The No.1 Reason Children *Quit* Tennis

(This message is intended for professionals who teach tennis to children or beginning players. If you are not interested in this topic, please share it with a coach or tennis parent who might find it useful – thank you!)
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children having fun playing tennis
The year was 2004 when I got a job working as an assistant tennis coach for a city program.
The pay was just awful but I considered it an opportunity for me to learn and grow as a coach.
At that time I was in my twenties, barely spoke English, and was trying to learn as much as I could to improve my teaching skills.

The “city” was organizing beginner classes and my boss and I were greeting these big crowds of enthusiastic kids who were coming with their parents to learn how to play tennis.
My boss, at that time, was an elderly lady who was kind to kids but did not have too much knowledge about helping beginning players fall in love with the sport.
She would stress the discipline and technique way too much, to the point where most of the players were staying in lines waiting for their turn to hit a ball once in awhile…

As a result, we could see that even though those parents were paying for the lessons 6 weeks in advance, many children started to quit their classes after the first couple of lessons.
By the end of the 6-week session, we were left with barely 30% of the kids who signed up for the classes.

Those 2 years that I’d been working for the “city” taught me a VALUABLE lesson:

PEOPLE PLAY TENNIS BECAUSE THEY ENJOY IT.

And they quit if they don’t.

It’s just that simple…

Now, I have to say that during those 2 years working for the “city” I did not let things continue as they initially were. Here’s what I did:

  1. I talked to my “boss” and convinced her to “rotate” the children so that they learn from both of us (with respect to the other’s methodology). In this way, the kids would get to learn and improve with tips from both of us.
  2. We agreed that we should find ways to limit waiting in line by introducing fast-paced drills.
  3. The technical aspects were discussed and practiced at the beginning and reminded throughout the lessons making sure that while we were teaching those who struggled, we kept the others busy so that nobody was left wandering on the court.
  4. Every lesson should have at least two periods of fun activities that kids would enjoy:
    – one in the middle of the class to take their minds away from the technical and repetitive tasks, and also to bring some excitement after all previous work;
    – another one at the end of the class (last 10 minutes) to allow the kids to leave their classes happy and “loud” so that they have something to look forward to after all the work they put in during the class; and their parents would see that kids were having fun at tennis practice, before picking them up.

This statement has been my motto for the rest of my tennis teaching career:
MAKE TENNIS LESSONS FUN AND THEY WILL KEEP COMING TO PRACTICE.

You might be wondering how can you find drills and games that keep kids interested and excited about practicing their skills?
Well, there are two main ways:

  1. You can search YouTube or the internet and eventually you’ll make a list of drills and games that you can apply with your students.
    But that takes time which you probably would be the best spending with your family or working on more exciting projects.
  2. You can sign up for programs such as Best Tennis Drills and Games for Kids which is a collection of drills and games that I’ve applied with my students during my many years of teaching thousands of beginning tennis players, kids and adults.

I’ve learned what works and what not, what gets beginning players excited, what kind of drills improve their speed, body control, shot accuracy, and consistency.

You can do your own research or just keep things simple and take what others have worked for and know it works.

This is why I created this program for you – to take my proven drills and games that are guaranteed to be loved by your beginning players.

Get access to Best Tennis Drills and Games for KIDS today and make tennis lessons fun for your beginning students.

Be Inspired,

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

Avoid THIS If You Want to Teach Tennis to Your Child

tips for teaching kids tennis

When I decided to teach my (then) 4, respectively 5 year old two daughters how to play tennis I was both excited and terrified in the same time.

I had already enough experience playing and teaching tennis for almost 30 years but putting all my knowledge on the line to help my two daughters fall in love with the sport was a major job for me.

As a tennis teaching professional you can encounter a lot of pressure when it comes to teaching your own children.

Despite that, after a serious discussion with my wife, we have decided that nobody would ever put more passion in teaching our daughters as much as I would do it as a parent and tennis coach.

BUT… there was one step that had to be carefully planned:

How to make my kids take me seriously as a coach and change their perception toward me from the “fun daddy” to… “coach daddy”?

Up to that point, I was the daddy who was coming home and they would jump on his back, go for bike rides, go to the beach, read with them, and have fun.

That was all good in the beginning when we began to transfer those fun activities onto the tennis court, but at some point we had to ease into the technical aspects of the tennis strokes and learn that tennis requires some serious moments when repetition and certain focused activities are not as entertaining as the games my daughters were used to play with me.

Something had to be done. Something that would get my daughters to ask me to teach them how to play tennis and allow me to introduce them to the mechanical aspects of tennis strokes and footwork.

After careful analysis and long discussions with my wife, we both agreed that the best solution to have our daughters be willing to learn tennis from me would be to enroll them into group classes under the guidance of a(nother) tennis coach.

Why?​

We figured that by being enrolled in group classes, our two daughters will see other children playing and enjoying tennis.
They will see other children learning, executing the strokes technique and paying attention to a coach’s instructions.

My daughters, in this way, got introduced to tennis by joining other children of their age and observing how others behave in a tennis class.

That was a turning point! ​

My daughters, soon, decided to allow me to teach them not only the technical aspects, but they wanted to excel by practicing more only to get better and eventually participate in competitions.

Conclusion:​

If you are a tennis parent, don’t try to teach your children yourself… in the beginning!
Allow them to learn by participating and observing other kids of their age, first.
Only after they get introduced to tennis together with other children, they will be more open to learning and working hard… just like they saw other kids doing it.

If you want to learn my step-by-step method and see how I taught my two daughters to play tennis, from the age of 5 respectively 6, up to junior years, visit the WebTennis24 Kids section to follow the “My Daddy / My Coach” video series.
You’ll see live and full tennis lessons (each about 45-65 minutes) in which I share all my tennis knowledge in teaching my daughters how to play and fall in love with the sport.

Have fun teaching tennis to your children!

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

How to Teach Tennis to “Very” Young Children (3 – 4 Years Old)

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 technique (don’t go into details and do not expect them to do things perfectly from the beginning). 
– If they were new to tennis, I would introduce a lot of games like throw and catch, teaching the lines, ask them questions about tennis (who is their favourite 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 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. With 3 – 4 years of age, I would keep the lessons shorter – 30 minutes.
– Make it fun!”

Cosmin Miholca
coach and founder,
WebTennis24.com