still is something i harp on my oldest on a daily basis along with other things - foot work, preparation, follow through. I do think the technical aspects of tennis should be taught proper in latter years when they start to understand body mechanics, a little bit of physics, so that they can put it back against the fundamentals to close the learning loop. For me right now, I ride my kid about court position more than anything; and my saying to him have been "We know you can hit the ball, but you gotta hit the ball at the right place and right time..." I applaud you for doing it right early, just make sure you keep things in perspective and dont let the details become the devil.
 

chic

Semi-Pro
My 2¢ as an adequate (4.0) tennis player and fairly good swimmer who has done some share of coaching for the latter in systems that have built trials level athletes (in swim trials can sometimes be more competitive than the Olympics).

Having fun is super important, and so is solid stroke fundamentals. It is definitely possible that a 4.0 coach could impart both of these, especially of he's in a decent system under another coach. Most tennis facilities I've seen don't have as much of a system in place as large swim teams do as much of the revenue comes in from clinics and private lessons for tennis whereas swim is structured by age groups but the head coaches have a lot more direct influence.

So I think an important (and hard to gauge) question is how much does the upper level coach respect the methods of the jr coach, and has anyone gone through their system and gotten to the level you're seeking for your kid?
 

chic

Semi-Pro
As far as wanting him to hit like Federer, kids will absorb and replicate what they see (so will adults but it's a lot more arduous for us and that's a different thread). So occasionally have some father(mother?) son time and watch some Federer. There's plenty of YouTube practice videos and slo-mo recordings.
 

giantschwinn

New User
The two coaches don't like each other so I don't think the upper level coach is guiding the lower level coach. In fact, the lower level coach has a more advanced USPTA certificate then the upper level coach. I talk to both and I can tell there is some kind of rivalry going on.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Are you teaching him the 2 handed or 1 handed BH?

I can hit both, BTW, though my elegant one is the 1 hander like Federer.
 

giantschwinn

New User
Are you teaching him the 2 handed or 1 handed BH?

I can hit both, BTW, though my elegant one is the 1 hander like Federer.
He has a two handed backhand. And it's already very good. A coach once thought he might be left handed because he was hitting backhands so well. As much as I like Federer, I am not teaching him one handed backhand because the limitations with high balls. Will teach Federer's slice later when he is 7. I was told teaching them slices too early they become lazy and use it too frequently.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
As much as I like Federer, I am not teaching him one handed backhand because the limitations with high balls.
What? Any player who has mastered footwork has no such limitations.

One needs to be very careful when coaching juniors not to coach them for today's game but to anticipate what the game will be like in ten to fifteen years time. In the Men's game at least, long rallies are disappearing in favour of finishing points of quickly at the net. IMO, this will certainly favour the SHBH over the DHBH.

The pace of the game is also increasing. Unless they change the playing conditions and regulate the equipment more stringently, the superior reach of the SHBH may also be an advantage.
 

NLBwell

Legend
When my son was 5, we played Kung Fu Panda 2.
From across the yard I would throw tennis balls at him as cannon balls and he would whack them back to me to protect his fort with a very sweet 2 hand backhand stroke and a solid one-handed forehand stroke. He'd hit the balls back and try to hit me since I was the bad guy (the peacock).
Then we'd switch so he was throwing them at me, trying to bomb my fort. Of course, then he was working on his throwing (serving) motion.
Sometimes we'd go out to the tennis courts and I'd feed him balls or hit the ball back and forth to get a general idea of the game then sometimes try to hit the ball to a part of the court and sometimes try to hit it out of the court over the fence (which he liked best). When he got bored with that, we'd play jail where he'd lock me in jail by closing all the gates. Sometimes we'd throw the balls over the fence at each other.
When he was about 3, he'd hit the plastic baseball off the plastic tee, which he liked.
When he was first big enough to walk and pick up a racket, we'd hit balloons along the floor for fun.

Just make it fun and get the fundamentals down.

He's much more into playing football now, but if he ever wants to become a good tennis player he has the strokes.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
He has a two handed backhand. And it's already very good. A coach once thought he might be left handed because he was hitting backhands so well. As much as I like Federer, I am not teaching him one handed backhand because the limitations with high balls. Will teach Federer's slice later when he is 7. I was told teaching them slices too early they become lazy and use it too frequently.
Federer's kids are probably going 2 hander too

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
 

Irrefutable

New User
Anybody giving advice in this thread who has actually coached a kid from 5years old to a decent level or are you all just making this stuff up?

J
I would use both coaches. One that is fun for a few years and then the serious one when he gets older. It is important to have fun when you are young. As you get older most kids want to play well and be competitive.
 
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