Hi all.  This is a very interesting question about the importance of winning and it extends further into the relevance and purpose of competition at a young age.

Very young players are very much learning the game and in fact learning to play the game in a way that their coach wants them to.  What I mean is that if a coach is teaching hitting for depth then the coach would like to see this within matchplay at the expense of winning, right?  This past week my focus in training (mini red) has been using the forehand as a weapon in particular the run around or inside out forehand.  To my great pleasure my players tried to do this in their matches but with varying degrees of success sometimes resulting in losing.  Is this bad?

Interestingly there was a match where a highly skilled technical player came up against a much lesser player technically but got the ball back (due to the slower pace of mini red) in weird and wonderful ways.  Due to the size and strength of the age group there was few winners hit and more points were won by “fluking” the ball just over the net.  This is seen a lot at both red and orange mini tennis.

Now the question is….who is the better player with the better foundations and potential?  I would say it is still difficult to say as who knows what will happen to both players over the next few years but..an obvious answer is that the more technically developed will have greater success down the road.

I can see the point of competition from a learning the game and finding your game style perspective and in fact learning to compete and wanting to win etc.  What I am not quite understanding yet is the importance of the result?  Competition should be about winning and trying to win at least but in the big scheme of things what does the result matter?  Which leads me on to the final question….if it does not matter at red/orange or even green at what age does it matter?  Are the best players the ones that win a lot at a young age or not?

My thoughts have hit a wall so please if you have an opinion on this get in touch either by comment or email!



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  1. admin, December 15, 2010:

    Good question regarding does winning matter at mini red, and you have already answered some valid points yourself. One thing I would like to add is that children at that age look at things subjectively and not objectively. So whats important to children is how their parents react, body language and general feedback. They don’t look at the match objectively, half of them don’t even understand the scoring system so it means very little to them. How their parents react is most important, unfortunately parents get sucked into the result and this is where the damage is done. Children will pick up very quickly if their parents are stressed and agitated, and the knock on effect is the child becomes stressed and agitated when playing. Whats important in competition is the following three things, is the child trying hard physically and cognitively, making friends and learning about the game within a competition (respect for opponents and umpires, keeping the score and picking up the rules)? If these three things are promoted then you are on the correct path, and WINNING SHOULD BE THE LAST THING ON ANY BODYS MIND AT MINI RED!

    PCA Coach

  2. glashüttefdf|, December 17, 2010:

    You are not similar to the expert

  3. admin, December 18, 2010:

    Hi, can you explain what you mean? thanks in advance (mike)

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