Matchplay is for EVERYONE!
Too often in this sport across the UK do we find children attending weekly lessons but no matchplay. Sometimes I see children having 2-3 squad sessions per week along with 1-2 individuals per week, doing all of this training without any matchplay!!!
It seems crazy to think that children are happy to train but not put that into competition, is this a stigma attached to the sport that we want? Do we just get children into the game that do not want to compete? Would you consider taking your child to football practice midweek and then not go to the game at the weekend?
Is the competition not rewarding enough in tennis? Do we add too much pressure onto children to put them off competing? Is the individual aspect of the sport creating too much anxiety and stress for our younger generation that it puts them off?
Personally, this is a huge problem with tennis in the UK! We have to address why children do not play enough matches (in any format). There is no better learning than out there in the field getting real life exposure to mistakes, victories, defeats, winners and so much more. Here comes my favourite phrase "winning is enjoyable, but losing is learning". Until children are put into a position to fail, then we are not teaching children so many traits that will help towards feeling of success, whether that's financial, personal health, jobs or relationships/families.
We have been working really hard at Northampton Tennis Coaching to get matchplay into children's regular schedule. Oh my it's been tough, and we are still a long way from achieving this as part of the programme. We will not give up!
Check out our matchplay schedule on the matchplay tab on our website.
Coaches - What do you do at your clubs?
Parents - Do you encourage competition?
Children - What's the biggest barrier that's stopping you playing matches?