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Why Is Tennis Good For Kids?
Tennis is an excellent sport for children to learn for a number of reasons. It’s a skill you can take pretty much anywhere in the world with you for the rest of your life. Tennis is a social sport and an easy way to make new friends. It’s a fun way to stay active and healthy plus teaches you important life skills. Here’s an article expanding on that: 10 life lessons from tennis. Tennis can also foster the opportunity to be a competitor at school, club, college or pro level and nowadays offers great career oportunities in all areas of the sport.
When Should Kids Start Playing Tennis?
There’s no written rule about when is the right time to start playing. It's all dependent on the individual child. When a child starts at a younger age say 3-4 years old, a lot of emphasis should be placed on hand eye coordination and fun activities such as learning to catch. These skills will help with overall athletic ability when they are older and also help significantly with their tennis development.
Technique Development Drills
Technique is the foundation of the sport, you can't get away with pure athletisism. The development of sound biomechanic fundamentals should be achieved to build a solid foundation for a junior player. This is achievable for all juniors whether they are playing for fun or aiming to compete. Using a static ball with repetitions of the new skill or shot until the muscle memory becomes ingrained is the best way to learn before moving onto a moving ball. This is where the TopspinPro can help. Here are some example tennis drills for kids which isolate some important skills.
1. Topspin Drill
Many junior players find it hard to understand the biomechanics behind topspin. Here's an easy drill that can help them visualize and break down the technique.
2. Slice Serve Drill
Like with the groundstrokes, learning to add spin to your serve can be very difficult. Here's an easy slice drill to help junior players get a feel for the biomechanics needed.
3. Forehand Drill
Getting enough repetitions of the fundamentals is key. Here's a great drill to practice forehands when moving to the ball from different directions.
4. Contact Point Drill
Understanding contact point and how it affects the ball direction helps juniors develop tactically. Here's a drill reinforcing a crosscourt contact point direction. Don't forget to set up your TopspinPro on the court in a tactically relevant position like they have here!
Athletic Development Drills
Athletic development is one of the most important things to include in tennis drills for kids. If you can't get to the ball well, it doesn't matter how good your technique is. Even though a technically sound foundation is the key, you need to match this with effective footwork and the ability to be ready for any type of ball. It's also important to stay physically conditioned to avoid future injuries. Junior players can be especially prone to this because they are still growing and imbalances occur naturally as muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments develop. Here's a selection of fun drills to help with athletic development:
1. Hand Eye Coordnation
This is not something you are just born with. Sure, some people naturally have better coordination that others, but you can still improve this. Even the best players in the world keep working on their coordination and reflexes.
2. Weight Transfer
Learning to properly shift your weight when striking the tennis ball is crucial for maximizing power. It's also an important part of footwork efficiency and can set you up well for the next shot. Weight transfer style differs depending on the type of shot hit so it's important to understand different scenarios.
Regular footwork practice helps you stay agile for effective changes in direction. You can use any movement patterns you like when training, but ideally, add in some that make use of direction change. Here's a great example.
Tennis Scenario Drills
It's important to mix up your practice with realistic scenarios and not just isolate technique. Having the ability to adapt to difference types of shot that are out of the comfort zone will push on the level of the player. Here are some examples of tennis scenarios you can develop on the TopspinPro:
1. High Balls
One of the more difficult shots in tennis, especially with junior players, it's important to avoid having this as a weakness. The younger the players are, the more loopy the game tends to be. This is due to the smaller height and lack of physical power. This is why it's so crucial to practice this and have it as a reliable shot in the repertoire!
2. Short Balls
As junior players keep growing and developing more physically, they will be able to capitalize on short balls more and more. It's important to get them used to moving up the court to attack and implement that "weight transfer" we talked about.
3. Patterns Of Play
You can make up any sequence of imaginary points and put them together in drills. We call these "patterns of play drills". You can make your imaginary points as long or as short as you like. Here's an example of a shadow serve plus one forehand on the TopspinPro.
If you are a coach or teacher here's a selection of group drills you can use. Whether you have only one TopspinPro or a more, you can make up all kinds of drills that incorporate stations, patterns of play or isolated skills.
1. Shadow Hits
This is a great way to reinforce technique when you have more than one player. You can have one or two players working behind the hitter to get extra reps on the TopspinPro while waiting for their turn.
2. Movement Drills
Movement drills are excellent for using when you have larger groups of players. It's a great way to the whole group moving with no lines. It's also useful for conditioning work during smaller groups and it keeps everyone engaged with heart rates high!
3. Station Drills
Station drills are great for keeping younger players engaged. You can add any type of station that helps with their overall development, it doesn't even need to include a racket or ball. The more they move their bodies in different ways, the better they will become overall as a player. Station drills are also useful for conditioning classes for older players.
Introducing your child to tennis is about more than just creating a potential tennis star. It's about spending quality time with your child, teaching them a new skill, and encouraging a love of physical activity that will benefit them throughout their life.
Remember to keep the drills fun, engaging, but slightly challenging. With patience, encouragement, and consistent practice, your child will develop their skills and gain a love for tennis.
Let us know what you think about Tennis Drills For Kids below. We also love to see players in action. Feel free to tag us on social using @topspinpro or #topspinpro or send us videos direct for a chance to be featured on our pages.
Where Can I Get More Tennis Drills For Kids?
Where Can I Get A TopspinPro?
You can find out more about the TopspinPro here.
Why Is It Important to Practice Tennis Alone?
Practicing alone is crucial for players looking to improve their overall game. It allows players to focus on individual techniques and skills without the distraction of another player. Practicing alone also enables players to build their confidence and develop their own playing style. For more in-depth info you can read our article "How To Practice Tennis Alone"
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