Kid's tennis: right time to start?

misterg

Rookie
What is the right time for kid's to start with tennis? Our local pro has started teaching his son at the age of 5. I feel sorry for this kid, and many others. It isn't better at this early age to start with various sports (including tennis) and then, accordingly to their fisical development, start seriously with tennis (or whatever other sport) at about 10-12 years? Or not? What do you think?
 

theace21

Hall of Fame
If the kid has been hanging around the courts, he probably is going to get a racket and try hitting a ball. As long it is fun, and the durations are short - let the kid decide. Expose him to the sport, if he is interested he will bug you to play...MAKE IT FUN!!!
 

nickybol

Semi-Pro
Startin to play tnenis at the age of 5 is not bad, probably is good, but the right starting age depends on the kid, some kids can do it by 3, some by 6. But when you`re young you shouldn`t be playing only tennis, but also others sports to develop allround coordination skills. Especially a sport like soccer is wellsuited for tennis players.
 

callitout

Professional
Theres probably no exact right age, but there are right reasons. If you decide that your 2 yo has to be a great player your setting yourself and him up for failure. My neice is a good junior 12 yo and started around 3 just having fun. My daughter is 3 and good enough only to hit with a large ball. But all kids are different. If you realize that not all kids can be competive players, and its for fun, you cant really go wrong. If the kid shows some talent and interest itll be pretty obvious.
 

All Court

Rookie
Supersmash, consider this -Federer was playing more sports than just tennis, and he didn't get into it competitively until much later.

By all means, at the young ages it's best to play multiple sports and build the ABCs -agility, balance, and coordination. Have them get outside as much as possible, run, play, do whatever they want to do. By the time they're 10-12, they'll have a solid athletic base. At that age, drop it to maybe two sports they enjoy (hopefully tennis), and try to get them out often. When they're about high school age, start focusing on tennis completely.

Starting at a young age isn't a big deal, as long as it's kept fun. Tournaments and rankings are a big no, however, until 12-14. Most people who start before tend to get very caught up in it...and burn out just as fast.

At the young ages, just focus on building athletic skills.
 

tonysk83

Semi-Pro
nickybol said:
Especially a sport like soccer is wellsuited for tennis players.
I think baseball is probably the most benfical sport for tennis, the hand-eye coordination you get in baseball can't be accomplished in any other sport. I know playing baseball since I've been 4 has helped me start tennis later in life(16). Swing a racket and baseball bat have lots of the same fundamentals.
 
S

SageOfDeath

Guest
what..... are you talking about? Baseball does help with eye hand coordination but so do many sports, i wouldn't say its the most beneficial.

And the swing of a tennis racquet and a baseball swing is totally different, and you being a baseball player should know that.
 

nickybol

Semi-Pro
Sports must not be the same, the must complement each other. The feeling for the ball, coordination and quick feet in soccer are very useful in tennis.
 

mellofelow

Semi-Pro
Tonysk's comparison of baseball is valid. His point is referring to eye-hand coordination and making contact with a ball travelling at a fast pace.

Soccer is good also. It helps with foot work and speed. But in my opinion, speed is something you're born with... very little teaching can help.

As for the starting age of the sport, it will depend on the child. I have 2 boys, 5 and 3 yr old. My 5 yr old showed no interest but the 3 yr old was eager to try.

Federer and Agassi started at 2 and Pete started at 7.
 

All Court

Rookie
Mellofelow, speed is largely a part of heredity, but a huge part of it can be developed. They key time for developing speed in young players is around 6 to 9, or pretty much the early years in general are all good. Also, even later, plyometric exercises and running a lot will still majorly affect performance.

Soccer is very good because not only does it support footwork and control of them, it stresses agility over outright full speed. Rapidly accelerating and decelerating is essential (at least with good players ;)), and it's also just as important to be able to plant a foot and immediately change directions. It can be carried over to tennis.

Baseball is also good, for reasons already stated by other people.

