What are some tips for coaching my child in singles? | AskThePro

This week’s question comes from a parent of a junior player.  “Thank you very much for sharing your doubles strategies.  What are some tips for coaching my child in singles?”

As a parent of a junior player, you may be wondering how to improve both your and your child’s singles play. Singles play requires a different set of skills and strategies to doubles play. Here are some practical tips to help your child improve their singles game:

  1. Focus on the serve: A strong serve is critical in singles and can give your child a big advantage from the outset. Encourage your child to practice their serve regularly, and vary the placement, speed, and spin of their serves to keep their opponent guessing.

  2. Play to your child’s strengths: Help your child identify their strengths and weaknesses, and encourage them to play to their strengths. For example, if your child has a strong forehand, encourage them to run around the ball to use it to dictate play. I call this the “Nadal Variation.”

  3. Stay aggressive: In singles play, it’s important to stay aggressive without being overly aggressive and to take control of the match. Encourage your child to hit their shots with pace and depth to keep their opponent on the defensive and look for opportunities to move forward and finish points at the net.

  4. Be patient: While staying aggressive, it’s important to be patient and wait for the right opportunities to attack. Encourage your child not to try to hit winners on every shot, but to play long rallies as/when required and force their opponent to make a mistake.  To win the point, you have get into the point first!

  5. Stay focused: Tennis is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, so it’s important to stay mentally focused and composed throughout the match. Encourage your child to stay positive and focused on the present moment and not to get too caught up in mistakes, talking to their opponent, or bad calls.

  6. Adapt to your opponent: Encourage your child to see what’s happening with their opponent on the other side of the net and adapt their game to their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. If their opponent has a weak backhand, they can target that side of the court more often. If their opponent is a good net player, they can keep them back at the baseline with deep shots and lobs.

  7. Be prepared to change your game: In some cases, your child’s game may not match up well against their opponent’s game. They may be overpowered. Encourage them to have a “Plan B” that may involve coming to the net to volley more often; hitting high, slow balls, or slow short balls to bring the opponent to the net, particularly if the opponent has an extreme Western grip. “Plan B” is never having to make the old chestnut excuses: ” I lost because I played badly” or “the other guy cheated”!�

Remember, the real secret of the game is the player who hits the ball over the net and into the court the last time, wins the point! �

With these strategies, your child will be well on their way to becoming a well-rounded tennis player who can play both singles and doubles at a high level, giving them a priceless gift of lifelong enjoyment and potential life long social connections through tennis.

Good luck!
Rob  Tennis Whisperer

Ps: Questions always welcome.