Introducing children to sports – a tennis open day

I’m a big tennis fan.  Well, not as much as I once was, but racket sports are my thing.  At school I used to pretty much play everything in a team being tennis and squash captain at 6th form.

Once at uni I had to focus on only one sport.  Unfortunately tennis took a back seat while I decided that fewer people played squash so I’d stand a better chance of getting in the team.  I did, but also got pulled into the tennis team when they were short of players. Even after uni, I played squash for a team for a few years, and still played a bit of tennis socially.  Then dancing took over my social life, until we had N, and now I don’t do any exercise apart from (very short) bike rides and a bit of walking.

N’s never had the chance to go to tots sports classes because he’s always been in nursery, or on Saturdays has had swimming lessons.  My theory was that swimming is essential until he’s a strong enough swimmer to just have a splash around and lessons with school.  But he’d probably have the chance to try some sports at school and then decide what he wanted to play.  But because sports clubs are after school, and are only an hour, they’re not something he’ll be able to do because I need him to be there for just over 2 hours until I can pick him up.

So I’m going to have to try and find him some other lessons elsewhere once he’s ready and settled at school.

I’d love him to play tennis.  It’s a great social game, you can play it for years, and it’s less damaging on the knees in my experience (having dislocated mine twice playing squash).  It’s also nice to be able to play outside.  I’m hoping that he takes after me and has some ability with a racket, but I’ve struggled so far to find a tots class that doesn’t clash with school/after school club, or swimming.  Luckily there are a few classes and clubs around locally, so I’m hopeful that we will find him lessons that he can and will want to go to.

I’ve also got another motivation – maybe if he plays, it’ll be worth me joining a club too, and then we can play more frequently.

At the moment though, his interest isn’t looking great.  In fact, so far he’s not shown much interest in sports – watching them on tv.  Tennis he’s watched for a short while, golf no, football and rugby no, cricket a little bit, swimming a bit, horse riding a bit.  So I’m just hoping that he does have some interest and that we don’t struggle to get him interested in doing exercise and sport when he’s older.

Our nearest club had a recent tennis open day for children.  The courts are next to the cricket pitch and the playground, so of course as we drove in, N didn’t care about anything except the playground. My heart sank.  So an agreement was made, that if he tried a bit of tennis and playing with the balls, then he could go on the playground before we left.

N was the youngest there when we arrived.  The coach wasn’t getting any response from N, who of course went shy, so he left us to play with the equipment left out – a mini net, and kids rackets and balls.  The older children had the lobster ball shooting machine to practice hitting with (jealous, I’d have loved to have had a go on that).

balancing tennis balls

So we just balanced some balls, transferred them from N’s racquet to mine, and then I tried to persuade him to have a go at hitting the ball.  By that stage he was pretty bored (we hadn’t really done anything. Argghh, kids!).  But he was happy to throw a ball for me to try and hit so that was about the extent of our tennis playing.

fiddling with the tennis net

The coach wandered over, then left again once he realised that N wasn’t playing ball with him…I think he was a bit put out that he couldn’t persuade N to at least talk to him.  Even a couple of smaller children turning up didn’t persuade N that he was ok to be there, and that it could be fun.  So after a couple more throws, an attempt to topple the net (N, not me), I said we could go to the park.

I’m glad the tennis open afternoon was a free event, because there’s definitely no way I’ll be putting N into lessons until probably the summer. Maybe they’ll have done a bit of tennis at school so I can encourage him that way.

the playground game

no photos mummy
No photos mummy

through the climbing frame

N did have a great time on the playground, although much of the equipment was way too high up for a child of his age to get up to. It was a strange park – from the heights, it looked as though even the 6 year old cousin would struggle to get on it as well.  Surely younger children are more likely to use playground equipment than older kids?

climbing the ladder

standing on the wobble equipment at the park

down the climbing frame

So the tennis introduction didn’t go quite as planned.  Hopefully come summer he’ll be settled in school well, that little bit older, and may have got a bit of interest in sports.

How did you introduce your children to sports?

 

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45 thoughts on “Introducing children to sports – a tennis open day

  1. I’d love my three to play tennis, but I’m not sure there are lessons close to us. I might look into it though. I’m useless at racket sports so hopefully they don’t take after me 😉

  2. I fear Monkey will take after his father and show no interest in any sport. We had the option to try Karate, Tennis, Football and Rugby but he doesn’t want to try any of them. I know if I tried taking him, he wouldn’t leave my side, so it’s all rather pointless. Someone was suggesting tennis might be a good one for Monkey to try so think I might just try with him myself next summer and see if I can get him enthused in something. #CountryKids

  3. It’s a shame it didn’t go so well, but worth a try! He’s still quite young to be starting sport, so maybe you will have more luck next spring or summer.
    My younger son did a year of pre-school football, then joined a team when he was 6 or 7. My eldest didn’t start rugby until he was 10 and my younger son started at the same time, when he was 7. My daughter started dancing when she was 4 and didn’t actually start ballet until she was 6. She has recently started running, at the age of 9.
    They all did swimming from a young age, like you, I felt that was an essential life skill, not just a hobby.

    1. Yep, swimming is so important. He did mention football after school the other day (they do a club at school), he’s never shown any interest apart from occasional random kicking in the garden, but really infrequent. I think he’s just copying what his cousin likes. But at least with that one, it’s for 2 hours so many next school year when he’d have more stamina for doing 2 full hours, he can do that. That one actually works with the time I need him to be there too.

  4. Don’t loose heart, I’m sure your tennis loving days will come to N as he grows older, a great opportunity to give it a go and I think you did well not to push it letting him instead do the things he was happy with, this way another time the opportunity comes around he will remember the day favourably and be prepared to give it another go. I hope so, it sounds like a real passion of yours. Thank you for sharing on Country Kids.

  5. I used to love tennis and hockey so much when I was in school, crazy how back then I thought it was a chore. But good idea letting him try lots of different things.

  6. Before my little ones started school I used to take my lead from them. I think having various sports equipment available in the garden is the best way to get a feel for what they enjoy. Why don’t you buy the little fella a swingball set to start with if you are keen for him to be the next Andy Murray!

    1. We’ve got one, but we can’t get it in the ground, or using the box it’s hard to stop it moving. They’re not like they used to make them. I do worry about him garroting himself though.

  7. I think it’s a great idea to get kids involved in sports from an early age. I started tennis lessons when I was about seven and absolutely loved it! I used to go with my best friend every week 🙂 (and we’re still best friends today!)

    C x | Lux Life

  8. Keep trying! My daughters do martial arts, the first year they sat on the mat rather than participate… now if I ask them to wash up I get a hip-throw across the room! I wish I’d spent more time with racket sports, maybe that’s something I can do next year.

  9. It’s good to introduce kids to sports early on. I’m glad you could persuade N to at least try some tennis, although eh got bored quite soon. I was never much of a sporty child myself.

  10. I think it’s great to introduce children to sport at an early age, my daughter had tried gold, football, athletics, swimming, judo, dance and tennis before she was 7. She only does 2 things now but I really encouraged her to try new things and if she didn’t like them we would move on to something else.

    1. Wow, that’s a lot. I mostly started at 7 – what with music, dance and sport, but mostly through school for sport until late primary years when we did summer school for squash and tennis.

      It’s just fitting things in – because I don’t want to swamp him and can’t in the evenings when he’s tired. I don’t pick him up from after school club until 5.30…unless of course we win the lottery and the OH would let me build a tennis court on the farm. That would be brilliant.

  11. It’s a great idea to allow the kids to try the sport first. At least you had a go, and hopefully N is more open to it next year. Lovely photos of the playground too x

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