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Parenting & Sport Lockdown Blog Edition 2 (April)

Parenting & Sport:
2 Weeks of Lock Down - Anyone going crazy yet?

I have to admit, the sun came out this weekend and it felt like a really good day at home with the kids in the garden. If anything, we were even more into our ball games than normal! Plus we go the BBQ on which is usually signifies the start of the best part of the year for me. Then I listened to the Queen on Sunday afternoon and now we have Boris is in hospital (he is in intensive care since I first starting writing this) and it all came crashing home once again. I ended the Sunday feeling guilty about having a great day, when clearly there are so many people suffering and so much we all still have to go through.

I guess for tennis coaches like me, the real worry is with the economic crisis that will no doubt hit harder as the weeks progress. Leisure, hospitality and events are all largely manned by self employed freelancers who will be reliant on the promises made by the chancellor to leave no one behind in this crisis. It sounds good, but lets see.

As far as the leisure industry was concerned, it was nice to hear that the LTA have now also weighed in with their own contribution to help those in difficult circumstances. A promise of £4 milion to help coaches out of a £20 million rescue fund for the whole of tennis was a welcome piece of news on Friday. Hopefully this will help companies like ours at Live Love Sport get through this situation. But I also found out that the LTA have cash reserves of £60 million to draw on if they need to. Bearing this in mind, how on earth is £20 million enough in these circumstances? Plus what is the point of sitting on £60 million of cash when we need indoor courts, better public places to play, more competitions for people to play and investment into coaches to grow the game? The LTA have sat on cash reserves for years and I can never understand why they need to do this when the game we all love is in desperate need of funding across so many levels. 

It will be interesting to see how this crisis shapes people's thinking around their development of sport across the country when things do get back to normal. Sometimes it takes a monumental shift to make people realize what is actually important and how much money can actually be raised when really needed. If the LTA can find a way to cover £20 million by making cuts and changing their systems in a crisis, then why cant they make those decisions anyway? Im sure there will be other governing bodies in the same position as tennis who can use this opportunity to work out exactly how to run their business more efficiently and grow their games at the same time. 

Home Tennis Max has now been launched live and is available to buy online. If you are looking for some tennis development and need a coach to guide you through some constructive practice then this is a great option. You can also get me on side as your coach for some of the sessions if you are keen! Simply click here to go through to the Live Love Sport dedicated link for Home Tennis Max 

Parenting & Sport - Home Training Progress Report 

I hope that a few of you have tried some training with your kids in the park of the garden in the last week. I also hope that you are having fun and enjoying the challenge! Its not always that easy thats for sure but try and preserve with it whenever you can. One thing that happened for me this weekend is that Freddie clearly stopped trying and was bored instantly. with what we were trying to do together. Dad was no longer a great football coach - just a pain the backside who was forcing him to work hard when he wanted an easy time of it. You might not have this problem and your kids are still super motivated but it will happen at some point and I thought I would share what I intend to do:
  1. Change the time of the sessions - I've tried to keep the session at the same time (afternoon post Fortnite!) so I am gong to try and get Freddie playing in the morning when he is a bit more high energy and ready to go. I think a combination of Jo Wicks followed by football drills could be a potent combo!
  2. Change the content - if you have been working on a particular skill it might need a bit of changing for a few days - especially if its a tricky one or a weakness you have identified. Maybe something like fitness, flexibility or some simple easy to master drills might be good for a few days to get back the "I can do this!" attitude. 
  3. Don't push too hard - if its not working finish the session early and try and do something else with your time together. Normally in a coaching session at a club or academy, the coach will be able to change this around with some good motivational ideas or games to play. Plus the players know they cant push their behavior too far with their coach - not so with their parents! Its fair game for kids to wind up their parents if they don't fancy putting in the effort so I think we have to take a deep breathe here and find a way out when it gets tricky. Its so important for you as much as your child that you try and end up with a positive outcome to the training and keep the ball rolling (sorry for the choice of phrase!). The last thing you want if you cant escape each other is to fall out over some tap ups in the garden!
Hopefully these things should help make my week carry on with a sense of purpose - hopefully it might help you too. Its easy to lose your way as the enthusiasm of the first few weeks rubs off but try not to lose sight of the fact that its great to work on these things together and you do have a lot of time to use up whilst we are all stuck at home. 
Mini Tennis Videos for the Garden 
One of our efforts for our mini tennis at home videos we made at the weekend - pure comedy! Sorry Freddie we clearly need a bit more practice!
I spent some of my time at the weekend working on some back to basics tennis videos for families to have fun trying in the garden. Some of them came out quite well and are easy to follow and my kids had a good time trying them and playing afterwards. I will release some of these through the Live Love Sport You Tube Channel in the next few days as I put some finishing touches to the videos. 

You can see from the above that some of them went a bit wrong though! Or lets say, the coach needs to work on his feeding/throwing skills a bit more. Mind you the funny ones always get more views on Instagram!
Running out of Ideas? Recommended Sports Books to Read 

Changing direction away from catching balls, hopefully you have all had a bit of peace and quiet over the last couple of weeks with schools being out. If you are looking for something for your teenagers to read or fancy a sports book to get into, I can recommend these as great options to occupy a few hours.

1. Mathew Syed - BOUNCE 
This book is great reading for coaches and parents as Syed discusses the development of talent, why athletes get nervous or "choke" and the thoughts behind the 10,000 hours of practice theory. Well worth a read or a re-read if you have already sampled it before.

2. Andre Agassi - OPEN and/or John McEnroe - SERIOUS - If you like a tennis book then these are very well written and over an insight into two different ways of becoming a superstar tennis player. Agassi's story about his father's methods to train him and his resentment towards tennis as a result is particularly enlightening if you are a tennis parent.

PLUS..What I am about to start reading now

3. Jeff Olson - THE SLIGHT EDGE 
My sister bought this for me for Christmas and I haven't managed to pick it up yet. Its about imparting simple discipline into your life to achieve happiness and success. If ever there was a time to read a book like this then surely its in the next few weeks. 
And Finally for this week..
Some classic action from the glory days of Wimbledon.
If you liked the book then check out the classic match! Agassi vs McEnroe in 1992 is now on my You Tube - Live Love Sport Classic Moments playlist

If you love a bit of classic tennis then this is a great highlights watch. Serve and volleyer vs baseliner on the grass the way we used to like it. I watched this match live and loved Agassi from this moment onwards - especially with his all white outfit including cycling shorts!!
Please comment on any aspect of the Parenting & Sport blog by emailing or why not recommend a friend to sign up to the LLS community and receive the blog for themselves. If you have any questions or things that you would like information on, please email these in too and I will include Q&As in future editions.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!
Stay Home / Protect the NHS / Save Lives 
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