Tennis is one of the most followed and practiced sports throughout the world, and every day there are more children who want to follow the footsteps of great players like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer and become the new number 1 on the ATP.
But this sport has not only achieved its reputation thanks to its great players, but it has also achieved it due to the myriad of physical and psychological benefits that its practice brings. Training regularly improves the physical condition, develops musculature, the capacity for attention, motor coordination and even encourages socialization.
Parents know all these benefits but ask themselves what is the best age for children who enjoy this sport to begin practicing it.
As is the case of most sports, there is no exact age at which the practice of tennis should begin. Whether a child is prepared or not to receive tennis classes depends more on their skills, abilities, and capabilities rather than their age.
Many children at the age of 4 already show quite an advanced motor coordination capacity enables them to begin to play tennis, but it is necessary to take into account that their capacity for attention is not yet very developed. At this age the constant distractions turn tennis lessons into a mere game with rackets and balls.
Although these classes do not serve to improve their technique, they will make the child become familiarized with the equipment and with the basic ideas of the game. What is most recommended is for the child to use during his/her “training” rackets, nets, and balls that adapt to his/her physical conditions.
Most experts say that the best age to begin practicing tennis in a more formal manner is at 5 or 6 years of age. When the children reach this age, they have already quite developed their psycho motor skills, their coordination and attention, adapting themselves much better to the demands of the game.
This is the perfect age to let children experiment with the racket shots, balancing the ball and coming into contact with the basic technique of this sport. The intent is to help children become accustomed to the court, to its dimensions, to the handles and weight of the rackets and balls.
In addition, thanks to this sport the little ones will begin to strengthen their speed, agility and reflexes, toning at the same time all the muscles in their body. To avoid injury and discomfort it is best to use junior tennis rackets from age 5 to 12 years approximately. These rackets are more ergonomic and lighter than adult ones and allow the child to perform the movements and shots in a way that is more comfortable.
Whatever the age of the child both parents and their form of training must be flexible and be able to adapt to their wishes and their capabilities, leaving aside any type of psychological pressure or physical overload. At that age the parents simply must have as objective that their child have fun and start socializing outside of the family environment.