Time: 15 min – 1 hr
Cost: Cost of equipment ($10 – $50)
Age: 3 – 80
Let’s say you don’t have a super athletic daughter or you yourself are not coordinated in any way. Tennis is a good entry for you then. All you need are two rackets and a little fuzzy ball. Dependent on age, you might only need one racket, as you’ll very likely be pitching to her. And by pitch, hopefully you understand you’ll be bouncing the ball her way. The nice part about tennis is that when they’re little, it can just be about teaching them to make contact with the ball. When they get older, it can turn in to a real tennis match.
There should be some tennis courts you can use in your local community. A majority of them are maintained by the public works departments or area schools. Those are very often wide open for use and free. If you belong to a gym, there may be courts for rental. Either way, you’ll want to at least plan ahead and check schedules, if possible, to make sure there isn’t some sort of tournament or high school meet going on.
Don’t rule out the possibility of a good brick wall. If you can find a flat area like that with enough pavement to run around and play, that’s a great place to practice. You and your daughter can practice making contact, aiming shots, or can even play an impromptu “doubles match”. Some tennis courts have a wall installed over the chain link fence, but you might find a usable wall at an area school. Just remember that the wall is a very good tennis player and is a fierce competitor. It does not give up.
Again, if you’re not athletic, that’s okay. She may be extremely athletic and tennis is just not something your body can do. If that’s the case, go with her to watch her practice or toss her serves. Hey, rent one of those serving machines and run that for her. Just try and hold back from using it as a Gatling gun (Oh come on, you were thinking about it) Either way, you can still spend time with her and give her an opportunity to do the sport if you’re not directly on the other end of the court.
“Some one-on-one time that I try to do with my daughters is I try to center on a more physical or “athletic” activity. For example, there’s a pretty big park called “Wheeler Park” about 3/4 mile away from our house. So I’ll take just the younger 2 girls to the playground there, or I’ll take just the older 2 girls there to play tennis for 45 minutes.
Frankly, my daughters are still developing as players, so it’s usually me just hitting groundstrokes from one side and my daughters on the other side trying to send the balls back. Admittedly though, I’m a HUGE sports fan, so anything I can do with my daughters in the area of sports/physical activity, I try to promote it. I did play tennis in high school. Held my own as a solid doubles player, but I’m no Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.
I’m sort of passing it down to them, but it’s definitely not important for them to do sports. Don’t get me wrong, when they do like a sport and have some aptitude in it, it’s very easy for me to share in that. However, my larger goal in this area is to promote healthy physical activity and a lifetime of fitness…and I think organized sports can be 1 tool out of many to accomplish that.
At the end of the journey, you won’t say “boy, i wished i worked x more hours in my life”….but one might say, “i wish i spent more time with my wife / daughters / friends / whatever”. Russ C.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for being a dad….