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.

Easy Way to Teach the Volley [Video]

The Volley is my favourite tennis stroke to teach, and that’s because I follow a progression that is both educational and fun for my students to learn.

It all begins by presenting the Volley as a “catch” and imagining that the racquet is an extension of the player’s hand.

Here are the steps that I follow (see the video below for visual demonstration):

1. I toss a few balls towards my student’s dominant side and ask her to catch them. While she does that, I emphasise the fact that she does not take the hand back before catching the ball, nor does she follow-through after catching it. So the volley should not have a backswing or a follow-through.
It is a catch and a push. The pushing should come from stepping forward towards the ball, or getting the body weight into it.

2. After getting comfortable catching the ball (by the way, to take some pressure away you can use soft balls such as kids’ balls for the student to not be afraid of being hit in the face), proceed to catching the ball using the racquet.
Help the player imagine that the racquet is a bigger hand and she should attempt to once again catch the balls, this time on the strings. Tell her that she should not be swinging, just tapping the ball so that it goes over the net (by the way, the player should be no more than 6 feet away from the net, at this stage; later on, we’ll show her where to position and how to cover the court).

3. Continue the same drill while the player slides, gradually, the hand lower towards the bottom of the grip. At all this time, the student is taught to hold the racquet with a “hammer” grip (like she would be hammering a nail with the edge of it).

4. Once the player feels more comfortable catching and tapping the ball with the strings holding the racquet with a hammer grip, the next step would be to learn the basic footwork. Explain to her that power, when volleying, comes from catching the ball out in front and moving the body weight into it.
For that, as she prepares to catch the ball on the strings, she has to make a step in the direction of the ball.
(Note: Keep in mind that we are at the beginning stages of learning the volley therefore the footwork that the player learns is a basic one, keeping it simple and not overwhelming her with too much information. Later on we’ll add the more complex movement that requires covering the court and getting to the ball in balance).

Some of the technical aspects, that a coach should pay attention to, are:

  • not letting the racquet head drop below the hand level; keep the racquet cocked so that there is a 90 degrees angle between the forearm and handle;
  • no backswing – racquet stays in front of the line of shoulders;
  • no follow-through – after catching the ball, the racquet comes to a stop and is being brought back in the ready position;
  • remind the player that power comes from catching the ball early and stepping into the shot;
  • the racquet head is slightly open (facing up) so that later on, combined with a high to low push (or punch) will create under-spin which is essential to control the ball. 

For a visual presentation of this lesson, see the video below.

To learn how to teach tennis to children or any beginning player, visit the Kids section or 10 Lesson Plans for Teaching Beginning Tennis Players from WebTennis24.

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.