| By Ricky Becker

A lot of times people want to go out and seemingly do well for their young child. "Who are the best coaches in the area?" They may ask their friends.  Truth is, the coaches who are known as top coaches are top coaches for a completely different demographic than the one a 6-8 year old is in.  The best coaches for beginners are very often a "diamond in the rough" coach who doesnt get much big attention.  The most important thing for a young child who is looking to go far in tennis is that they have fun while learning the proper fundamentals.  The  top coaches may  know the proper fundamentals but are more in tune with firing up  a slumping 16-year old than making tennis fun for a little kid.  Truthfully, a lot of top coaches will mentally  give up on a youngster who is not motivated than a coach who specializes in the 6-8 year old demographic.

Usually, people who specialize in 6-8 year olds have props to make the game more fun.  They will also give a second effort when the child loses focus.  A high-development coach will probably make a joke and then look at their watch as quickly and subtlely as possible.

As with any age, it is so much better to get a coach where you are one of his/her bigger fish than to get a bigger name coach where you are one of his/her small fish.  You want someone who is attentive to your needs, who is focused during the lesson and doesn't view like they are doing you a favor by giving you lessons. You can tell how impotant you are to a coach by how flexible they are with scheduling your weekly semester lessons.

Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at Glen Oaks Club.  Ricky also coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs.  As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior.  He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.