Tennis For Children

Category Archives: Tennis Games

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!

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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The last game we play with preschoolers each lesson is called Frozen. This game is like desert after a meal for kids. You can’t show the kid ice cream before they have eaten their dinner or the ice cream is all they will want. Here is how it works: First, they have to collect all of the tennis balls we have used and place them in the basket Next, I play “Let it go” (Song from the movie Frozen: Idina Menzel) and they all start running away from “the Snow Monster”. It’s basically freeze-tag with snowballs. While listening to the Let it Go, they have to avoid the snowballs flying at them. They can’t hide so they have to be fast. If they are struck with a snowball they have to freeze in place and wait for a friend to tag them to get un-frozen. Instructors get to pause the…

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We have a game we play first and foremost before we ever get started with our lesson plans in the preschool tennis programs. This game is called “Tornado!” All we had to do was, one time, video the children playing the game and play it back for them in a ‘time lapse’ scenario and they thought it was hilarious! The ability to see yourself and your friends running around in ‘fast forward’ is quite entertaining to anyone, much less a group of preschoolers. Here is how it works: First, they get in a line behind me for a game of Follow the Leader Next, I play the “Troll Song” (Can’t Stop the Feeling – J Timberlake) and they all start running around in a circle. I have now turned the children into a little kid-tornado! While listening to the Troll Song, I tell them to follow me no matter how…

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