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Parents who interfere with kid's tennis matches - code of ethics & etiquette applies 2 you too!

As a tennis coach & a parent myself with an 8 year old just starting to play tennis tournaments, I have a beef about why kid's have better sportsmanship & better court etiquette than their own parents, when it comes to sports & competition.


Constant badgering, pressure, challenges, interference by parents only harms a kid's performance in a match. Kid's have to learn to fight their own battles, learn how to respect themselves & their opponents, how to make an honest line call, when to give the benefit of doubt to their opponents. Sportsmanship & court etiquette is the first thing a true tennis player should learn & so should parents.


Children learn best when they are free to make their own mistakes & learn from their own mistakes, especially when you have brought them to tournament or match play level's.

Sure, parents have a big hand in guiding their kid's but when it's time to play, leave them be & let them enjoy their game & let them fight their own battles.


When it's showtime, code of ethics, sportsmanship & etiquette apply to one & all, on the court & off the court!

Here at we teach this to be the 1st rule of thumb!


What say you?

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parents are hard to manage. You really have to have good crews at the local junior tournament to manage that. We had to ban parents from our site after warning them so they get the message...
I agree, sometimes sadly it get's to that point. I thought at the higher levels ZAT parent's had enough experience or the code had rubbed off some, but this past weekend we witnessed the worst.  Will be updating & posting blog soon!  I can't shake it off my mind & my poor 9 yr. old witnessed & was sympathetic to the teenager who was completely being bashed mentally by his father after losing a match. My son said "Mom aren't you going to say something to that dad?"

Very true and sorry for the outdated reply!  Sadly in the junior's they have one umpire for one site for the whole tournament most times and the poor guys are working hard believe me. Just last month at a Champ div tournament a dad was cursing at this kid and just pacing up and down and he got two warnings.  Fortunately for me, my son had already been through all this last year so I was able to coach him with how to cope and he did brilliant and I was so proud of him.  He had a poker face and was breathing between points, playing with his strings and won in a tight 3rd set tie breaker. I had told him, unless the parent's badgering his own son hinders your mental game or interferes with your playing just keep doing what you do best, stay calm.  Usually, the parent that is yelling at their kid and coaching their kid doesn't realize the kid now is under too much pressure so instead of being beneficial it becomes detrimental, so it does more harm to their own kid than good. Bad for the kid but good for the opponent because they can use this to their advantage silently. If it hinders call the umpire, the player has the power and right to do so.  I don't even bother I let my son decide for himself, is it hindering your game or is it to your advantage, think about it first and make the decision kids.  I really do feel bad for the kids, some parents are just outrageously rude and mean to their kids.  My question to them always is: Have you played tournaments? Do you have a coaching background? Do you know how much nerves goes into each point? Its easy to sit back and say you should have hit that there or came in to volley but you are not there in person to feel what they feel right?  Some parents need more managing by officials than kids too bottom line!

I'm so glad you are out there teaching the kids good etiquitte.  This is a constant uphill battle.  Do you find that most kids are honest with the line calls.  Thinking back, I don't remember ever doubting the line calls and now it sounds so foolish.
Thank you Mr. Mayor & Happy New Year! Good etiquitte has to be taught at an early age, not just by coach's but also by parents.  It goes hand in hand, on & off the court.  Most kid's I am finding in the CATA & now the ZAT tournaments the kid's seem to have learned well & pretty honest with the line calls.  You will always find the now & then exceptional cases where it may be intentional rather than accidental mistake.  Teaching children from very young that being honest about their scores & line calls is important. At the same time teaching them that accidental mistakes do happen but if you correct yourself immediately it's much appreciated by your opponent. Also challenging line calls is important if you have someone who either just can't keep score or intentionally does wrong. Once you empower them to challenge the opponent get's the point not to mess around.  I think it's important to teach everyone humility, honesty & also to play with confidence so no one messes with you.  You are right, good etiquitte can be a constant uphill battle if it is not fostered & groomed from a very young age.

Sorry Mr. Mayor, been a while.  Back on track now :)  I think at the Champ and Super Champ junior tennis levels by this point most kids have learned proper etiquette I'm noticing.  Some line calls happen on both sides of the aisle unintentionally because every kid and even adult misjudges close call lines as they can only do the best, so it all balances out evenly.  In very rare cases I have seen a few cases where a child either is coached to make wrong calls or to mess up the opponent and its deliberate sadly it happens. A few bad bad parents interfering also happens.  The best thing you can do is teach your child or student that this will happen and arm them with coping skills as well as to hit winners not close to the lines but a foot inside so they don't get a chance to do so.  Also teach them to let it go and not hinder your next shot even if it happens, deep breath, playing with your racquet strings and moving forward. Cheater may win some tournaments but in the end they don't get very far, don't let it hinder your own game because that is their tactic.  You just have to be able to coach them and guide them youngsters and give them the coping skills and in the long run they come out to be the strongest players mentally because of good sportsmanship.  Doesn't mean don't give them a voice to standup for themselves and challenge for a good reason though. You have to arm them with both, when to challenge and when not to and keep a strong head :) Children are amazing with good guidance they thrive and reach new heights every day!

Unfortunately, I've seen this behavior go far too extreme with a particular father and his daughter. It was very ugly behavior and I do not want to talk about the specifics. It even went to the point where I myself was threatened to keep it quiet by other so called tennis pros who were after the money.

But it gave me a similar insight as you have written. I've thought overly competitive parents must follow and agree to a code themselves and should not be allowed to badger the coach and student with endless threats to pull the monetary plug or to verbalize unfair criticisms without bound. I've also thought to hand the parent the racquet and challenge them to hit as well as their child.  

Oh, this one's good what you've written "I've also thought to hand the parent the racquet & challenge them to hit as well as their child."

or even ask the parent have you ever even played the game to know how it feels when you are out there controlling the ball as well as keeping your emotions in check?

There is such a thing as constructive criticism that players always benefit from but I agree on the pointless verbalization & mental degredation parent's can put their children through, which I cannot stand for.  This past weekend we experienced one of the worst.  Will have to post & update.  I am with you.

Parents can always tell the coach to butt out, and there's little the coach can do, except rescind his/her services in response. That is why I would have the parents sign an agreement beforehand as to their behavior on the court.
tennis is supposed to be fun. Parents should go buy a tennis racquet and play on their own!

I do disagree with how tennis is in Thailand--tournaments start with 8 and under... BUT they don't select the National  team until 14 so there's time. 


BUT since labor is so cheap here, every match has a ball kid to fetch balls for the little ones and an umpire--so the tournaments are pretty regulated.   and in Thailand, it's very asian in that emotional outbursts are seriously frowned upon. 


in the US, I think more parents and refs around would help...but sometimes the parent might be the problem :D

How does the National team look? Able to compete on the world stage?


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