Change up your junior tennis players practice every now and then. The kids get in the habit of playing the same way against their team mates. It comes to a point where they know each others game too well and practice becomes more of a habit than a thoughtful process. This is when it’s time to change it up!
We put our son in the men’s tennis league when he was fifteen. Not only did we save a lot of money, but he had to learn to do a lot more thinking on the court. Adult players tend to play with more finesse than power. When our body starts to fail us our mind needs to take over. Your junior tennis player is going to learn a lot from a mature player. You learn to adapt and adjust your game for your weaknesses and avoid your opponents strengths. You will never find more creative tennis than a men’s 4.0-4.5 league.
Our son was never more frustrated than the year he played in the men’s league. He would come home complaining about being beat by a fifty-year old man who could barely move. “How did he do it?” he would ask. He would complain about the “cheap shots” he took and the “sissy tennis” he played. Yet every week he had his bag on his back ready to head out the door, believing he had the answer to beating the “sneaky old buggers.” The key here is, he was starting to think. Instead of playing the same game every week, he was learning to think, and be creative on the court.
Our son did more growing up on the court the year he played the men’s league then any other time. His patience and behavior on the court improved and he was far less frustrated when playing against a player that had a different style of tennis than the one he liked to play. The best part of the experience is the laugh’s we get when we reminisce about some of the matches.
So the next time you are watching your junior tennis player’s clinic practice and you see them making the same mistakes, playing the same old game, think about changing it up. Not only will you save a little money but you find a welcome maturity in their game and get a few laugh’s along the way.