The Importance of Group Lessons

and a sure fire way to kill your child's chances at a high performance tennis career.

By its nature, the sport of tennis is highly technical hence very difficult to learn. It takes at least 10 years of sustained and focused practice to get any good at playing tennis and keeping a child motivated week in and week out is not an easy task. To that end, parents of kids with high performance aspirations must find a coach with the right pedigree who runs a high performance junior program. It is only as part of such a group that a child can develop their game and find the motivation to keep practicing year after year. Should a parent decide to take their child out of a group setting and expose them to nothing but private instruction, they will ruin their child’s chances at becoming any good.

While it is glaringly obvious that most junior group practices are far from perfect – they provide your child with something they cannot get anywhere else – the joy and challenge of camaraderie and competition against their peers.

If you notice your child is lacking in proper stroke technique and is inconsistent or unable to generate and sustain pace as a result of their involvement in group practices then these are clear signs that they are not getting the proper instruction. This may mean that you might have to find another pro or another junior program or simply that you should supplement their group practice with individualized practice.

Despite the fact that I am a big proponent of getting parents involved into a child’s tennis development I want to make it perfectly clear that organized group lessons should make up the bulk of a child’s training regimen. While the flawed nature of group practice presents the circumspect parent with an opportunity to make a sizable impact in their child’s game, I can’t stress enough the fact that tennis is an individual sport best learned in a group setting.

Read more about the road to high performance, how I define it and what in my opinion it takes to get there.