5 rules for developing 10s & 12s players

After working with many junior players in their development years (7 to 12 years) through our regular coaching programs, we have found that there is one certainty; no individual players’ development or pathway will ever be the same.

But one thing is for sure, is that Rome was not built in a day, and the journey is long with plenty of speed bumps. Long term it is very important to stay the course based on your (the player, the coach & the parent) plan, not based on results. Many label results of a junior player as either good or bad, but the result is irrelevant. The key is the learning taken from the result and the player’s ability to develop a competitive mindset, irrespective of the score.

5 rules for developing a sports kid under 12 years

One of the biggest mistakes made in developing an elite junior tennis player is that the fundamental development years (8-12 years) are rushed the minute a player gets a result or two.

In these times, parents (and tennis coaches) can get carried away with their child/player winning. It seems that patience and ego takes over the actual plan.

Remember for junior tennis players under 12, they should:

  1. Stay the course, follow the long term development plan. If you don’t have one, then find a tennis coach who does.
  2. Focus on developing the athlete. They should be spending at least 40%-50% on other athletic skills and games.
  3. Compete, but the goal must be focused on working on the game (technique, tactics, mindset), not results. Help the player complete with high levels of consistency.
  4. Periodise your tournaments and competition play
  5. The best monitor of progression is what I like to call the ‘fun-o-meter’. Keep developing technique skills, as well as their athletic development for progress – and not a tennis ranking sheet.

Vida Tennis