Tennis is a sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages, and for children in particular, it can be a fantastic medium by which to learn important character-building lessons. Below are 6 valuable life lessons that your child can learn through playing the game of tennis.
1. Believe in yourself.
Tennis is a unique sport in that allows each person to develop their own individual type of playing style. For example, while one child might find their footing as a net player, another one might excel by hanging out at the baseline. What this diversity in playing styles demonstrates is that each child must learn how to recognize and develop their own strengths, and trust in their own instincts. Having faith in your own ability to assess and respond to on-court situations teaches you the importance of believing in yourself, which is an all-important quality that will translate into countless situations outside of the tennis court.
2. Accept responsibility.
Personal responsibility is a quality that is basically built into the process of becoming a better tennis player. Your child will have to learn how to be responsible in terms of committing to their practice sessions, showing up for games, and owning their mistakes on the court. Unlike many team sports where you can sometimes successfully stay “under the radar” during a game, with tennis it’s just you and your opponent. If you mess up, there’s basically no way to disguise your mistake – you have to own it. This can teach your child an invaluable lesson about accepting responsibility for their own actions.
3. Follow the rules.
Just like any other sport, tennis has rules, and your child knows that they can’t win the game unless they play by the rules. This reinforces the concept of operating within boundaries, which is a key to understanding how to navigate through many other areas of life as well.
When things are going poorly on the court, you can’t just stomp off and quit; you have to hang in there, even when the going gets tough. This is a hugely important lesson that your child will continue learning throughout their life, and demonstrating this type of perseverance on the tennis court is a great way to practice it.
5. Look for angles.
In many respects, tennis is a problem-solving game. You have to constantly assess multiple factors including your opponent’s position, the speed and trajectory of the ball, your own position, etc., and within milliseconds, you must determine what the best shot will be given all of these different variables. This is a rapid-fire problem-solving exercise that happens over and over again on the tennis court. What this can do over time is teach your child how to always look for new angles by which they can solve problems, which is a vital skill to develop for all of life.
6. Be a good sport.
By playing tennis, your child will have an opportunity to experience both success and failure. They will learn how to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat, and they will develop the skill of maintaining a good attitude in both good and bad circumstances. This intangible quality is perhaps one of the most valuable life lessons they can derive from playing tennis.
As you can see, your child is learning a lot more from playing tennis than just how to develop a nice forehand stroke. While they’re on the court, they’re actually learning a multitude of important lessons and skills that will benefit them throughout their lifetime.