When a child shows interest in a sport, it’s easy for parents to get ideas of athletic stardom. Tennis, for example, is among the sports for kids that can be started at an early age and, if your child takes to it easily and naturally, it’s understandable for you to envision him winning Wimbledon. At the same time, in wanting the best for your kids, it’s also natural to want to introduce them to fun activities that could end up being their passion. If you’re wondering how young is too young for tennis, there’s no universal answer. Most of it depends on your individual child, and a lot depends on how much time you have to dedicate to his sports development.
You can look at tennis stars such as Andre Aggassi and Serena Williams to see that getting kids started young in tennis helps build an all-star athlete. Aggassi started playing tennis at 6 years, but Williams was practicing for two hours at a time when she was only three. If your three year old can wield a tennis racket and effectively hit a ball, there’s nothing wrong with getting him into a kids tennis club or other tennis-centered child sports activities. Even introducing him to the game via family sports participation is useful.
On the other hand, if he doesn’t show aptitude for or interest in the game before he’s eight, then it’s not too late to start him in lessons and tournaments at that age. According to KidSpot, the ideal age to start is around four years old. Give them a year or two before signing them up for competitions, and always consult with them to make sure competing in tennis tournaments is something they want to do.
Some tennis-enthusiastic parents believe that starting kids in sports should be done as soon as they can walk, and some believe in starting even before then. If you have aspirations for your child to be a professional athlete, another concern is how old is too old for tennis. The truth is that it’s never too late. Again, it’s all a matter of your individual child. The U.S. Tennis Association advises that even a child who starts as late as 13 can still become a title-winning tennis champ if he has the skills, the competitive drive and truly enjoys the game.
Without those elements, even a child who starts playing tennis at age two may not ever develop into a world tennis star. It may sound cliché, but if it’s meant to be, it will happen, no matter when he picks up the game. The biggest motivating factor is keeping it fun. If your child has fun playing tennis, he’ll want to put in the practice hours and sign up for the competitions that will get him to the top.