Taylor Dent was speaking at a USPTA conference I was at today and he stressed an important point when working with your child in tennis. He called it the "silver lining."
What he stresses to his students is the fact that there is no control over winning and losing. We are also not good at multitasking so the best way to play well is to make your goals obtainable for every point and allow for it to not connect with winning. For example, if the goal you have is to win the point, the most common response to that will be to tighten up and also be disappointed in not winning the point. And by the way, in tennis, this happens about 50% of the time in close matches!
So what is the better way? Have your child think of a goal that they can control regardless of winning or losing. An example would be to have a goal of having the proper finish on every groundstroke they have. This might not win the point every time but it will allow them to hit better and give them a small victory every time they do lose the point. Giving them small victories in an error prone sport will make them a positive player and be more mentally tough as they grow into the sport! This might not stick with your child right away but at least prep them before their matches to have that mindset when they step onto the court.
Want to learn how to score a tiebreaker? Check this video out!
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