lesson plan formula for a perfect tennis practice

As a tennis coach, I’ve always believed that a good coach needs to understand their students and their motivation behind learning the sport before teaching them. Only after gaining this understanding can a coach tailor lesson plans to suit their students’ needs. Recently, I received an email from a fellow coach that motivated me to share my lesson plan formula, which has proven to be very successful in keeping kids and adults interested in tennis and returning to my classes.

The email read: “Many of my younger (8-11yrs old) beginner students are not willing to follow some of my instructions. They seem to be more interested in fun and games than learning the correct strokes; how can I encourage them to be a little more serious about the game?? (Jim)”

It’s common for beginners, especially those aged 8-11, to prioritize fun games over technical instruction. The repetitive nature of stroke practice can be boring for them. To keep students engaged, coaches should design lesson plans that combine both technical knowledge and fun. With that in mind, I’ve developed a lesson plan formula that I’ve used for years to great success with kids and adults alike.

Here’s my lesson plan formula for a perfect tennis practice:

Step 1 (10 minutes)
Always greet and welcome your students with a big smile on your face, demonstrating your enthusiasm to be their coach. Start the lesson with a warm-up routine that includes exercises such as jogging, carioca, side shuffles, and fun warm-up games like “Caterpillar,” “Toss-Catch-Shuffle,” or “Royal Court.”

Step 2 (15 minutes)
After the warm-up, spend 15 minutes on technique practice. Begin with shadow strokes, and then use a basket to feed various technique drills like three along the line, basket drills, etc. The technical drills should be conducted at the beginning of the class when the students’ attention spans are fresh and they are not yet tired.

Step 3 (5 minutes)
Give your students a five-minute break to pick up the balls and get some water.

Step 4 (10 minutes)
Next, continue with rally games. Even beginners can play fun rally games like “Kings and Challengers” or “In and Out”.

Step 5 (10 minutes)
After the rally games, spend another 10 minutes on technique practice, this time focusing on the serve, volley, and other skills.

Step 6 (10 minutes)
The final 10 minutes of the lesson should be dedicated to footwork drills or games such as “Around the World,” “Potato Race,” or any relay race that gets everybody active and cheering for others. It’s great to finish the class with all the players tired, loud, and happy.

Kids need a balance of technical instruction and fun games to stay interested and focused. Once they begin playing in tournaments, they will understand the importance of learning and practicing the technical and tactical aspects of the game. Therefore, coaches should encourage their students to enter competitions early on in their development, not just to watch others play, but to understand the reason behind practicing those technical skills.

If you’re looking to take your tennis coaching to the next level, consider the Tennis Drills and Lesson Plans for Coaches with more than 900 tennis drills and lesson plans to teach private and group classes, beginner or advanced players.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.