You’re probably not going to like hearing this but it has to be said: Boys are usually better than girls at tennis. And you might be thinking “I guess that’s probably right. Djokovic is better than Azarenka. It makes sense.” No, that’s not what I’m talking about. That’s men vs women, which is an unfair comparison when you take into account strength and endurance. Those top women are phenomenal and are getting closer and closer to maxing out their ability on a tennis court.
I’m talking boys vs girls.
I travel to most tournaments these days and what I see is two groups of people who (at least at the under 12’s level) are roughly the same size and strength. There should be no reason why the top boys are better than the top girls. But the truth is the boys are better. That’s not to say that the girls are bad, or that there is a huge gap, but on the whole the boys tend to have better strokes and a more fully developed tactical arsenal.
So what makes the boys better, and how can girls bridge the gap? Practice mimicking the best players in the world!
On average, boys are more knowledgable about current tennis events. They know if Djokovic has beaten Nadal for the millionth time in a row, or if Nadal has got one back. They know the rankings. They know who has the biggest serve. They know a lot. And how do they know all this? THEY WATCH! If you’ve ever heard the expression “monkey see, monkey do” then you already understand why boys tend to pick up the technique quicker. Why they understand tactics better. (And why they grunt more…)
Boys are more likely to run around the house pretending to be Roger Federer hitting shadow forehands over and over again. And it’s simple things like this that MUST be done in order to be good. If it isn’t done at home, then it will only get done in lessons and the reality is that students are usually only together with their coaches for a fraction of their week. I don’t care how talented any boy or girl is, that’s not enough to become great.
So my challenge to all our girls is this: Prove you are just as good mimics. Prove that you have what it takes to beat any boy in your age group. Prove that you have what it takes to do the work off court and improve as fast, or faster, than the boys.
Because boys are watching videos like the one below every day, and then mimicking that on court.
But they aren’t the only one’s capable of playing amazing tennis…