My shoe size is a 6, should I wear a 7?
Interesting question… is bigger better, is the next level better? We have all experienced the pain of wearing a shoe that is too small – too tight, pinches the toes, leaves blisters on the heal. Eventually, we stop using that shoe.
Same in tennis, if a 7.5 year old is kept in red stage without progression, the child’s growth will be delayed, become less motivated and engaged, act out to get attention, eventually they stop playing.
What above oversized shoes? They may feel more comfortable, they may be the only size in the style you want, all you friends are this size. So, is there an issue with oversized shoes? Unfortunately, any ill-fitting shoes are bad for your feet, and finding the right pair of shoes is paramount for prevent foot problems.
Wearing shoes that are too big, can result in:
- Corns and calluses: causes by excessive pressure on the toes.
- Metatarsalgia: Caused by too much pressure on the balls of your feet.
- Disrupted natural stride: Your toenails bump against the front of the shoe you walk in, causing damage.
- Higher accident risk: feet sliding around in the big shoes makes you more prone to falls – especially stairs.
Of course, we won’t buy our children shoes that are too big.
Same in tennis, is a 5 or 6 year old is pushed up and forced to play in Orange stage, with orange balls, this can result in:
- Joint injuries as the balls are too hard, and bounces above a child’s head.
- A 21” racquet is not able to hit an orange ball, so the child must use a 23” racquet. A bigger racquet causes excessive strain on a child arm.
- Socially a 5 yr. old is not at the same social development level as a 7/8 year old, hence cannot feel included.
- Cognitively a 5 yr. old is not at the same cognitive stage as a 7/8 year old, hence able to comprehend learning outcomes.
- Lack of development as the child is reacting to a fast ball, but not able to learn technique.
- Child drops out, or child battles on, for parents to spend so much money later on to fix the technique that wasn’t developed correctly all by pushing a child up.
Is it race to play orange, green, yellow? NO.
No one remembers who was top in the state of country in the under 6’s, under 8’s, under 10’s, under 12’s or even under 14’s. So why race to use a particular ball colour?
Does a child care? We see countless images of children overseas in poverty-stricken countries playing soccer with an empty plastic drink container. Kids just want to play. I have a red ball, which is yellow colour. It is still the same properties of a red ball (large diameter, 25% compression) but yellow colour. So, does that make the kids yellow players because I changed the colour of the ball? My yellow ball, which is a red ball, my Red Stage children refer to as the beach ball! (Due to being yellow, aka sand on the beach.)
Do we want children who can compete against others of their age in a competition match, who feel confident they can serve, rally, and tactically play points out? Or children who can hit X colour ball, as hard as they can, irrespective of the tennis court boundaries, or rules, unable to rally and play socially or competitively? Isn’t the later the same as spending a year learning a language, no one will ever use?
Modified equipment gives kids the opportunity to play an adult version of the game in an environment that suits them. Red, orange, and green low compression balls, smaller courts and shorter, lighter racquets allow kids to hit the same tempo as the pros, move around the court in the same way, and execute the same tactics.
Take a moment and watch this YouTube video:
So, how can I help my child improve?
- Allow them to play. Children need to develop all areas of athletic ability, playing multiple sports enables children to develop co-ordination, balance, strength, power, speed, etc. Focusing on one sport from a young age limits growth.
- Allow children to have free play time. Provide regular weekly non organized sports / activity play. Kick a ball as a family, throw a frisbee, run with your pets.
- Allow children to play themselves. No child wants their parent glued to the back fence placing so much pressure on their every shot, and every move. Take a step back, engage with other parents watching their kids, swap numbers, and organize a social hit between kids and parents.
- Nurture your child. Children will not master skills instantly, every time will develop at their own speed. Remember no one remembers who was number 1 in the country in the under 10’s. Support your child, so your child is comfortable, being uncomfortable. Making mistakes, learning, building confidence, so they feel safe and encouraged to try, fail, try again.
- Have a growth mindset, use every opportunity in daily life to explore problem solving, and analyse situations. For example: You may come across a bird’s nest this time of year, open discussion with your child, what the bird will need to gather to build its nest and why? How the bird will keep warm, what dangers it might need to navigate (predators). This act provides the opportunity for a child’s mind to develop analysis skills, problems solving – which is exactly what we expect them to do when playing a match.
- “If you are going to dream it, dream it big.” – Vicky. Encourage your child to dream big, there is no barrier or limit on a child’s potential, so encourage them to dream big, and simply go for it.
Barriers / Limitations of Families today:
- We are working parents and have limited time, and no family here? My brother and I use to play mini bat tennis in our garage to all hours of the night. Make a modified tennis area in your house for example:
- In a garage using foam balls.
- Inside using balloons / foam balls and hands for racquets.
- Up the driveway.
- A net can be made by anything = a piece of rope / a broom stick.
- I am struggling financially with rising costs?
- No everything costs money, there is lots of free open spaces in Manningham and truly the easiest way is a foam ball on any oval. A foam balls bounces perfectly on grass. Plus, kids will love diving for the ball!
- There is also lots of hit up walls in Manningham, where you can practising hitting up against the wall.
The children are our future:
Your children are our future, I take my role as a coach very seriously as we are writing on the slate of who they are. We want to develop children who are:
- Physically co-ordinated to play ANY sport they choose their WHOLE life.
- Critical thinkers, who can analyse ANY situation, and make decisions.
- Emotionally Intelligent, who can read the body language of others, and change their actions, to help all excel.
- Confident, to try ANYTHING knowing sometimes they will fail, they will lose, but the sun rises again the next day.
- Resilient, when life throws us challenges aka curve balls, we stand up, walk the walk, and simply do what we have to do, to get through.
- Socially equipped, to engage with ANYONE, build relationships, friendships, and work towards a common goal.
- Compassionate, others in life may be having a hard time, in life we want to support a fellow human, because ultimately we are all just human beings.
- Legends in their own right, every child is unique and has awesome qualities, we want these qualities to shine.