As a parent, you want your children to be healthy and get enough exercise. Sports are the perfect opportunity for that. So as a tennis instructor, I’d like to tell you all about tennis for kids and answer the question of whether tennis is good for kids.
Tennis is a good sport for kids. They improve their physical strength, endurance, speed, agility, flexibility, and motor skills. But in addition, with tennis, they also learn social skills and mental skills, which will come in handy in their future lives. This makes tennis a great sport for kids.
Tennis is a hugely versatile sport with many benefits for children. In this article, I will explain exactly what tennis entails for children and help you decide whether or not you should put your child on tennis.
Tennis is an amazing sport for young kids. While tennis is an individual sport at its heart, it teaches kids the values of teamwork, dedication, responsibility, problem-solving, sportsmanship, mental strength, and self-belief.
The tennis sport today is more kid-friendly than ever.
The United States Tennis Associations (USTA) and the International Federation of Tennis (ITF) have come up with ways to size down tennis and make it more accessible and less intimidating for today’s youth to play.
We now have smaller courts, smaller nets, smaller rackets, and different types of balls that are all proven to get kids playing quicker and having more fun while learning the sport of tennis.
While the professional tennis tour may still be very individualistic apart from the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Laver Cup, junior-level tennis is more team-oriented.
Aside from private lessons, many tennis clubs and tennis instructors offer clinics that are group classes.
Clinics are where your child can meet other kids who play tennis or are just getting started, make friends, and learn different aspects of the game each week.
Tennis summer camps are becoming increasingly popular. Some camps accept kids as young as four years old for half the day!
There is also Team Tennis, where your kids will be able to join with other kids to form a team that goes around locally and plays matches against other teams.
And let’s not forget high school tennis and college, which are teams playing an individual sport.
So, is tennis good for kids?
Tennis is an excellent sport for your child to start, especially with kid-friendly equipment, court, and balls. The life lessons learned by playing this lifelong sport are endless. So are the social and other life opportunities that come with playing.
Do you doubt whether it is wise to put your child on tennis? As I mentioned above, tennis is a great sport for children, and they learn many other useful things from it besides tennis.
As said, many benefits come along with kids playing tennis. Let’s dive into these benefits:
Collisions and concussions won’t be something you as a parent have to worry about.
Your child may get hit by a rogue tennis ball, but that’s almost a rite of passage in our sport. Tennis is definitely a safe sport for kids.
Tennis requires kids to move, use and work on their hand-eye coordination to swing and hit a ball.
Your child will develop the ability to move laterally, forward, backward, along with increasing their speed, agility, balance, and coordination.
Tennis is a full-body sport; it asks a lot of our bodies and our minds.
While tennis is mainly a unilateral sport (one side of the body), it does require some ambidextrousness that kids may not be used to.
The non-dominant hand becomes important in the backhand and the serve, which can be a mind flip for some kids, but fun, nonetheless.
Tennis also creates mental toughness; your child will learn to persevere through any adversity they may meet either on the court or in life.
Tennis is much more than an individual sport. As mentioned above, clinics, group lessons, and summer camps are great avenues to introduce your child to tennis and allow them to play with kids of similar ages and abilities.
Tennis is one of the few sports in our world that can be played forever.
Because tennis doesn’t require a whole team to play like soccer or football, it’s easy for your child to pick up their racket again after graduating high school or college.
Many clubs and tennis instructors offer lessons, clinics, and even summer camps for adult players.
There are many options to keep playing tennis as your child grows up.
Depending on the size of the clinic or summer camp, there are sometimes up to three or four coaches on the courts with the kids.
Coaches are there to not only teach and help with technique and the rules of play which helps lower the chance of injuries, but they are also there through lunch breaks and match play to ensure the kids are well looked after and working well together.
Tennis has so many advantages; it’s a wonder there are any cons at all. But there are a few that you should consider before getting started.
Where you live will strongly influence the cost of tennis, bigger cities typically mean a higher price tag for lessons, clinics, etc.
However, tennis equipment can become costly. The bare necessity is a tennis racket.
If your child is young or just starting (no matter what age), a racket probably won’t cost you more than $50 (€44).
Suppose your child does decide to pursue tennis seriously.
In that case, it will be time to invest in a good quality racket which, depending on the size your child needs, can range from $100-250 (€88-221).
