To punish or not to punish?
I am a tennis coach and I conduct kids tennis lessons every afternoon of the week. Lately, I have noticed a growing trend of parents forcing their child to skip their regular tennis lesson as a form of punishment for bad behavior around the home or in the schoolyard.
Is this form of punishment fair?
As a passionate person involved in tennis I see this as totally unfair for a few reasons. Please remember that I am not trying to tell you how to best raise your child, you must do what you believe is right.
If you are thinking about making your child miss sport as a form of punishment, have a think about a few of these points:
You are punishing more than just your child
You are punishing the child for their misdemeanor, but you are only also punishing the coach by not attending a class/lesson. This causes the coach to change the lesson plans at the last minute. As coaches we dedicate significant time and effort into creating our lesson plans. While we are skilled at adapting our lesson plan according to the number of participants in our classes, it is a hindrance and can even be a little stressful.
Your child is now a week behind their peers
The child’s growth and development in the sport can be hampered from skipping a session. Missing an important training session can leave them lacking in their development of gross motor skills, techniques, skills, tactics and/or strategy that had been taught during the session.
Teams can be negatively effected
If a child is part of a team and they are forced to forego training, they are letting down the team. This can negatively impact a team on game day and negatively effect the the team’s cohesion.
Other teammates may be resentful toward the child because they have made the effort to attend training and despite the other child missing training sessions, they are still participating on game day.
The child may start to resent the sport
If this type of punishment happens often, the child may begin to resent the chosen sport and even start to hate the game. As passionate coaches, we don’t want to lose anyone from our chosen sport.
Most of the time it is still going to cost you
In most cases you’re still paying for the class/lesson to maintain your place, so you should still be in attendance.
You may want to consider looking at other types of punishment (non physical) such as removal/restriction of technology or giving them extra chores around the house. You can be creative but please try to avoid skipping organised sport as a form of punishment.
Tennis is a sport to which you can play for a lifetime and I’d like to keep it that way. You don’t have to aim to become the world’s best in order to enjoy the game and even take it further.
There are various other avenues in tennis in which can you be involved that differ from becoming a professional tennis player or a tennis coach. There are many positions in a volunteer capacity within Tennis and Tennis tournaments like the Brisbane International and also opportunities to engage in full time work within the national body or state bodies of Tennis in Australia.
Kids are the future of our sport and we want them to get enjoyment out of participating in the game of the tennis.
Best of luck out there and I’ll see you on the court.