Article Contributor: Admin
If you’re a parent in the UAE you might worry that your kids aren’t getting enough exercise – you’re not alone. Playing a sport like tennis rather than an actual exercise routine is often seen by children as being fun more than a chore. The great thing is tennis can be played from a very early age too which can teach children important life lessons.
Question: For parents in the UAE who are eager to get their kids more active do you think tennis lessons are a good choice to add some extra physical activity?
Absolutely. Tennis lessons in the UAE introduce a child to a new set of skills. In my opinion as a personal tennis trainer and coach, it is important for children to be exposed to as many different physical and mental skills as possible when they are in the prime of their life for learning.
Tennis equipment nowadays is tailored depending on a child’s age, so that the game can be shrunk to their size, with balls that bounce more appropriately for them.
As they grow, the balls and court spaces can be increased until they are playing with full-size rackets, courts and regular tennis balls.
Tennis is a sport that incorporates hand-eye coordination, reactions, a range of athletic skills including speed, agility and power, a range of mental skills particularly the ability to focus on a task and problem solve and also can be used to increase fitness.
Skills learned in tennis are highly transferable, whether that is into other sports, or taking the mental skills into school, work and home life.
Question: What are the main health and fitness benefits of children in Abu Dhabi taking up a sport like tennis?
Tennis in the UAE is a great way to get kids active without them thinking about exercising. They will chase tennis balls, develop quicker footwork and increase their strength.
Playing a sport opens a child up to new social opportunities also, particularly if learning in a group environment.
Tennis is a sport that is regularly played by people right through their lives, often well into retirement age, so learning a sport like this can keep children active for many decades.
Question: Tennis and other team related sports teach children valuable life lessons and get them involved in ‘team work’ from a young age. With this in mind do you think group?? tennis lessons in Abu Dhabi are better than one to one private lessons?
Both group and private tennis lessons in Abu Dhabi are excellent ways for children to enjoy tennis.
Group lessons give children great exposure to social experiences, children learning common skills together and learning from the other children.
In group lessons, they have the opportunity to play individually, in pairs, or in small groups in fun games.
This helps children problem-solve in many different environments, often allowing natural leaders to start to develop valuable leadership skills.
Groups are encountered throughout life, including schools and work life and these experiences help to prepare kids for these experiences.
On the other hand, one-to-one private tennis lessons by using a personal trainer for tennis are a great way to hone tennis skills.
If a child enjoys competition, this is a great way to improve their skills for use in that environment. It can also be a great way to learn small adjustments that will help a child play more efficiently, with stronger technique and to improve the success they have with a sport. Feeling successful is a great way to keep anyone interested in a sport.
Question: Is there an age that is considered ‘too young’ to take part in an active sport like tennis for kids in Abu Dhabi?
A child needs to be able to hold an appropriately sized racket. The youngest child I have coached is 3 years old. At this age, the more helping hands the better.
However, even younger than that, bats and balls can be used in the garden or a park to allow small children to even hit the ball along the ground.
This should be something fun for the toddler to do and sets up hand-eye coordination early on. The more exposure to different athletic skills at a young age, the better.
Sport and exercise should be something completely natural for a child to do so they become fit, healthy teenagers in Abu Dhabi and maintain that into adulthood.
Whether someone keeps playing tennis or transfers to other sports or exercise is less important than the need for the body to move regularly for cardiovascular and bone health.
Question: Sadly many children see physical exercise as a chore rather than something fun to do. As a professional tennis coach how do you structure your tennis lessons to ensure kids don’t get bored?
I tend to structure all my tennis lessons in Abu dhabi in the same way, no matter the age of a child – starting with a warm-up, some athletic skills, then into some tennis drills and games.
The difference is in how things are presented to players. For athletic skills, with older children there might be a challenge to sprint as fast as they can, maybe involving competitively beating their own time, racing each other or racing the coach, or for jumping skills there might be distance challenges with education on how to use the body to jump higher or further.
The same things can be done with the very young, but it would tap into their imagination more – become a cheetah and run, or jump like a kangaroo, or become a frog and jump as far as you can.
Beyond this, every child (and person of any age) is motivated by different tasks and goals, so being aware to what sort of challenge or task a player responds to is very important so coaching can be very personal and fun.
Question: For children who want to put more time into a sport like tennis and possibly play professionally what advice can you provide to parents?
Be supportive, but do not be overbearing. Enjoyment is a huge factor. A child is more likely to continue playing tennis through their difficult teenage years if they are enjoying what they are doing.
Remember tennis is a sport that requires a lot of thought – it is a sport where there is little outside help when competition is underway.
A child must be allowed, and also encouraged, to problem solve so they develop a keen sense of how to string shots together to be successful again any opposition.
For me, it is also important that children are exposed to other sports and activities rather than necessarily specialising too early.
The transferable skills that can be gained by challenging the body and mind in different ways can only make them a better tennis player, and may make them less likely to develop sport-specific injuries.
Many of the top tennis players play other sports at an extremely high level. Nowadays, you are not just a tennis player – you need to be an athlete who specialises in tennis.
You only have to look at the magnificent athleticism of some of the top male and female players to see how important that is.
Actively involving your children in a sport like tennis provides so many benefits and not just those associated with being fitter and healthier.