Sunday 30 January 2011

Ads and tennis

Ads started tennis lessons some time ago. This is a fairly good program run by the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy, right here in our complex. Let me admit I don't know first-hand that it's a good program, just that other parents who are more experienced with their kids learning tennis, seem to be happy with it, so I am relying on what they say. What I did like is that the 3 coaches (head coach, assistant coach and recently a fitness coach) are all young, friendly and seem to genuinely like what they do. The whole environment for mini-tennis is non-pressurizing which is the way I want it. The goal is to get Ads to run around and gain some hand-eye coordination, not necessarily be a good tennis player. If the latter happens, it's a huge bonus.
The operative word is if. Ads is good-humouredly disinterested in tennis. In fact, he is disinterested in most organized games. Ask him to go to the park and play, and he will lie on the monkey bars for hours imagining himself to be Ben-10 fighting aliens. All in his mind! He will run around and play hide and seek, tag etc with friends, quite happily. But anything a little structured and organized bores him. As he asked me once, "Amma, I want to be a doctor, so why should I learn how to play tennis?"
In his class of 6-7 kids, he's the smallest, and let me say it out loud, the worst! Not because he's the smallest, but because he simply doesn't care to try and do better. Plain unadulterated disinterest. I had noticed it in his gym classes in the US when he was 3-4 years old. He wouldn't pay attention to instructions. He would run vaguely in the general direction where all the other kids were running. On reaching the gym equipment, he would try and creatively bypass it altogether. If that didn't work, he would try to climb it or hang from it, in a supremely lacklustre way. Finally he would head back to the starting position, relieved that the ordeal was over :) 
He does the same in tennis class. Ever so often, I hear the coach calling out "Advaith! Listen to me!". I've even seen the coach turn Ads' face to face him (the coach) because he was clearly not listening. Towards the end of the class, they have 15 minutes of games. While the other kids get stressed out over which team 'wins' or 'loses', our hero is waiting on the sidelines, faintly scornful (I think!) of this competitive mentality and quite unconcerned when one of the older kids berates him for making them lose the game by not running fast enough.
I was a late bloomer into sports, only in my teens. When I did start, I loved playing badminton, throwball and tennikoit and for the last few years of school, they were a source of great enjoyment to me. I hope that Ads starts enjoying sports at some point, all by himself, as I did. We won't push him into sports, that's for sure, so it has to come from within. Having said that, I want him to continue with tennis (and swimming in the summer) just to get that little body more agile and coordinated. In the meantime, I continue to watch with amusement, a frustrated coach yelling "Advaith! Look at me!". Better him than me :)

1 comment:

  1. Amma, I want to be a doctor, so why should I learn how to play tennis?"
    That is soooo cute!!

    Your description of the tennis lessons brought back memories of skating and now dance classes with D - sitting on the sidelines and wondering why our child seems to the different one, that part is definitely familiar to me :). Even in a skating competition, she didn't quite see the need to exert herself and go any faster - since there were only two competitors in her age category she still got the silver ;) !!


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