© Ella Ling


How to tell if your child needs a new hitting-partner


How to tell if your child needs a new hitting-partner. 

Here are 15 signs your child needs to display before looking for new hitting partners. A unique aspect of training for tennis is that everyone wants to ‘hit up’ (i.e. hit with someone better than themselves). This desire to want to hit with a better partner can cause some angst between the parent of a young player and the coach. As a parent wanting the best for your child, it is easy to feel frustrated with a coach when you perceive your child should be hitting with better players and the coach disagrees. 

Below is a list of criteria of actions your child should display before approaching the coach. Remember, the coach may be waiting for your child to prove that they are ready for the next step. 

1)  Your child provides the intensity to every training session; the other players just try to keep up.
  2)  Your child has their ankle braces fastened, shoe laces tied, water bottle filled, snacks prepared, racquets restrung and gripped, towel unpacked and are ready to play before each session.
3)  Your child beats the other players at least 6-2 in every set they play.
  4)  Your child initiates their own warm-up before the start of every session. 
5)  The other players cause the rally to fail more than 66% of the time.
  6)  Your child asks other players for some extra hitting after every session.
7)  Your child sources better players to hit against, on their own.
  8)  The other players look exhausted at the end of every session; your child is either chatting excitedly or feeling frustrated. 
9)  Your child won every game the coach set up.
  10)  Your child is the first one ready for every drill and game the coaches implement.
11)  The other players did not get two thirds of the score your child achieved in every game the coach set up.
  12)  Your child asks the coach for extra hitting every time. 
13)  Regardless of whom they are hitting with, your child knows, and is focused on, their own goals and priorities.
  14)  Your child is like a stuck record, repeating the words ‘one more’ after each drill, session and game. 
15)  While the other players lose focus during the cool down, your child completes their cool down as per instruction.

If your child is consistently out-playing, out-enthusing and is physically out-doing and out-lasting the other players in the group, as well as meeting all the criteria listed above then have a chat to the coach. 

I am sure they will be thinking the same thing. 

Happy hitting!

Grant Jenkins is the Physical Performance Coach at the National Academy in Queensland, Australia. He oversees the physical development and rehabilitation of all the NAQ athletes. He also manages the Sport Science aspect of the program. Follow him on twitter @Grant_Jenkins or email gjenkins@tennis.com.au