Watching the kids out with their parents on a Sunday afternoon hitting tennis balls back and forth is a wonderful sight. It’s an ideal way to grow the game of tennis, and hopefully one day in the future, those kids will have kids of their own and teach them the game of tennis, just like their parents taught them. Once those kids graduate into junior tennis, though, watch out.
We’ve all heard the phrase “pick on someone your own size”. It’s generally meant to stop big kids from taking advantage of small kids since size and weight can give an unfair advantage. Now turn the tables to tennis where an adult is taking on a junior tennis player. You’d think the adult has every advantage, but in fact, each has their own strengths.
When its adults versus kids on the tennis court, adults seem to have size on their side, but then again, moving a larger body (at an older age) is more effort. Kids are smaller and quicker, and most importantly, they seem to have boundless amounts of energy to run and run and run. The adult will be challenge to keep up physically, so must rely on experience and court smarts to teach the kid a lesson.
Never underestimate the shots coming from a young junior player. Those kids are fearless. Your power might not work. They’re all used to hitting topspin these days, so that’s not going to help either. You can’t pound it at them at net because they’ll just block it back. And running them side to side is pointless since that’s what they drill on for hours every day.
Adults can get a huge dose of reality by participating in a junior clinic for a couple hours. As you find yourself out of breath after the first hour of running, and your shots start going long due to poor footwork because you’re tired, now imagine doing it every day, all day long. Only those adults in top shape can keep up, but for the kids, it's their normal routine.
Juniors love to hit with adults because that’s how they improve. Adults beware, though, those juniors are tougher than they look.