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).
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.
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.
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?
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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