Tennis in Germany, what goes wrong? My sport is losing the connection to the younger generation. Is a Tennis Club the solution or the problem? Is Tennis recommended as school sport ?
The subject kids and junior tennis in a club: Kids or juniors sometimes having a hard time to understand the teaching methodes from the coaches and are not able to transfer the said instruction on the court. So even after many hours of practice the success is not to come. Even more dramatic is the situation in group tennis lessons. The player has three to four ball contacts before picking up balls and getting back in line for the next turn.
The individual hitting time (actual contact with the ball) of each player is not more then five minutes. Sometimes less because the hour of tennis is only 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes. Many coaches offer now a days, lessons (an hour/) for 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes. As a parent you should bring a stop watch and check out the hitting the ball time, you will be shocked on what you spent your money on. Even worse is it when the coaches are in an retired age, which don`t have the energy or the pation for this sport anymore. And believe me I speak from experience. The main sentence is, not everyone wants to be professional, I can`t hear it anymore, a pur excuse to not be motivated and give it all.
Also the teaching methodes for advanced kids or junior players are to be critical looked at. Is team tennis in a club still part of our time? We also have to watch out for those juniors, which haven‘t found their way into competitive tennis – for whatever reason – (my son loves tennis but with his allergies he doesn`t feel comfortable to compete). Still, they also have the right to get the best knowledge from the coaches and who knows some might find their way into competing in tennis. Sadly these players with no competing ambition will be overlooked from people on the club board, junior coordinators and sports coordinators, and they have to fend for themself. That those kids / juniors sometimes move to another sport that brings them more joy is understandable. On a regular basis for us as coaches we can not always see the next Rafael Nadal or Angelique Kerber in the beginners we teach, in the beginning we have to see a kid or junior as a potential club memeber that has to develope to a player of their own choosing, might that be a recreational or team tennis player or tournament player, but we as coaches have to give our best to make them feel comfortable in a club and with the support from everyone, from the parents, to the club board and the coaching team.
With the ongoing structure of the Matches and Lessons in kids and junior tennis is no wonder that the number of the members in clubs are decreasing at the ages between 14 and 18 years of age. There has to be new coaching methodes adjusting to this time!
Individual age and kids/junior appropriate training lessons. Create time for other leisure activities. Promote mobility and balance. Do not replace the tennis ball more and more with gymnastic balls, handballs and soccer balls. Staying in We mode….. means, a little more us and less me.