10 Real Benefits of Watching Tennis With Children
If you’re the parent of tennis-playing children, or a coach of junior tennis players, we highly recommend watching tennis with children!
When we first published this article, the 2020 Australian Open was underway. That seems like a long time ago! Right now, the Battle of the Brits is underway - a welcome return to live tennis as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown. We hope you're watching! Better still, if you’re the parent of tennis-playing children, or a coach of junior tennis players, we highly recommend that you watch the tennis on TV with your kids!
As a parent, there are probably times when it’s actually a relief to have the kids entertained and occupied for a few minutes in front of the TV. After all, it allows you to get on with some of the 1000s of things you need to do. But if you want to watch the tennis, then sit down with your kids because the benefits are real!
Research shows that watching TV with kids can be beneficial
A study from Texas Tech University finds that when families view television programmes together, children get more out of the experience. The research supports the idea that kids are getting more out of TV programmes if parents are asking and answering questions and discussing the content with them.
There is also a “mounting body of evidence that if you are actually watching along with your preschool or elementary school-aged child, screen time might not be that bad. On the contrary, as long as you are an active participant, it can have multiple beneficial effects” (Child Mind Institute).
Learning by watching
Watching a tennis match on TV with children enhances the learning, so sporting behaviour, tennis techniques and tactics can be highlighted and learned as you watch.
Of course, the positive things about the tennis on TV are there whether you watch the match with children or they watch alone. However, kids are unlikely to make the most of the opportunities which are there if you watch and discuss the match with them.
10 Great things to highlight when you watch tennis with your kids or players
As a parent or a coach, you can discuss or highlight:
- Dimensions of the game: What a great sport tennis is. It combines “the strategy and intelligence of chess, the endurance of boxing, the athleticism of a long-distance runner, the technical skill of golfers. And we’re served this amazing spectacle almost every day of the week.” http://tennistalent.co.uk/why-i-love-watching-tennis
- How the scoring and the rules work
- Different things you both notice about different players’ games and the way they play
- Changes in momentum of the match, who is winning and losing, who is making a comeback, or who is struggling from a once winning position
- Key moments which highlight sporting behaviour, great effort or other sporting values. You can explain how the professionals aren’t perfect either! However, the professionals keep trying. A great lesson for life.
- You can point out things to try themselves, when you point out a plan then they can literally “put what I’ve seen into practice myself.” http://tennistalent.co.uk/why-i-love-watching-tennis
- Think back to when you watched sport on TV. I remember watching Wimbledon and big football matches on TV, and wanting to emulate my heroes at the club or in the park straight after the match. It’s inspiring, with athleticism, mental toughness and talent all on display from our heroes.
- It’s unisex so girls also see excellent role-models. “Tennis, unlike any other highly televised sport, also rewards the sexes evenly. I’m just as happy to watch two great female players duke it out as I am male players; often, the more subtle play that comes from female tennis can be more interesting.” http://tennistalent.co.uk/why-i-love-watching-tennis
- Things which happen which may relate to the child’s experiences in lessons or tournaments
- You could even try to do some simple match charting whilst watching the match, and discuss the summary of the match afterwards.
References for this article
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