Most children nowadays do at least one out of school activity.  Although they often say children are marched from one to another, and aren’t given the chance to just enjoy being bored and finding their own entertainment.  But I don’t think that’s changed from 30 years ago, when I was doing activities every day, and in school sports teams and music groups.  I played 2 instruments (increasing to 3 when older), did Brownies then Guides, did ballet, adding modern dance for a few years, and was in various sports teams, as well as doing orchestra, wind band and music school.  I spent all my spare time either reading, or playing out with friends.

N’s activities are limited by my working and the OH’s lack of taking him anywhere. So swimming lessons are a must have, and then he does tennis. Anything else is reliant on in school activities – like construction club or choir.

are private lessons worth it - Bubbablue and me

N’s never really been one for wanting to do lots of clubs. He’s vaguely shown an interest in learning the drums, and then piano, so I might see if he can do a trial for that and potentially have lessons in school.  But he’s about to stop tennis club at school because he’s now too old.

He’ll be continuing with his group tennis once a week – the group is mixing up a bit so hopefully he’ll be out of the group with some of the girls who chat too much and the boys who don’t listen.  But he’s also now got the opportunity to do a 1 to 1 session once a week in school with one of the coaches too.  It’s great they can try and fit these in for a number of the children – I’m hoping he’ll not be too tired for the swimming lesson afterwards, but he’ll try it and see how he goes.

Are private tennis lessons worth it?

For all the years I did dancing and sport, including area under 14 squash trials and numerous ballet exams, I never had private coaching.  Obviously my music lessons were private ones but that was the norm. I don’t see the point of learning in a group for music because you’ll never progress with everyone at different levels. Whereas with sports and dance, you benefit from being in small groups.  In swimming it’s always better when there are fewer children, because the others get much more focus and the teacher can see what’s going on in the pool better.

My brother wasn’t convinced that spending more money on a sport N’s never going to be a pro at is worth it. But I think it’ll really benefit N and will give him the chance to decide as he gets older whether he wants to improve and play for a team, or whether he wants to just get better and have tennis in his life for fun as he grows up.  Given, tennis is the only sport he’s willing to try and he enjoys it, I’m all for giving N the chance to get as good as he can and give him the choices.

Over the summer we did manage to put in one private lesson.  I was amazed at how much they can learn in 1 session.  Obviously without practising it in between sessions (even off court), you won’t get the real value, but building those technical blocks will gradually make them become more natural.

I wasn’t sure how N would take to having all the focus on him. But he worked really hard and listened well.

They broke down the forehand and really worked on movement and positioning which is the bit N really struggles with.  He’s not a natural mover and he’s definitely not light on his feet.  I think I need to work on his ‘grapevine’ and warm up side stepping because he really wasn’t getting that.  My dancer background was crying inside watching him struggle!

It wasn’t long before he was hitting much flatter shots with more power, and easily doing rallies.  Then it was his backhand, again breaking it down.  With all the years of school tennis coaching, and holiday tennis coaching, I don’t ever remember being taught a lot of what he was told.  The way they teach tennis programmes today is so different to when I was a child.

N seemed to enjoy it, and said he’d like to have more sessions.  Group sessions are brilliant to see how they’re progressing against others, and get to have more fun games while learning, but adding a private will help the coaches see his specific areas to work on, and find the best way for him to take him how to make changes.

Hopefully, the short half hour private slots will help boost what he’s learning in group sessions, plus giving him the extra practice time. And I’d better get saving in case he decides he wants to play more.

What kind of activities do your children do?  How have you progressed them to take on more practice?

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