If you’re looking to introduce your child to a sport, tennis is a great option on many levels. It’s equally mental as it is physical, therefore promoting both strong psychological and physiological development.
The primary school and early-secondary school years are a crucial time during which children acquire coordination and complex technical skills. If they play several games or sports during this period they enjoy significant physical advantages over kids who don’t experience or engage with sport.
Tennis in particular provides countless physical benefits for children of this age. It develops their hand-eye coordination, gross motor control (through court movement and ball striking), fine motor control (through finessed drop shots and angled volleys), balance and body coordination, all the while building acceleration, speed, leg strength, agility and flexibility. Tennis also promotes overall good health in children – improved bone strength and density, and a robust immune system.
Lessons for life
From a psychological standpoint, children who play tennis develop skills and strategies that will also serve them well in life off the court.
Because they’re out there on their own, and often calling their own lines while competing, children learn to accept responsibility for their actions, decisions and mistakes, and can begin to manage these more effectively. They must learn to respond to adversity, adapt to different situations and environments, and deal with stress, often compounded when scores are tight or if they’re losing. Both in practice and competitive environments, tennis fosters work ethic, discipline, and sportsmanship in children, and hones their strategic and problem solving skills.
Tennis also fosters social skills – children learn about the importance of teamwork when playing doubles, and benefit from the necessary communication with singles opponents before, during and after matches.