Tuesday, July 4, 2023 by Andrew Kratzmann | Blog
As coaches and parents, it is essential to recognise the value of taking our time when introducing children to the sport of tennis. Rushing through the developmental stages can hinder the acquisition of key fundamentals and pose risks to a child's progress.
Today we explore a coaching approach that prioritises understanding the fundamentals, utilising appropriate ball and court sizes, and developing realistic footwork patterns to ensure a solid foundation for young tennis players.
The foundation of a successful tennis player lies in their understanding and mastery of the key fundamentals. At our Academy we focus on teaching children the importance of hitting the ball within the optimal strike zone, which is between the knee and chest for groundstrokes. This emphasis allows players to develop better control, timing, and power in their shots. By patiently guiding them through the learning process, our coaches can help young players lay a strong technical foundation, setting them up for future success.
The concept of Hot Shots tennis stages, using red, orange, and green balls, offers a progressive approach that aligns with a child's physical abilities and development. The appropriate ball and court size are vital considerations. Children aged 10 and under may struggle to cover a full-sized court effectively. Consequently, rallies become shorter, and the use of advanced tactics is unrealistic. By using smaller court sizes, tailored to the players' abilities, children experience longer and more engaging rallies, fostering their enjoyment of the game and encouraging skill development.
Realistic footwork patterns are essential for efficient court coverage and effective shot execution. Young players face challenges due to their smaller stature, requiring more steps to cover the court. This impacts their movement styles both when reaching the ball and recovering for the next shot. Our Academy focus on helping children adapt their footwork to the appropriate court size, promoting more realistic movement patterns. By doing so, players learn to position themselves optimally and execute shots with greater efficiency and control.
The speed and bounce of the ball also play a crucial role in a child's development. Regular tennis balls can be challenging for young players to control, often bouncing faster and higher than expected. This can lead to frustration and hinder proper technique development. Utilising slower and lower bouncing balls, such as the red, orange, and green balls, allows players to adjust their footwork and technique effectively. This approach ensures a smoother learning curve, enabling young players to build confidence and accuracy in their strokes.
Taking the time to nurture young tennis players offers numerous benefits. Patience allows children to develop a solid foundation of fundamental skills, ensuring their long-term progress and success in the sport. It also reduces the risk of burnout and injury, as players are gradually exposed to more demanding challenges. A patient coaching approach fosters a love for the game, encouraging players to stay engaged and motivated throughout their tennis journey.
We take this patient coaching approach, which we believe is vital when developing young tennis players. By prioritising understanding the key fundamentals, utilising appropriate ball and court sizes, and focusing on realistic footwork patterns, our Academy can provide an environment conducive to optimal development. This approach promotes skill acquisition, enhances shot execution, and builds a strong technical foundation. By nurturing young players with patience, we not only set them up for success in tennis but also instil a lifelong passion for the sport, ensuring they continue to enjoy and grow in their tennis journey.
We are all about tennis for a lifetime of engagement, exercise, social connection and fun.