My Life as a "Tennis Mom"...I love it!
I have become a "tennis Mom" - and I love it!
My 8-year old son is spending 7-8 hours weekly training and playing tennis. Since January 2017, he has participated in several local and regional tennis tournaments and is really loving that.
I have to say that I was initially reluctant to the idea of him participating in tennis competitions. I mean, he was only 7 years old last year when he participated in his first competition! He had just recently started to train seriously (if we can use the word seriously for a 7 years old!) when his coach suggested to register him in an interprovincial 4 stars competition.
My husband and I talked with my son and let him make the decision. He was excited about the idea of participating in a tournament even though he knew that his chances to win a match were very low. From my side, I was very concerned and scared that he will not want to play tennis anymore after losing his first match (possibly without winning a single point).
But, I was totally wrong. Yes, he did lose all his matches (although he did win a couple of games in one of them), but his reaction to these loses was so mature and realistic for his age. He was very proud of himself and the points that he won, he knew that he needed more training & more importantly, he was not discouraged and actually said to us "so, when is the next tournament"! I really admire my son because I am not certain that, myself, I would have reacted so maturely at his age. Let's face it - he was only 7 years old!
It's admirable to see how young kids, like my son, could be so dedicated and focused.
I keep thinking that having play dates with friends, going to birthday parties or simply playing video games (even though I like this one less) is more interesting than being at the tennis courts for hours (sometimes under difficult weather conditions!). But, since that first tournament last year, my son has decided that tennis is his sport and that he will be committing 7-8 hours per week to training.
As parents, I feel that our main role is to provide a strong emotional support to him. Tennis is a very important part of my son's life, but IT'S NOT HIS WHOLE LIFE! His school work, piano lessons, video games, playdate with friends, and family time should still play a fundamental role his life. They are actually essential to ensure that he has the balanced life that a child of his age needs.
Over the last year, I have learned that the best way to help my son to perform at his own best is by showing him unconditional support 100% of the time. My son understands that if he wants to improve his performance at tournaments, he needs to train even during the days that he would have preferred to stay home playing video games or watching TV. Thus, it's so important for me to show emotional support and understanding not only during matches or tournaments but also, and especially, during training sessions. He needs those weekly hours of training if he wants to succeed and achieve his goals.
"Whether you lose or win, we will always be proud of you"
As a tennis Mom, you always need to have the right words to support and encourage your child. There is one particular sentence that my son uses as a motivational mantra:
"It's not over until is over"
It's a simple, but a very inspirational sentence that my son heard one day from a TV show. I believe it was a TV show that he was watching in between two tennis matches.
While being realistic about the outcome, we feel that as parents it's our role to help our son identify the things that he did well in a match. We applaud his hard work, professionalism and positive attitude. We encourage him to be proud of his effort and dedication even when he loses a match. We also feel that it's important to provide him a supportive, but realistic feedback.
I am grateful that my son is giving me the opportunity to be a "tennis Mom". It's a new phase in my life and so far, I am enjoying it very much!
Yes, of course, our weeks and weekends are now totally different than they used to be. But, who cares, my son is enjoying the experience of playing competitive tennis and that it's all that it counts for me.