Whether you’ve just won your very first point in an after-school tennis class, or are considered one of the best tennis players of all-time, it’s important to stay humble. How a player handles winning and losing says a lot about them as a person.
“Make Sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.” – Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles
At TGA, we feel it’s important to teach these life lessons from the beginning. Many of them can also be carried on in different walks of life outside sports. Tennis matches start and end with a handshake between the players, so that’s how each and every one of our after-school enrichment programs and days at camp begin.
There are plenty of opportunities to teach the importance of etiquette throughout class. Before games, we stress the importance of boundaries at swing stations; honesty is always a major priority during competitions; and after games everyone helps pick up tennis balls. These, along with many others, give kids a solid foundation to learn from.
It’s also not until the players reach a higher level of tennis that matches are officiated by umpires and judges. It’s important to know the rules and scoring that way everyone can play the game the right way. This includes calling balls in or out honestly and announcing the score before each point so there’s no confusion. We introduce and reinforce rules through a variety of methods:
Even though sports are often games filled with passion and intensity, it’s still important to display good sportsmanship. That doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate success, it just means we make sure it’s in a respectful manner that’s not showing up your opponent.
Plenty of accomplished tennis players still celebrate immediately after victory. It shows how much hard work and dedication they’ve put into being successful. But afterwards, it’s important to acknowledge that the player on the other side of the net tried their hardest as well.
“There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been happy to share this trophy with Rafa tonight.” – Roger Federer after defeating Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final
Learn more about rules and etiquette, along with other tennis skills at a TGA program near you!