Children usually bored more easily because of their shorter attention spans but if their interest level is kept up, they are capable of absorbing tennis lessons like a sponge and tennis drills for children can make this possible.
The following are examples of tennis drills for children:
Tennis Drills for Children #1:
One of the most commonly used tennis drills for children are the ball-bouncing and dribbling drills, which promote better hand-eye coordination. The student simply dribbles the ball with his or her racket or bounces it up in the air off the racket as many times as possible. For more advanced students, they can do this drill while walking.
Tennis Drills for Children #2:
The Simon Says drill allows coaches to see how the child swings the racket on a forehand or backhand ground stroke. If the coach calls out “Simon says… forehand,” the kids have to swing the racket as they would on a forehand. Additionally, the coach could say “freeze” in mid-swing in order for him to identify and immediately correct any errors in technique.
Tennis Drills for Children #3:
To teach children about ball control, a drill has been designed wherein they line up ten feet away from their coach who is holding a hula hoop. The coach feeds the ball to the first kid in line and he or she must try to hit the ball and send it through the hoop. There are plenty of variations that can be made for this drill. You can require them to hit only one ball through the hoop or 2 out of 3, 3 out of 5, etc. You can start by feeding only forehands, then backhands, and finally, both forehands and backhands.
Tennis Drills for Children #4:
The Goldilocks drill is also about teaching proper ball control. It uses the terms mama, papa and baby to refer to a medium hit, a hard hit and a soft hit, respectively. The children line up at the baseline with the coach standing across the net in the opposite court. He lobs the ball to the first kid in line and as the ball is in the air, he yells either “mama,” “papa,” or “baby.” Accordingly, the child must hit the ball in the corresponding manner.
Tennis Drills for Children #5:
There are a few tennis drills for children that are basically just ball tossing drills. In one drill, the child holds the ball loosely in one hand and stands within the service box. All he or she has to do is to toss the ball to the service box across the net. Alternatively, the toss can be made diagonally or cross court to the opposite service box. Another player can be made to try to catch the tossed ball. These drills also develop directional control.
Tennis Drills for Children #6:
The follow the leader drill is a footwork drill where the students try to walk on their toes as quickly as possible while staying on the lines of the court. They form a line and walk along the perimeter formed by the baseline, service line and side lines. More advanced students can try walking backwards. This develops balance and helps them learn the cross-over steps that are sometimes used in the sport.
Tennis Drills for Children #7:
The Bunny hop drill is another footwork drill. This promotes learning of the split step and forward movement to the net. The children start at the net and hop all the way to the baseline. They turn around and run to the service line where the split step and jump onto the line. Then they continue on to the net where they repeat the same kind of footwork. Once up at the net, they turn around and hop all the way back to the baseline to repeat the entire process.
Tennis Drills for Children #8:
The Rolling and Racing Drill is a speed drill where the children are made to roll a ball from the baseline to the net. They have to chase after the ball, bend down low using their knees, pick up the ball, turn around and do the same things again back to the baseline.
Tennis Drills for Children #9:
Relays are also great tennis drills for children that can take the place of shuttle runs. Two teams form and line up behind the baseline. The first kid has to run to the net and back to the baseline to tag the next kid on his or her team, who then has to run and do the same thing. The first team to finish wins the game.
Tennis Drills for Children #10:
The Bomber drill is a lobbing drill where the students try to hit lobs that land on specified targets on the opposite side of the net. These targets may be a basket, chair, hula hoop or even a person.
Tennis Drills for Children #11:
The tag team drill requires the formation of two teams. Each time will line up behind opposite baselines. The first kid from one team drop-hits the ball to the opponents’ court and runs immediately to the back of the line. The first player on the other team will try to return the ball and run to the back of his or her own line. The next players up on the court will try to continue the rally. Points are scored when the other team fails to return the ball. The first team to score 7, 11, 15 or 21 wins.
Tennis Drills for Children #12:
Champion of the court is a tennis drill that designates one player as the champion and the other students as challengers. The champion serves the ball to the first challenger and they play a point. If the challenger wins the point, he or she must run over to the other court to assume the position of new champion. If not, he or she must go to the back of the line of challengers. The next challenger will get his or her chance.
Quick Start Tennis – More Great Tennis Drills
In 2008, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) introduced the Quick Start Tennis Play Format for children aged 10 and below. This has since been renamed 10 And Under Tennis. It is a variation of the game of tennis that makes use of larger, softer and slower balls and a smaller court.
For those below 8 years of age, the court they use is only 36 feet long. This means that a regular sized tennis court can be divided into four mini courts for these kids. For children 8-10 years old, the court they play on is 60 feet long. The children also use shorter junior rackets.
This format of the game makes tennis easier and more enjoyable without compromising the development of the skills of each player.
In 2012, the USTA will adapt the rules of 10 And Under Tennis for all 10 and under age group tournaments. The various tennis drills for children can also be used for this format of the sport.
Important Reminders in using Tennis Drills for Children
There are several things to remember about teaching children. First, you have to ensure safety. When doing drills, do not leave balls lying around the court. Kids are always running all over the place and may trip over these balls. Second, be flexible and adaptable with the drills that you teach.
Change it up from one session to the next to keep things interesting. Third, always explain and demonstrate clearly how each drill will be performed.
Make sure each kid has understood all instructions before you proceed with the drill. Fourth, try to be as patient and as level-headed as possible with them.
Children are sometimes too boisterous and inattentive. But you should never resort to name-calling or belittling them with ridicule. Instead, always try to be positive and encouraging. Allow each child to learn and develop at his or her own pace.
And finally, listen to the children if they have any suggestions. Kids love to invent their own games. You can never run out of fun new activities for teaching them how to play tennis if you pay attention to your students.
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