I’m a tennis coach, although I’m a dad of two children first. When my son, Tom (pictured above), first started competing in higher level tournaments, I recorded his match stats with pen and paper. It was just basic errors and winners type stuff.
As he became more experienced, I wanted more stats, both to help me as his coach and to help him as the player. Tom’s doubles partner’s dad is an app developer. The conversation went something like this:
“Could you program an app that helps me record these stats? I haven’t found one that does what I need”
“What do you need?”
“Something that’s easy enough for me to use and graphs the results so that children can understand what they’re looking at”
“I’m pretty sure we can do that.”
“Shall we try?”
OK, so there was a bit more to it than that. Essentially though, GT STATS was developed specifically for children because that’s the purpose for which we wanted an app.
What’s Different About Tennis Stats for Children?
There are lots of little things, but two big ones. In fact, they’re huge.
First of all, forced errors are a must and they must be credited to the player who forced the error (see more). Children starting out in tennis need to know that forcing your opponent into error is one of the objectives of the sport. It’s not all about winners.
Second of all, there must be graphs. Lots of graphs. Children don’t respond to numbers on a page the same way as they do to a picture. That’s what the graph is – a picture. It’s a snap shot of a particular facet of the game, or all of it.
I used to load Tom’s stats into a spreadsheet and produce the graph that way. Much easier to tap an icon that displays it instantaneously!
Is it too Complicated for Children?
There isn’t much on a modern day phone or tablet screen that a child finds complicated. Not that we’re trying to add to screen time! We’re just trying to make it productive and relatable to their tennis game.
If they understand where they need to improve through graphs and stats, they’re much better able to buy into a process of improvement. Numbers and percentages on a page won’t do that, but pictures and graphs will.
What About for Parents and Coaches?
For parents, I recommend you have a look at this post. In a nutshell, recording stats and getting used to an app that does the job for you does take a bit of practice. GT STATS is the easiest to use, however. After a couple of practice sets, I find parents are recording the stats of their children quickly and easily. Not only that, it’s enjoyable, and very rewarding.
As for tennis coaches, the benefits are immeasurable. Knowing what children do on a match court without being there means a coach can organize the next training session before it even starts. No more guessing what’s going on when children play matches. More here.
What if We Need Help
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