For juniors and children learning how to play tennis, they must first learn the basics of the game. Since most tennis drills for kids are based around fun and fostering the learning process through an enjoyable environment, the complexity of these kids tennis drills are less technical focused as in the rest of the drills.
There are many tennis drills for kids, but only the ones based on fun and exciting game based concepts will fully foster a creative learning environment for the children. Perhaps kids tennis drills are the least intense, but they help children improve their tennis faster through learning the basics of the game while having fun.
Kids Tennis Drills in Developing a Child’s Game
Most great champions in the game of tennis started learning the game at a very young age. This is usually around 5-7 years of age. Probably the youngest ever to learn the game was the former prodigy Martina Hingis, who was taught by her mother when she was only 2! It's no wonder that she set all the youngest-to records in the history of the game. If your little one shows any interest in the game, wouldn't you, being the supportive parent that you are, try to give him or her the best chance for developing to his or her maximum potential? And even if the talent isn't quite there, but the interest is, why not make the whole learning experience as much fun as possible?
The Basics of Kids Tennis DrillsKids tennis drills are designed differently than ordinary drills for adults. The objective remains the same, which is to teach the correct basics of tennis, from stroke production to footwork to on-court behaviour. But the designs of these drills are meant to appeal to their age group. This only means that these drills have to be a lot of fun! Kids have much shorter attention spans than adults so it can be tough to keep them interested in what they're doing. If the drills are fun, they are much more likely to keep being attentive.
As kids grow up, their concept of fun rapidly changes. What was fun a year ago won't be fun anymore now. We all know that there is huge difference between what a 4 year old finds enjoyable as compared to a 7 year old and a 10 year old. So another key characteristic of kids' tennis drills is that they are creative and flexible. As long as these drills teach the correct elements of the game, they are useful. Drills should also be interactive.
Kids Tennis Drills Are Fun and ExcitingIf you search the web for kids' tennis drills, you will find so many different drills invented by different coaches. They all have unique and fun-sounding names like "Simon Says" and "Horse." These are meant to take familiar children's games and apply them into the methodology of kids' tennis drills. You will also notice that the "Simon Says" drill described on one tennis instruction website may possibly be a little different than the one of the same name on another similar website. Inventing catchy names for these drills is always advisable. In short, kids' tennis drills should be fun age-appropriate interactive games with rules that reinforce the correct mechanics and principles of the game of tennis.
Kids' tennis drills should always be clearly explained. Safety precautions are also very important, since kids are usually running around all over the place and you wouldn't want any of them tripping and hurting themselves over any balls that may be lying around the court.
The following are few examples of kids' tennis drills:
Kids Tennis Drills #1: Hula HoopsThe children line up while the coach stands approximately 10 feet away holding a hula hoop or any similar object. The coach feeds the ball to the players and they must try to hit the ball through the hoop. This develops control and accuracy.
Kids Tennis Drills #2: Different Shots The coach demonstrates three kinds of hits - soft, medium and hard. The children stand in line behind the centre of the baseline and the coach takes up his position on the other side of the net. As he feeds the ball to the students, he tells them to hit it soft, medium or hard (he could also use the terms baby, mama and papa). The students must hit the ball accordingly. This teaches control.
Kids Tennis Drills #3: Freeze When the students are already beginning to learn how to swing the racket for the basic shots (forehand, backhand and serve), have them line up along the service line. There must be enough space between each player for them to take a swing with their rackets without fear of accidentally hitting any other player. The coach calls "forehand," "backhand" or "serve" and the students go through the motion of the stroke called. Additionally, the coach may call out "freeze" in mid-swing in order to check if there are fundamental errors in technique. These errors are then quickly corrected on the spot. Many websites call this the "Simon Says" drill.
Kids Tennis Drills #4: Court PositioningThe student stands at the centre of the service line or baseline, depending on his or her ability. The coach is on the other side of the net. He feeds the ball to the forehand corner and the student must run to hit it. The student must immediately go back to the centre of the court. The coach feeds the ball again, this time to the backhand side. The student runs to the ball and hits it, but he must get back again to the centre of the court before the next hit. For more advanced players, the coach may direct the ball randomly (instead of alternately) to either forehand or backhand side. This teaches the importance of court positioning.
Kids Tennis Drills #5: Three StrikesThis next kids' tennis drill has a few variations but basically it goes like this: the players line up with the first player standing at the centre of the baseline or service line, depending on skill level. The coach feeds the ball to the first player. He or she must hit the ball over the net to the opposite court. Again, depending on skill level, it may be enough of an objective to simply get the ball over the net. For higher skill levels, the requirement is to make the ball land within the lines of the opposite court. It may be the singles or doubles court, but it must be consistent for the whole group of students. If a student fails in his attempt, he is given one strike. He lines up again.
A second miss means strike two; a third, strike three and he's out. He'll have to sit out one rotation. Alternatively, there are versions of this drill where the players are given four or more chances, in which case, the game is named Hangman, Alligator or Go To Bed. It can also probably be called FAIL or LOSE (with the letters representing each missed shot).
Kids Tennis Drills #6: Horse The Horse game is usually associated with basketball, but there is a variation that can be applied as a kids’ tennis drill. This, however, is for more advanced players who can already control their shots to specific locations on the opponent’s court.
One player will have the privilege of calling the first shot. He should specify a target area on the court, like the corners or the near the side T. If he hits a cross court forehand, the other player must also hit a cross court forehand. The first player to miss gets the letter H. He then choses the next shot that they will be hitting. If he misses again, then he gets the letter O and so forth until HORSE is spelled. This drill is usually limited to crosscourt groundstrokes.
Kids Tennis Drills #7: Ball BouncingA common kids' tennis drill is the dribbling drill or ball-bouncing drill, where the child tries to constantly bounce the ball off his racket or dribble the ball using his racket. The student will try to keep it up as long as he can. A more challenging version would be for the child to walk on a predetermined path while doing this drill. It is a good warm up drill and it develops a player's hand-eye coordination.
Learning from Kids Tennis DrillsThere are so many more drills that can be devised for kids. Just keep in mind the basic principles: the drills have to be fun, innovative, flexible, interactive and also safe. Above all, they have to reinforce the correct fundamentals of the game. By keeping the learning process enjoyable, you increase the chance that the child will want to stick with tennis and possibly even become one of the future stars of the game.
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