© Ella Ling

Wimbledon - bananas

How to cope when your child is being a brat on court


Tips from Jo Durie, a former world number four. Durie, a commentator for British Eurosport, tells The Tennis Space ‘How to cope when your child is misbehaving on court’:

Tell your child that if they don’t stop throwing their racket or swearing, you will ban them from playing tennis. “I think you need to be quite hard on your child because smashing rackets and swearing is not acceptable. When I was a kid I had one racket and it was really precious to me and I wouldn’t dare think of doing anything like that. My dad used to say to me that if I misbehaved he would take me off the court and I knew that threat was real. There was no way I was going to jeopardise my tennis for that. Parents should say to their children that if they throw their rackets around or start swearing then they’ll take them off court or ban them from playing tennis. If the child loves tennis that much then they’ll stop doing it.”

Ask yourself whether your child is under too much pressure on the court. “Parents should get to the bottom of the problem as well because I’ve seen kids react badly on court and you ask yourself whether it’s because there’s so much pressure on them. Their desperation to get the win because of funding reasons means sometimes they can’t control their emotions. I saw Roger Federer play in the juniors at Wimbledon and I didn’t think he behaved very well. I’m not condoning it but I could see he was getting upset because he was getting pushed by someone else. You absolutely want to see some passion and fight but you don’t want to see it ticking over into desperation. You also don’t want to see them going into a mini tantrum about them not getting their own way.”

Make sure that you, as the parent, are working in the same direction as your child’s coach. “The coach has an important role to play. I think it’s a good idea for both the parent and the coach to talk to the child. You need to have excellent communication and to hope that you’re both working in the same direction.”