Tennis For Children

Category Archives: #T4C

Kids absolutely love being right. They definitely prefer being right over not knowing the answer; especially in front of their friends. We have many ways to help kids feel comfortable when attempting to answer questions in a group of their peers. First of all, I often remind them that “I don’t know.” is an acceptable answer. Since they are so young and inexperienced, they are not going to know the answer to most of the questions in life and feeling comfortable admitting that they don’t know something allows them to not feel pressure to guess or simply make something up. My favorite way to ask questions to children is to offer the answer to the question within the question itself. Here is a great example: “What do we call the backswing?” is the first question I ask (while physically showing them a FH or BH backswing) Ok – you smartypants……

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The harder I hit the ball, the harder it came back. When I displayed some ‘touch,’ the wall would respond in kind. The wall was patient enough to play with me when I was only 4 years old, and is still good enough (barely) to handle me now.

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The success rate for Bump Ups and Bump Downs depends on the child. Some children find it easier to accomplish one as opposed to the other. Because of this, I often introduce Bump Ups and Bump Downs at the same time. Obviously this follows balancing the ball on the strings, rolling the ball around without dropping it and often after introducing “Bounce – Hit.”

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In the early stages of learning to control bump ups, the child will be more interested in how many bounces they are able to obtain in total. This allows the child to count further than 1 or 2 and shows early success if even simply counting attemptsat success. As the child develops the ability to bounce the ball successively on the racquet, begin to set goals for the number of times ‘in a row’ the child can continue their control of “Bump Ups.”

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For the adult or advanced junior, assume a continental grip and be sure to make contact while keeping the racquet horizontal to the ground. This will improve backspin, continental grip comfort and eventually should improve volleys. Remember to add the arc on your “shot” like shooting a basketball so the ball has a chance to stay inside the hopper!

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Bounce the ball on your racquet as many times as you can!

Hey there!  I am Robby Deckert, a classically trained landscape designer, horticulturalist, garden speaker, enthusiastically spent 16 years as a Master Gardener, and owner of Flowerscapes Garden Design & Landscape. I am so very fortunate to make a career doing two things that I am passionate about, both handed to me by my father –Gardening and tennis.  I also have an art degree in oil painting, black and white photography, and in English with an emphasis on writing.  I was published for ten years by Tennis West Magazine until I moved east to Atlanta.  I also have done sports medicine articles and featured editorials as it relates to tennis research and interviewed top doctors and tennis pros.  My garden articles were inspired by my great teachers and mentors, along with my love of writing and getting people interested in nature and creating beautiful and sustainable landscapes or gardens. I am…

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Many parents believe they must pay a professional to help their young children learn the sport of tennis. For a child to hit a moving ball with a tennis racquet, spatial awareness of where the ball ‘is going to be’ is as necessary as the hand-eye coordination to physically swing the racquet.  And since most young players change their strokes many times before they are 13 years old, a parent can initially introduce some extremely important skills to their own children without breaking the bank! For a child to learn that other objects move regardless of whether or not the child moves is crucial to their spatial development.  Young children often bump into other children, adults, and even inanimate objects they didn’t even notice.  How is a child supposed to watch a ball bounce, track where it will be in and then swing their funny little stick to strike this…

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As I discussed in the Tennis for Children: Bounce-Catch article, having a child catch a ball is probably the most basic way to introduce spatial awareness. This introduces ball tracking and the hand-eye coordination responsible for much of the skill set a young tennis player requires. As we move on from “bounce-catch” to “bounce-hit,” the timing is what translates for the child.  The child will learn to wait for the ball to bounce and enter the hitting zone before attempting to strike it with their racquet. Make it fun!  Have your child try to hit something with the ball.  This requires a bit of aim which means the child should be facing perpendicular to their target.  The phrase that I use in this situation is “point your toes.”  Pick one side of the court (or basement, or garage, or driveway) and have the child “point their toes” to that spot. …

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One of the easier concepts for a young Ankle Biter to learn (however difficult to remember) is to stand facing perpendicular to their target.  A good phrase to help the child remember how to stand in preparation for “bounce-hit” is “Point Your Toes.” This is a simple transition from the initial preparation for “bounce–catch” which expects the child to be facing you.  In that case, they will “point their toes” at you as you toss the tennis ball to them. Here are the basics for “Point Your Toes”: Have your child face you while you face your child Now your toes should be ‘pointed’ at their toes Show your child that their toes are ‘pointing’ at your toes Set them up for ‘bounce-hit’ with their racquet back With their toes ‘pointed’ at your toes, drop a tennis ball and have your child attempt ‘bounce-hit’ After your child learns the phrase…

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