How To Be The Perfect Spectator

Children love to have their parents and siblings watch them play tennis—sometimes it makes them play even better! Being supportive is an important role for the parent and it starts with the journey to the court. Arrive in a calm manner with plenty of time to park, find your way around, register, check the facilities, the draw, the court and warm-up and be game ready. At this time we are aiming to destress.

There are many elements we cannot control like traffic, the draw, the court selected, the weather or the surrounding noise at the tournament site. Instead—we focus on what we can control—and don’t obsess and complain about the things out of our control. Deal with it! Reacting in an emotional way is not helpful and makes everyone emotional, creating extra unnecessary pressure and anxiety for the players. Parents need to compose themselves ensuring the conversations with children are positive and encouraging.

During the match the parents should be very aware of their body language—their child will tune in to their emotional state of mind simply by reading their body language from afar and knowing exactly what their parents are thinking. Crossed arms and legs are very obvious and common signs of being unhappy or disappointed—these signals definitely do not help the player overcome their own mental challenges on the court.

Remember—this is not about you! It’s all about your child playing their match.

Parents should sit or stand in a relaxed and comfortable position and remain calm and always encourage the player, especially when they make mistakes. They are doing their best. Mistakes will happen under pressure.

Parents should not lean on the fence, stand or sit too close on the court, or—so far away your child can’t see or hear your support. Positioning yourself 5 to 15 meters away from the court is ideal so your child can read your body language and facial expressions. If you are unable to control your emotions—then it is recommended you move away and regain your composure before you return to support your child who is doing their best.

Self-control is an important characteristic of successful people and something all parents and players need to learn to be successful under pressure.