It’s fair to say I am quite competitive, especially in terms of being ambitious, zealous, driven, keen, probably less so, aggressive, ruthless, combative, cut-throat!
So little surprise my 10 year old lad has similar traits.
We both love sports and games and spend a lot of time playing together, which is something I treasure and really look forward to.
He has become passionate about tennis over the past couple of years, initially through school and then joined a club, learning in squads and with one on one coaching and now about to embark on his first season of Summer competition in a Boys junior team.
When we play, I am seeking fun, bonding, quality Father Son time and some exercise that I really need, I don’t seek to win our matches or points, I am not there to compete.
But he is.
Truth be told, I am not a very good tennis player, I have a reasonable aptitude for it, having played a reasonable level of squash, cricket, golf, so am tuned into racquet sports and have an average or higher hand eye coordination. But, I can keep a rally going with my lad and ultimately he is likely to make a mistake before I do.
Further truth, he is a good player for his age, not the greatest, but he is learning, has tremendous skills in all sports and through the coaching and squads is developing the techniques to play the game well.
More truth, there will be a day, when hands down, I will not come close to competing with him, that day may be closer than he thinks, if he developed the patience to run the old man around the court and not go for the glory forward top-spin or winning cross court backhand, once he learns to be patient and minimise his mistakes.
So on our court outings, I am also hoping to help him develop this insight and by giving him my best game help him improve.
As I get on top, I want him to learn to play to the end, try and turn the tables, be resilient and not give up.
In the end, we have fun, he improves and soon enough the winning will come.
Over the recent long weekend we played daily and we had a few conversations around this, as clearly the sequence for him is, he wins, he has fun and if things are not going his way, well it’s not good, trust me!
Now I could simply roll over and let him win, hard to do when your competitive, but what good would that be for him, it’s a false sense of security, not developing his game and all important mental approach, in addition, sure as eggs he will not win every match against his peers, so as practice goes no point in just letting him win.
However, I can see the confidence building when he is successful and providing more of these moments is something I can ensure occurs at the right time.
He may also pick up on the fact that Dad is letting him win and that opens up another Pandora's box!
I have been musing on this over the weekend, with our tennis matches displaying a variety of emotions including joy, laughter and tears. Maybe a reflection on my parenting or modern day parenting.
My mantra being, “we play, we have fun, we learn, we improve, we win more” — hopefully he is listening, maybe not to me, but the tennis squad, coach and team I have faith in, as I do with him.
Keep smiling GG, love Dad❤