Exercise, sun, fresh air make for the perfect summer holiday. Planning your family trips around sports camps is a way for kids to meet new friends and you to get actual child-free time while on vacation. Simon Mason, Tennis Director at Tanglin Academy in Singapore, tells suitcases&strollers why tennis camps for kids are a good choice.
Why should parents enrol their kids in tennis camp versus other sports?
Tennis is fun enjoyable sport. It is a game that can suit people’s different personalities and can be enjoyed for a lifetime, not only giving you a physical workout but a mental workout at the same time. The sport provides great opportunities to travel and compete at the elite level as well as make life-long relationships at the recreational level.
If the kids already attend tennis lessons, how does tennis camp help?
Tennis is all about developing a stroke that repeats and is reliable under pressure. In well-run tennis camps your child will hit more balls in a week than what they might hit in a month of their typical tennis sessions. The repetition increases muscle memory and increases the learning curve greatly. The volume of hitting tennis balls and court time together with quality instruction gives your child a massive boost compared to a child that attends the typical one hour a week. There is no comparison.
What about kids who have never played tennis before? Can they still join a tennis camp?
A well structured camp will always make sure that your child is placed in a suitable class with the right coach for your child to have enjoyable learning experience, whilst maximising their potential.
Total beginners thrive in tennis camps with coaches that are fun and motivating at the same time.
Beginner players learn the basics in a fun, game-based situation that will leave them keen to improve on their strokes and play more. Tennis camps provide an accelerated learning experience for all beginners through the sheer volume of court time hitting balls.
[For more ideas on how to introduce tennis to kids, see the suitcases&strollers story Australian Open Tennis With Kids.]
What is the optimal age to start kids in tennis camp?
Kids are commencing tennis younger and younger these days. Every child is different and the main factor is the level of concentration [the individual child can sustain]. Typically 5 years old is the ideal age for campers, although physically and mentally it can still be a challenge for some kids. I am sure they sleep well once they get home!
How much time should one budget for a tennis camp?
Camps are usually five days long at a minimum and at the end of those five days you can see a huge improvement not only in tennis skills, but confidence and coordination as well. The more time the kids spend on court, the faster the skills improve. A two-week programme will provide accelerated learning and improvement.
Which are your top recommendations for tennis camps for kids?
IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis Program has a proven track record of producing young stars. It is located in Florida, USA and has a spa and leisure centre available – ideal for you while the kids hit thousands of balls (or in the evenings if you are enrolling in a camp yourself). Lodging [with full kitchen facilities] can also be provided and there is an onsite restaurant in the main clubhouse.
The John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas, USA is also a popular camp for kids and adult tennis players. The ranch has 31 courts and very cosy feel with a lot of Australian hospitality as well as plenty of memorabilia from Newk’s playing days.
What are the top 3 things parents should look out for in a tennis camp?
Location and venue are important. If you are leaving your children in the care of the coaches you need to know they well be safe and supervised at all times.
The camp programme. Quality coaching must be provided with a clear progressive structure in place to maximise and accelerate your child’s improvement cycle.
The camp coaches. Coaching staff that care and offer balanced coaching providing not only technical correction but also offers the opportunity to learn skills in different, competitive, game-based scenarios.
To read the suitcases&strollers interview with former world tennis number one and US Open champ Pat Rafter, click here.