Adam Wharf on Short-term vs Long-term Goals in Tennis
Adam Wharf, i2c’s Head of Performance, discusses player’s long-term goals and what to consider to help you make good decisions.
An interview with Adam Wharf, i2c’s Head of Performance, to discuss player’s long-term goals and what to consider to help you make good decisions. In this context, Adam helps to explain how much tennis is a good amount for kids to play and what they should focus on and why, to help them achieve their potential in the longer term.
Questions we ask Adam include:
- Is tennis an early specialisation sport?
- What are your recommendations for how much tennis should be played at different ages?
- Where does competition fit into the view of how much tennis should be played at different ages?
- How do things change for the 13-18 age group?
- People often say that tennis is expensive, is all the money that people spend on tennis worth it?
- What can other sports give to children and why are they important?
- Do you think that your journey as a player and as an individual has shaped your thoughts on coaching?
- What is meant by the phrase, “tennis is a game for life”?
- Being a professional tennis player is difficult. Can you shed some light on why?
- At what age would you begin to discuss long term goals with players and parents?
Key take-aways for coaches
- Tennis is an early INTRODUCTION sport, but not an early specialisation sport.
- The most common recommendation is that if you are aged 8-12 then for 8 hours of activity/week, a maximum of half should be tennis.
- In the early years (8-12 years old), 1-2 tournaments per month is fine.
- Specialisation may occur during the ages 13-18 because this is where decisions will be made in terms of the increase of a programme if children are showing promise. It’s post puberty, so you’ve got to have an understanding of where the child is at on the physical scale. Each child is different, but on the whole, at this age children have a greater physical capacity to take on the needs of a specialised sport.
- Tennis is expensive, as indeed, are all sports at an elite level are expensive – but it depends where the money is coming from. In tennis, parents are the ones paying. In football, clubs often have money to support players. On the flip side, tennis delivers a lot – for example, scholarships to private schools. So, it’s worth it if you have a long-term view of where tennis can take you. If you have a short-term view, you could spend a lot of money without a lot to show for it.
- Other sports, for example team sports, can be very useful in developing agility, quick decision making, ability to move. The skills needed in tennis can be learned quicker if you’ve stayed fitter and learned skills in other sports. Additionally, the physicality developed by playing multiple sports can help with injury prevention.
- Tennis is an amazing sport for the longevity of the players who are still active in it. Tennis and probably even golf are amongst the only sports with an uptake of players as they get older.
- It’s good for children to discuss their goals as early as possible. It’s very important that parents are in the room at the same time. Things can change fast so long term goals are harder to have. Adam is more of a fan of regular conversations.
- The sooner you can get children involved in determining their own goals, the better.
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