You also need to invest in tennis shoes, racket grips and strings, and a racket bag.
Tennis is a sport that requires time. Most private lessons only take an hour. Clinics can span anywhere between one and a half to two hours long.
When you and your child decide to participate in match play and tournaments, matches can stretch up to three hours or more with no time limit to matches.
This length isn’t typically seen until they are a high-level junior or school player.
Many parents must consider the travel time and cost of ferrying their kids back and forth.
Yes, tennis is a no-contact sport, but injuries may still pop up. Because tennis is a unilateral sport, overuse injuries can occur and overload growing joints, muscles, and bones.
However, this can be countered by ensuring your child has a light tennis racket to begin their tennis journey.
The best age to start tennis for kids is when they’re five or six years old. At this age, kids can often perform movements and hold a racket. They also have had enough time in a formal school format to understand how to behave in classes.
While clinics are an option, private lessons are good to start out. You know your child best, so make the decision based on their personality.
You can tailor private lessons to what you think your child can handle.
Many kids, typically around the ages of 4 and 5, can only hold their attention for thirty minutes, which is okay and a perfectly good length of time to learn each week or a few times per week.
This makes 4 or 5 a perfect age for a child to start playing tennis.
Once they’re six and older, tennis lessons can become their typical one-hour length.
Usually, the format of lessons and clinics with young kids isn’t solely focused on hitting a tennis ball with a racket.
Often, you will see coaches introducing kids to games that simulate the different aspects and skills needed to play tennis.
There are a lot of throwing and catching games, hand-eye coordination games, and balance and agility drills done to prepare them to withstand the stamina and coordination needed to hit the ball, like you may see older kids doing in lessons and clinics.
Tennis is definitely a safe sport for kids. Coaches are always on hand and on court during lessons, clinics, and summer camps. Kids will always have adult supervision, even during their team matches and tournaments.
There aren’t many serious injuries you have to worry about when it comes to injuries.
A child may get hit with a ball, but all tennis players have been hit at some point since they began playing.
There may be some overuse injuries or even a sprained ankle. However, there is very little contact involved in tennis – so no collisions or concussions.
However, a very young child with a racket can be lethal.
Tennis does not have to be expensive for a child, especially if they are just starting out. It takes a small investment for a child to get started. Just a racket, shoes and tennis lessons will get you a long way. As your child becomes more serious about tennis, the cost will also increase.
When your kid is young or is new to tennis, the cost is fairly low.
As mentioned earlier, beginner rackets and child-sized racquets range between $20-50 (€17-44).
(Click here to read our in-depth article on how much a tennis racket costs)
Specific tennis shoes are not required, as long as they have a good athletic sneaker that supports the side-to-side movement.
Some things may cost you when getting started: private lessons and clinics. Lessons can range from $65-100 (€57-88), depending on location, the club, and the instructor.
Clinics are usually held in session format, so if you purchase the entire session, it will be cheaper in the long run.
You must factor in transportation to and from wherever your child has their lessons and clinics.
Suppose your child has fallen in love with tennis and wants to take it more seriously.
In that case, the frequency of lessons and clinics will probably increase, inflating the cost.
More equipment is needed at this time, a better-quality racket, tennis shoes, and a bag to hold their equipment. The cost will increase when they need their strings and grip changed.
(Check out this article for all tennis essentials for beginners)
There will be travel involved when it comes to tournaments, along with tournament fees and hotel rooms. Maybe even airline tickets.
But this is long-term thinking and preparing you for the possibility of your child wanting to pursue tennis as their sport, play in college, or play at the professional level.
When your child is just getting started, tennis can be very affordable, especially when compared with other sports like ice hockey and football.
The only equipment needed is a racket (which can sometimes be borrowed from the instructor or club) and a pair of sneakers.
Tennis can be a lifelong sport. The earlier you can throw your child into it, the more opportunity and benefits they will experience.
From the physical and mental benefits to the social benefits, tennis will teach them so many life values that they can take into other areas of their lives.
The sport can be as individual or team-oriented as you and your child want it to be, and the same goes for the cost. You can scale tennis to what you can afford and what you and your child want from it.
There is no need to spend a fortune when you are just getting your kid started. Find a good coach, a good club, and a cheap racket, and send your kids on their way.