This is an important topic right here…. If you work with young tennis players and want to get Tennis Results, you need to understand a few things.
1. Kids are not adults, don’t treat them like adults. Coaches, tennis conditioners, and parents need to be responsible for the volume and intensity they practice at. Don’t compare them to adults or other kids, they all develop at different rates and they cannot do what adults do…..
2. If a young player wants more and more, that’s great but everyone has their limit, the problem with the young tennis players is that they find it hard to know when to stop, they find it hard to read how they are physically feeling and how they will respond to what they are doing. If we want them to have some good tennis results, we need to manage this for them and educate them on what is enough.
3. Most injuries in young athletes are overuse injuries. They are called overuse injuries for a reason. Too much volume (too much time tennis training, bad technique, fatigue) without enough recovery. In my opinion, fatigue is generally the main reason overuse injuries occur.
4. Poor management. If there is no one with knowledge running the show, kids often hit here and there, have a few coaches and do extra tennis fitness sessions that their parents or friends saw Nadal or someone doing on the internet. There is no structure and no means of managing injury prevention. These tennis result we are wanting to achieve will not happen. Everyone will want to the push the kid to their limit without knowing what they have done the day before or what they have planned for the following day.
So whats the best way to deal with injuries in kids. PREVENTION…… every child is different and everyone needs to learn to communicate effectively to get a greater understanding of how each individual works. Here are my simple tips on how to make that happen.
1. Three simple questions. At the start of each session or the start of the day, ask each player how they are feeling, have you been sick since I saw you last? Any injuries or little niggles? What did you do yesterday, today, anything major on tomorrow?
2. Someone needs to be responsible for the management of volume each kid puts in each week. Most of the time it is a parent, the problem here can be that most parents don’t have the education to know what’s not enough and what’s too much, so it must be a team effort (coach/tennis conditioners combined with the parent)
3. Learn to read kids. If a young player is showing signs of fatigue and lethargy, lack of motivation, constant illness and injury. There is a good chance they are doing too much or they are not getting enough recovery. If it gets to the point where they need to have extended time off, it’s been really mismanaged.
I’m not saying to be soft on kids or to not push them in any way, our young athletes will testify that I work them hard and at the right times they are worked to their limits. What I am saying is, it is important to learn to manage and maintain a healthy balance of quality work, with quality recovery. Is it easy to get right? No, it is not, communication is the key, getting young players to speak up and learning to manage their energy levels etc takes time and it is a team effort to get it all right. If you want you kid to be successful and achieve good tennis results then the sooner you get it functioning effectively the sooner you will have a happier and healthier athlete.
If you’re a young tennis player, tennis coach or tennis parent, we would like to recommend you our book: Building a Tennis Champion”: 30 Things Every Tennis Player, Coach and Parent Must Know. Buy Here.