N’s first league season playing tennis is over. His team have played all their round robin matches, and are now experienced in playing matches in mini red kids tennis.
I always think he’s so young to be playing matches – at his age, we were still hitting a ball up and down the road or against the garage wall. It wasn’t until late primary that we probably did a couple of summer tennis camps (mornings only). Then at secondary school we started properly playing in the team and doing ‘training’. Some of the teams in N’s league were similar, with children obviously just starting out playing in matches. But there’s some children who know exactly what they’re doing, how to score, how to chivvy along the scorer and doing some amazing shots.
It was unfortunate they played the weaker teams when they were missing a girl on the team list. It meant they lost 3 games automatically, and therefore lost those matches (despite winning more of the games they had played). If we’d had the best team opponents for those matches, we’d then have won against the 2 easier teams with a girl, and had a great score on the board.
This last match we had the best team put forward, but had a mix up of the rankings in the team. All the way through I’d assumed we’d have come in third behind the last 2 teams we played, but because we hadn’t a girl for 2 matches we came last. A shame for them, but hopefully none of them have been put off trying again.
For a first season playing they got some great experience, more game play, and enjoyed themselves.
N did pretty well. Apart from being slaughtered by the best team in the group (golden duck for the only one in the team to score 0 in a match!), he won games most weeks.
- 1st match – at #2 he won 1 single match and his doubles
- 2nd match – #2 he won all 3 matches
- 3rd match – #2 lost all 3 matches
- 4th match – #4 won his 2 singles
We knew we were getting a great girl coming into the team for the 4th match, so knew he’d go down to number 3 rank in the team. But the head coach rearranged it and moved the guy who’d played #4, then #3 up to #2 ahead of N and his friend who’d been number 1 before. The boy had beaten N in one of their group session games so I wasn’t surprised about him moving up even though he’d only won 1 of his previous 6 matches played at lower than N did.
We talked the move through and N was happy as he realised he’d still get to play with his school friend in the doubles, and at number 4 he’d have a much better chance of winning all his matches.
I was so proud of how he dealt with moving down the rankings. I know I’d have been peeved as a child, but apart from comparing their games, shots and previous match history, he was matter of fact about it, and determined to practice more to jump back ahead. Winning his matches, both 10-3 was a nice result for him, although it was a shame things fell to pieces a bit for them in their doubles game.
After going into the doubles at 4-4, N’s team lost both doubles matches, so lost the match overall. Such a shame, but they did a good job and they didn’t end up being as far behind that team as I’d thought watching them in other matches. Good opportunities for them to do better now we will hopefully have a girl in more of the matches.
Unfortunately I’m the only parent from the team who’ll do scoring which means I never get to watch N’s matches. Something he doesn’t like as he wants me to watch. And score, which I’m not allowed to do.
Easy going player
N might not be the most competitive child out there, but he has a good mentality. He’s quite calm, doesn’t mind people watching, doesn’t get angry (or doesn’t show it). When he’s not that happy afterwards, he’ll look for the positive and also examine why other people might have beaten him. Maybe they’ve been playing longer, or had more lessons, or more privates. He’ll be able to say which shots they were better than him on (although he still has an over-inflated opinion of how good his shots are! I’m hoping that’s an age thing)
What I’m really pleased about is how good a sport he is when he loses. Yes he likes to have a fist pump when he wins, but when he loses there’s no tears. He’ll support a friend who may have lost and is upset. But he’s able to move onto the next match. Maybe it helps that he’s quite forgetful so forgets the previous score.
As long as N keeps enjoying tennis, I’m happy to keep taking him to matches. He gets to spend time with his friends, both those from school and the rest of the team. They’re a good group of children, and hopefully he’ll have tennis for life. If he can keep the good steady attitude, I’ll be pleased too. Hopefully if he has a steady mind for playing tennis, then it might help him stay calm for things like school exams as he gets older.
Do your children take part in sports? How do you find it watching them? How do they cope with winning or losing?
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