6 keys on 'How to be a tennis parent' from Lynette Federer

Taken and adapted from a facebook post from South African tennis coach Frans Cronje.  Exclusive tips on how to be a tennis parent.

1.  It's important that the child enjoys the game and isn't forced into it

"I believe a child choses tennis because he or she is attracted and fascinated by the sport, and that could be through the parents, friends or family"

2.  Discipline is part of the game

"If a child wants to play tennis, then it means he or she has to go to practice and play matches and to behave properly at practice and during matches.  This is not always easy task as emotions play a big role, influencing behaviour and results.  If your child isn't behaving properly, I would not intervene during practice, but discuss it with the coach (afterwards)..In Roger's case, when his behaviour was poor during a match, I told him he was inviting or asking his opponent to beat him."

3.  Parents should go with the flow and not be too ambitious for their child

"The progress of a child can differ in the same age group - due to size, maturity and other factors - thus some children are inclined to progress faster than others in the beginning of their junior career and will later be surpassed by those who were weaker at an earlier age.  I believe parents should not be too ambitious for their child. Our role as a parent of a junior is to ensure they attend their practice, accompany them to their matches, motivate and comfort the child when necessary and most importantly of all, to ensure that the child enjoys the game, and not to put pressure on the child in any way."

4.  A child can start playing tennis from the age of three or four in playful manner

"Roger started at that age of three because my husband and I spent weekends at the tennis club and he just picked up the racket and loved playing against the wall, at home against the cupboard.  He could play for hours by himself. Later he played with friends on the road with a mini-tennis net and a soft ball"

5.  A parent plays a very important role

"Without the support and guidance of a parent it will be difficult for a junior to succeed.  

6.  These are the worst mistakes you can make as a tennis parent

"To force the child to play and to intervene too much"

Episode 8 of the Curious Cows podcast with Simon Wheatley, Coach Education and Player Development Consultant


I'd be delighted if you are able to spend half an hour or so of your precious time listening to Episode 8 of the Curious Cows podcast with Simon Wheatley, Coach Education and Player Development Consultant.  Simon is the archetypal 'Curious Cow' constantly challenging herd wisdom in all he does.  Here we have a wide ranging discussion on the tennis (and particularly coaching) industry and with so much on the agenda we did it in two parts.

Here is part 1 (you can also find it on your favourite podcast app - google, apple, spotify)

Thank you so much,


What's in our control?

We often talk about 'control the controllables' right?

So what can we control?  Here's 10 for starters:

1.  Stand up straight with your shoulders back (open yourself up to the world)

2.  Keep showing up

3.  Judge less, encourage more

4.  Empty the tank (give 100% of what you've got on the day)

5.  Stick to your principles

6.  Keep listening and learning 

7.  Park the ego 

8.  Smile more

9.  Catch your self-talk (notice the language and change the tone)

10.  Run for every darn ball

Talking less about the winning

I follow 'The Daily Stoic - ancient wisdom for everyday life'.

Very much recommend it.

Lifted directly from yesterday's post:

'It's a strange paradox.  The people who are most successful in life, who accomplish the most, who dominate their professions don't care that much about winning.  Certainly they talk about it less.

How could that be?

It's that they are after something higher than that.  Their goal is to "be best".  Not the best, but best.  They're after mastery - self-mastery.  They're after maximising their potential.

Winning is like being rich.  It's nice, but it's not something in your control, day to day.  What is in your control is showing up, giving maximum effort, following your training, sticking to your principles, pursuing your calling.  It that translates to on the field success, great - in fact it almost always does.  If that translates into career recognition, awesome - and again, it usually does.  But sometimes so does the opposite of those things.

So that's why we, as Stoics, hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We measure ourselves with an internal scorecard.  Trusting in that, we know the rest will take care of itself.'

The difficulty in 'climbing'

Reaching a personal summit involves a climb.  

As does achieving any goal.

A goal wouldn't be a goal if it wasn't a genuine stretch and not just the logical next step.

So you gotta get your thermos, boots, ropes, harness, carabiners and start.

