Every Tennis Parent Needs Help: How to Get It

5 Jul

Producing a top tennis player requires a huge investment of time and money from parents. These investments will be beyond the means of almost all parents, and supporting the schedule of an aspiring athlete can quickly become unbearable if your time and money are poorly managed. Roger Federer’s parents for example invested a great deal of time and money in his career BUT in total they paid only a fraction of the total cost of his training because Roger was able to take advantage of the assistance of local and national structures early on. For years Swiss Tennis picked up the bill for travel and accommodation at many of his matches and also provided opportunities for training and other support.

You need FANS

Fans are people who believe in your son or daughter’s ability, who like them (and you), and are willing to give  them helping hand towards their goal. No champion ever did it on their own, and every top player had a whole series of fans who voluntarily went an extra yard or two to help them. For Federer these included his tennis club giving him subsidised lessons to hep him achieve his potential, local coaches driving him to tournaments,  national coaches who selected him to join the national tennis academy, the Swiss Tennis association who funded his international travel, his sponsors who provided his equipment, clothes and shoes, and tounament directors who gave him wild cards to ATP tournaments as a 17 year old.

Where to Start

  1. Be noticed. Players who stand out are rewarded more than those who don’t. This may seem obvious, but the point is that a tournament winner is noticed 10 times more than the runner up. This may seem quite unfair given the usually small difference in their play, but that’s how it goes.
  2. Team up with other parents. Start with simple things like carpooling to tournaments or coaching sessions, and be creative about finding other ways to get the most mileage out of the resources you have. Good hitting partners for example is a great way of getting good practice cheaply.
  3. Look for opportunities with local clubs; regional, state, or national tennis associations; and sponsors. Federer tapped into these sources at each step of his career, and as a result he never had to forego an opportunity because of expense. Be friendly, be sociable, make friends,  and be a good member of the tennis community, this all helps, but in the end the best way to gain their support is to convince them that your child has a lot of potential that is worth fulfilling. This is best achieved by your child demolishing players far and wide. Simple enough?
  4. Improvements in quality and quantity of training are always the goal, but the cost will dictate how long it can be sustained. Usually the better the training the greater the cost. Roger and his parents managed to seek out opportunities to elevate his training AND reduce costs at the same time. This was usually achieved by gaining selection into teams, squads, academies etc. These got him subsidised or fully funded coaching and travel for example but at the same time exposed him to new levels of competition or training. Compared to the next player, Roger’s parents were left paying less but for higher quality coaching and competition. Such powerful opportunities can be a turning point in a young career.

What Can Kids Do?

  • Help your parents out. At some point you need to drive your own improvement and success. According to Roger Federer’s mother, a key to Roger’s success was that from a young age he made his own decisions about tennis.
  • Show them you want it. If you can hardly be bothered to go to training or fill out your own application forms, they won’t be as inclined to go out of their way (make sacrifices) to take you away to tournaments, buy you new rackets etc. If you make it clear to them (with your actions) that this is your dream, then they (and others) are far more likely to get behind you.

One Response to “Every Tennis Parent Needs Help: How to Get It”

  1. thomas March 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Great post and I’m with you, if the parents follow your advice and stay out of the development phase for their child, they should be good to go, keep up the good work and look out for my new work, thanks.

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