Kids should be playing a lot of sports when they're young. Many experienced people recommend all three of those sports. Anything is fine, everything builds motor control and the such. Just get them to play as many sports as they want to.
 

B5002

New User
I read in Tennis magazine that when playing with young kids, you should make them stop playing before they are ready to. This way they'll want to come back to the courts and won't be burned out.
 

All Court

Rookie
Before they are ready to?

I think that just means that stop when they're excited and enjoying themselves, so they still want to play again.
 

B5002

New User
All Court said:
Before they are ready to?

I think that just means that stop when they're excited and enjoying themselves, so they still want to play again.
Yeah that's what i wanted it to come across as. Thanks.
 
T

TennisPop

Guest
I have an 8 year old that likes tennis, and I have a private lesson for him on Saturdays and I have been picking him up from school and playing, usually 3-4 times a week.

I think you guys are right. He says he wants to go out, but I kind of see some frustration when he does not hit it correct. I try to tell him not to worry about it and to have fun, but I think instead of constant tennis, I will take him out for another sport once or twice a week. I will let you know how it goes.
 

GotGame?

Rookie
At the younger ages, I believe it should be just for fun and exposure. This should prepare a kid for his tourny days when he turns around 10 years old. There is no 'right' time to start, if you got the talent, hard work, or both, you can make a name for yourself in tennis.
 

Lakoste

Professional
I started playing at 4, but I wanted to play. My dad was a good player and I always liked watching him play. Eventually I started to ask my dad if I can play with him. He started me off with a wooden racquet, I guess it was to develop my strokes, because it helped a lot. He never really pushed me into tennis, he mostly just wanted me to be interested in something. As I got older I got into other sports, but Tennis was always my main, and favorite, sport.
 

peter

Professional
All Court said:
Supersmash, consider this -Federer was playing more sports than just tennis, and he didn't get into it competitively until much later.

By all means, at the young ages it's best to play multiple sports and build the ABCs -agility, balance, and coordination. Have them get outside as much as possible, run, play, do whatever they want to do. By the time they're 10-12, they'll have a solid athletic base. At that age, drop it to maybe two sports they enjoy (hopefully tennis), and try to get them out often. When they're about high school age, start focusing on tennis completely.

Starting at a young age isn't a big deal, as long as it's kept fun. Tournaments and rankings are a big no, however, until 12-14. Most people who start before tend to get very caught up in it...and burn out just as fast.

At the young ages, just focus on building athletic skills.
I 100% agree!

Another thing I'm trying to instill in my kids (5 and 7 years old) is the importance of eating and drinking good stuff and to avoid stuff that's not so good for you in the long run.

Like: Limiting candy and sodas to the weekends, talking about what food is good for someone participating in various sports (my daughters practice swimming (30m/week), soccer (1h/week during spring/autumn), tennis (1h/week) and ice hockey (1-2h/week during winter) and generally spend a lot of time outdoors - the primary focus in all the sports is on having _fun_ though).
 

Tennismastery

Professional
I believe that introducing younger kids to many sports and activities is excellent. However, one thing that I have found over more recent years is the tendency for older kids, especially between the ages of 10 and 14, to do so many things that they never stay with any of them long enough to master them.

When one activity starts becoming too tough, they quit and move on to another activity. It isn't just tennis. It is music, gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc. A combination of society and limited attention spans has produced a generation of kids that are not willing to fight through the struggle and frustrations that are usually associated with skilled or accomplished activities.

In tennis, this mentality has produced many pros who avoid challenging junior players with proper grips and swing patterns in an effort to keep all students.

I have found that junior players and adults alike enjoy knowing they are working on advanced techniques that don't have to change later. Kids like to hit shots that are more like that which they see good players do. You can also provide fun ways to challenge kids, even those as young as 5 or 6 to gain comfort and familiarity with proper grips and stroke aspects.

We lose very few kids in our program...one that is not only growing but has many many more than other local clubs. Kids that quit a challenging program will quit tennis later at some point anyway even when taught less challenging concepts.

Just a few of my observations on this topic!
 
Top