Developmental readiness is a concept that takes into account where a player is in terms of the overall development of their game physically. Tennis-wise, on the court, off the court and mindset etc.
As a coach, it's important for me to not take the chronological age into account as much as developmental age when I'm deciding on goal setting with any tennis player that I work with. The reason is that so many people develop in different stages. Sometimes they may grow earlier, they may grow later, they may hit puberty at a later time or an earlier time. It's important for any tennis coaches or parents out there to not compare your athletes to other people around the same age. The easiest thing to do is to look at the person next to you that's the same age at the same tournament, where they may be winning the tournaments or coaching drills within lessons and you're not. It's very easy to compare to them and say "I'm not at the level at the end of the day".
At under 12s, 14s and 16s, you're still in the junior development stage. We need to look at the big picture of development. So if you're out there and you're a young player developing or you're a coach developing young athletes, just take into account where they are developmentally instead of chronologically. I think if we can start to think about a developmental age and stop comparing to others, we then focus on becoming a better "us".
Every single day you become a better player. Every single day you beat where you were yesterday. And if we can continually evolve and not compare to others, you're going to be much better off and you'll stress less and have a much better chance of staying sane and enjoying your journey, as opposed to worrying about your journey. And tennis is a great journey to be on, so continue to enjoy that and continue to develop at your own rate.
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