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… this one is harder…
“What do we call the point of contact?” is the next question
(while physically showing them a FH or BH point of contact)
Fine! This one is really hard so pay attention…
“And what do we call the followthrough?” is the last question
(while physically showing them a FH or BH followthrough)
“Backswing!!!”– all the kids answer together
“It’s the Point of Contact!!!”– all the kids get louder this time as they figure out what’s going on
“It’s called the FOLLOWTHROUGH, Coach Shaun!!! You said the answer in the question!!!”– sometimes I think THEY THINK I’m a bit dim…
I’ll add a video of this ‘bit’ as comedians call it as soon as I can get it edited and make it look nice but you get the point. They learn the words by memorizing answers to a previously rehearsed comedy routine and they will NEVER FORGET those three things as long as they live.
We always remember that kids not only want to have fun and we want them to learn but this is an easy way to help them feel successful learning (and remembering) difficult and often complicated concepts. This way we have defined our terms together so they know *exactly* what I mean when I ask them to “FollowThrough” because they know what the word means and I have shown them *exactly* where I want their racquet to stop.
Thanks for reading and remember the #1 Rule of Ankle Biters Tennis: “Never try to hit the ball with your face!”
SjB~ Sept 2021