For children, sport must be a game and they must have fun, but it is impossible to think without the presence of a competitive spirit: many experiences such as those lived by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray can form from a young age and fix in mind already goals.
The competitive spirit in children must be managed to learn concepts and values that transcend sports practice. Roger Federer was also a bad boy as a kid, but then the experience, age and help of the team improved his character.
Tennis can become a tool for learning some concepts and values that go far beyond sport. The Italian newspaper Repubblica, in collaboration with Endu, published an interesting article about the importance of educating children in competitive sport.
Here is an excerpt: "When it comes to children, sports and competition, dialogue often spreads involving not only father-mother but also coaches, referees, clubs, cheering. Frequently it is an excellent constructive moment, but sometimes it becomes a moment of delirium where the constructiveness and the primary objective (children) go into the background.
Mine is only a personal vision, even if supported by many years spent between team sports and individual sports (always at a competitive level). "The first thing I want to emphasize is that there is no sport without competition: the very concept of the sport is based on competition.
The sport was born as a regulated reduction of the battle, as a way to appease the hunger for war, limiting the damage. Have you ever watched a group of kids play? There is no game in which they do not compete (and sport for children MUST be a game and MUST have fun).
Do you really think it is possible to play sports without the winner receiving a tribute, of any size is it, for having outdone others or himself?
Why an individual sport like tennis
"Individual sports are actually much cruder than team sports because the excuses and accusers are very small and often the comparison is made with a cold stopwatch or with mathematical scores.
The other important thing is that children have a total ability to recognize a role. Children know very well who is the top, who is poor and who is mediocre. There are more well-behaved children for sedentary activities, some for study activities, some for sports.
"The children, know each other very well. The real damage is when adults want to put roles to their children that they do not have: that can generate in children strong complexes both of inferiority and of inability to reach goals that others have set: sport must be fun, the child who loses does not have fun, the child who does not accept does not have fun, the child who is not accepted does not have fun.
"Sometimes it takes a bit of coldness and transparency: forcing a child to a sport that does not fit him is bad for that child, just as it is necessary to transfer to children the importance of falling and then getting up again, the importance to set goals, the importance of having myths to emulate, as well as the ability to accept one's limits.
We must pass on to our children, that defeat in a game is a point of restart, reflection, growth. "Sometimes we must have the maturity to stay on the sidelines, look at our children and learn from them. Of course, let's help them have the best tools to make the best choices and find the best way, but let's let them make mistakes, lose and get up again.
And when they are standing we give them the medal of merit! And we accept, first of all, the defects and limitations of our children, just as we rejoice for their talents." These are important guidelines for all the children who in the future will want to emulate Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray.