The month before the C word changed the axis that the world spins on I had a conversation with a NY parent! The question from dad was simple! “What do I have to do to ensure my kid goes pro?”
My first thought was to look unapprovingly at this “crazy” parent stood next to his 6 year old son who was still struggling to tie his shoe laces and tell him to leave the court and go pay some ego driven cash register of a coach to make these kind of crazy promises to him! But I stopped..
It’s a valid question, this parent wants to see his child to be successful! I know some want to live vicariously through their child but I really thought that this dad was like most of us! Isn’t that what we all want as parents? He wants to understand the journey that leads to the destination, and he had the same ultimate fear that we all do! That he might do something or not do something that prevents this from happening.
This was my response..
“So happy you want to make tennis a big part of Johnny’s life Jim (names changed to protect the innocent), but if he makes it there what do you want him to do after his tennis career is finished?”
What there is a second destination that I am supposed to help my child prepare for? Oh the pressure!!
“Would you be happy if he went into business?” At this point Jim is a little confused! He just rounded forth base only to be told that there we actually 5 bases or maybe 6!
” Look here is the honest answer Jim, we can’t promise anyone will go pro but we can work together to set Johnny up for success! If we focus on key behaviors, recognize them, reward them and always let Johnny know how important they are, he will be able to handle everything that tennis throws at him and all his life beyond! We will do everything we can on the court to help him to love the game and work hard but these go way beyond! I know you want Johnny to be the next Roger Federer but all these are behaviors that he exhibits too right?”
I presented Jim with four key behaviors to look for, emphasize and reward. He smiled! He was excited and committed but more than this he was relieved! We are not judged on what our children own or achieve but by the people they become!
So as we go back to the courts can we go beyond forehands and backhands and make the new Improved Normal one which equips every child with behaviors that set them up for life!
Find our more about these behaviors and how they can create a win win in everything you do as a tennis parent in Judy & Mike’s Parent Pack!