3 Essential Skills That Tennis Can Teach Your Child
November 26, 2021
3 min read
Is your child feeling frustrated and crankier than usual? Is she spending most of her day glued to a screen? I am sure it's been difficult to keep your kids engaged at home when all they wish to do is play outdoors. With the pandemic restraining all outdoor play for kids, most parents are struggling to find ways to channel all that energy and enthusiasm that their little ones have bundled up within them. However, with schools and institutions reopening, both parents and children are looking forward to signing kids up for outdoor activities and classes, especially a sport. Tennis is a great option to not only get their little bodies moving but also has numerous developmental benefits.
Simply put, motor skills are those skills which allow us to perform movements. Children use motor skills to perform everyday tasks like crawling, grasping, walking, balancing, and running (do kids ever stop?). Our brain is most malleable in our younger years as it's open to more possibilities, so it is easier to develop and strengthen motor skills during childhood. However, limited physical activity during the pandemic may have impaired kids’ motor skills development. A recent study indicates that childhood motor performance is increased by participation in organized sport. Ergo, you may want to consider tennis to help your kid refine his gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
Gross motor skills are those which involve the movement of the whole body and use larger muscles in our legs, arms and torso. These skills enable kids to perform everyday functions like standing, running, and climbing the stairs. Tennis enhances gross motor skills, through court movement and ball striking skills, by conditioning your large muscle groups.
Fine motor skills involve the use of small muscle groups in our hands, wrists and fingers. They allow kids to perform finer activities like writing, holding a pencil, or building their favorite Lego tower. Tennis aids in fine motor skill development through touch shots like angled volleys and drop shots.
Hand eye coordination is the synchronized use of the hands and eyes to perform actions. The eyes understand and judge movement while the hands execute the task, like while performing basic activities like writing or driving. Almost every sport requires hand eye coordination. Tennis aids in cultivating strong hand eye coordination by judging the timing between the incoming ball and the accurate point of contact to return the shot.
The importance of social interaction on the emotional and social development of children cannot be undermined. You may have noticed how staying indoors and the lack of interacting with their peers has strongly affected kids’ confidence, creativity and social and emotional intelligence. Tennis offers them an opportunity to play and interact face to face with other kids their age and form friendships. They learn how to communicate with others and grow and mature independently.
Moreover, tennis is a great way to teach them life lessons like planning strategies, thinking on their feet, taking responsibility for their actions, performing under pressure and accepting victories humbly and defeats virtuously.
Playing in teams teaches them the importance of teamwork. These skills define character and are beneficial not only on court, but off court as well.
We've all played a sport at some point in our life. Not only are they a great way to enjoy and relax, but the physical benefits of playing any sport are innumerable. Tennis aids in improving flexibility, agility, speed, and balance. Being active also strengthens muscles, bone structure and bone density, as well as the cardiovascular system. Tennis keeps your child fit and healthy, which equips their immune system to combat diseases.
Moreover, tennis challenges the brain at every stage and trains it to be alert, critical and sharp.
It teaches kids to calculate their opponent’s next move and plan their own accordingly, thus improving their awareness and reflexes. And of course, getting some fresh air is a foolproof way of keeping the mind and body alive!
In addition to all these great benefits, probably the most important reason to sign your kid up for tennis is because it's fun! And kids love everything fun.
Tennis is a lifelong sport, and starting at an early age will reap benefits that last a lifetime.