What Age to Start Kids in Tennis?
A wonderful thing about tennis is that you can start at any age and enjoy yourself just as much as if you’d been playing forever. Kids who start at age 12 are just as likely to love tennis as those who start at age 6. Sports like football and hockey, for instance, aren’t the same. They are less enjoyable for older beginners because of a lack of accessibility. There just isn’t enough practice time available with other people of the same ability when a kid gets to that age. Tennis is different. 6 or 60, it doesn’t matter; you will always have just as much chance to play as you want, and you will never feel like you’re in over your head. Perhaps the greatest virtue of tennis, then, is it’s accessibility to all ages. All that being said, I know what a lot of people really want to know when they ask when they should start their kids in tennis. It’s not “when should my kid start so that she has a lifelong love for the sport?” Rather it’s, “How old should she be to start if she wants to be a professional player some day?” Well, that’s a tough one to answer.
I dislike answering that question because the inescapable truth can unnecessarily paint the student into a box. My preference is to work hard and see what happens, not quit before we start. The facts, though, are hard to ignore. Most players on the professional tour today started playing between 4 and 8 years old. But, lets think for a second about what that means. Does it mean they stepped onto a court at age 8 and began in earnest their training to go pro? Or, more likely, does it mean that they picked up a racquet and decided that they liked playing? The point here should be clear. It’s really not when you start playing that matters, it’s when you start coupled with how hard you work. A 10 year old who really wants to go pro and who works like crazy right from the start can catch up quickly to a kid who started at age 6 but who has been ambivalent. That’s the correct answer. There is a point at which it may be too late to think about becoming a pro, but it is later than the gross statistics may, on first glance, indicate.
Get Your Kid Started Early with Us!
We, at the Gonzo Tennis Academy, in Boulder, Colorado have classes for kids as young as 3! We also have beginner classes for adults and juniors of all ages. There is no age at which learning is any less rewarding than at any other age. Also, if you really want to be the best you can be, you should start following that path with all your enthusiasm and see what happens. Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself; do what you want to do and let the naysayers eat their words. If you have a kid who wants to play, get her on the court and watch her enjoy herself because, in the end, it’s how much you like something that generally determines your success in it (Agassi being a notable exception). One step at a time.