This is another question I received from a young tennis coach and I wanted to share my response with you…
“I know that 3 or 4 is a very young age, but are you their first coach? Have they taken any tennis lessons before? If yes, were they private or groups?
– With this young age group, you want to do a lot of hand-eye coordination exercises and some basic techniques (don’t go into details and do not expect them to do things perfectly from the beginning).
– If they are new to tennis, I would introduce a lot of games like “throw and catch”, teach the lines, ask them questions about tennis (who is their favorite tennis player; if they know the parts of the racquet, etc.), do drills and games such as “Jail Breaker”, “Caterpillar” (both are games that kids really enjoy), “Potato Race” (for speed and fun competition), etc.
– Teach them the basic forehand technique in the first lesson but don’t do it for more than 15 minutes (the rest should be all kinds of fun drills and games) and very importantly, do not make them stay in line for more than 1 minute at a time; they get bored easily, therefore, you should keep them active all the time.
– If you have to work with them individually, give a task to the others (pick up balls, jump rope, bounce a ball, etc.). Have them pick up balls doing fun competitions like asking them to see who can make the biggest pile of balls on the racquet, etc.
– Another important aspect: when I teach kids younger than 6 years, my lessons are no longer than 45 minutes. I prefer to keep it short and intense than having them run around for 1 hour, which can be exhausting for them. For 3-4 years olds, I would keep the lessons shorter – 30 minutes.
– Make it fun!”
Certified Tennis Coach
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