And tip number 1 is....

Stop looking at everyone else....the climb itself is tough enough.

Overcoming fear

One of our biggest fears is that of the 'unknown'.

But weirdly, that's why we compete.  Because we don't know the outcome.  

That's the attraction.

The buzz.

The nerves.

The feeling in the pit of the stomach.

The heavy legs.

The risk of 'loss'.

The fear of losing.

THIS 'fear' we have to embrace.

And how do we do this?

Well looking back to yesterday's post, let's start with 'standing up straight with your shoulders back!'

As Jordan Peterson says,'to stand up straight with your shoulders back is to open yourself up to the world.  You're not in a defensive crouch of a prey animal....but in a 'bring it on manner', not precisely combative, but let's say courageous. And your posture announces that.  It doesn't just announce that to other people, it announces that to yourself, and it can be one of those things that can start a virtuous cycle occurring.'

Just so happens of course that courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it.

The first few lines of 'everyball' read:

'We are committed to fight for everyball, to run down everyball, and to play everyball with courageous purpose.'

May today be filled with courageous purpose for you.

Some thoughts on 'winning'

You play the game to win. 

Yes, that's the objective of most games.

But how we 'play to win' becomes so very important.

So while you play, play in a way so that you get better at playing the game.

You want to push yourself because that's how you get better, so you need 'competition' to push yourself.

You need the risk of loss.

But here's an even better way of thinking about it....you play the game so you don't only get better at the game, but that you get better at the entire set of games (life).

And that's what you do when you are a 'good sport'.

You want to be pushed so that you will make the effort necessary to remove what's useless about yourself and to help foster the growth of what's useful.

And if you do that, then you get the joy of participating in the game towards victory, but the extra joy of building yourself more and more strongly at the same time.

Life is not a game.  It's a series of games, a series of diverse games.


Play nobly.

Pay attention to your team-mates.

Respect your opponent(s)..

Pass the damn puck (ice-hockey) so they get a chance to score.  

Even if you are the best player on the team, help your team-mates develop.

Don't grandstand.

If you have the opportunity to beat your opponent 20 to 1 in goals, maybe after you are up 7-1, back off a bit.

You don't have to humiliate your opponent.

(From Jordan Peterson - Rule number 1 ' Stand up straight with your shoulders back')


Wanting the 'outcome' but not prepared to be part of the 'process'

I think I picked this up from a recent Judy Murray post somewhere on social media.

The idea that we might be wanting the outcome but not being prepared to be part of the process.

I love the idea of being able to play the guitar - an outcome.  

So I tried it.


I was horrible. My sausage fingers got in the way.  It was hard.

So I quit.  I was not prepared to stick at the process.  Even for a second session!  I clearly didn't want it 'that' badly.

So how badly do you want it?

Whatever your 'outcome goal' is?

Are you prepared to hit that basket of serves 3 times a week, off you own back, when the wind is blowing a gale it and it's crappy out?

That extra run, session in the gym, skipping rope, warm-up/cool down with quality? 

Eat well. Rest well?

Are you prepared to sacrifice?

Have you got the P.R.I.D.E?

The Personal





And if you don't know what it takes, that's the job of the coach, the parent, the teacher - to show the way, to articulate the journey, to create the buy-in.

But ultimately, it's water and horses.

Episode 7 of the Curious Cows Podcast with Matt Rogan author of 'All To Play For - How Sport Can Reboot our Future'

So pleased to speak with Matt Rogan on episode 7 of the Curious Cows podcast. Matt and I have a wide ranging conversation about sport & the business of sport in which he shares his extensive experience. We also talk about his newly launched book 'All To Play For - How Sport Can Reboot our Future' which already has had fantastic reviews and I very much recommend it goes to the top of your reading list in this amazing summer of sport!

If you are involved in sport at any level, be that as a parent supporting your child, a coach, an athlete/player, or involved in sports governance and administration whether in a professional or volunteer capacity or even finally just an armchair supporter this is a MUST read!

You can download the podcast on all your normal outlets including Apple & Spotify or on the link here: