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How to Teach Tennis to VERY Young Children (3-5 Years Old)

young tennis student

As a tennis coach, I sometimes get asked how to teach the sport to very young children, specifically those aged 3-5 years old. In this article, I’d like to share some tips and techniques that have worked well for me in the past.

Firstly, it’s important to consider whether the child has had any prior experience with tennis. If they have, find out whether they’ve taken private or group lessons. If they’re new to the sport, focus on hand-eye coordination exercises and basic techniques.

Introduce plenty of games like “throw and catch” to help develop coordination, and take time to teach them about the lines on the court. Ask them questions about tennis to encourage their interest, such as who their favorite tennis player is, or whether they know the different parts of a racket.

There are plenty of fun games and drills you can use to keep them engaged, such as “Jail Breaker,” “Caterpillar,” and “Potato Race”. Remember, the aim is to keep the lessons fun and active, so try to avoid making them stay in line for too long. Kids of this age group tend to get bored easily, so keep them moving and engaged as much as possible.

When working with individual children, give tasks to the others, such as picking up balls, jumping rope, or bouncing a ball. Try to make this fun, too, by turning it into a competition to see who can make the biggest pile of balls on their racket, for example.

Finally, it’s important to keep the lessons short and intense. For children under 6 years old, I recommend no longer than 45 minutes per lesson, and for 3-5-year-olds, even shorter, around 30 minutes. This ensures they don’t get too tired or exhausted, and they’re able to retain what they’ve learned.

In conclusion, teaching tennis to very young children can be a lot of fun if approached in the right way.
Keep the lessons fun, active, and engaging, and focus on basic techniques and hand-eye coordination exercises. With a little patience and creativity, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they can pick up the sport!

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.

7 Steps for Making a Great Connection with Your (New) Students

tennis coach with kids

The following pieces of advice address mostly to coaches but players can also find some applicable uses:

As a tennis coach at WebTennis24, I often get emails in which players or coaches ask for my opinion on certain subjects. One of them was how to make a good impression as a coach in front of your new students.

In this regard, I made a video that will show you the first 10-15 minutes of what you can do with a new tennis student (beginner or even intermediate). In this video, you’ll find my “magic” formula on how to interact with new students and how to make them feel welcome and excited to learn tennis. It has worked great for me throughout my over 15 years of teaching tennis, and it will guarantee to help you too.

Besides that… in preparation for the upcoming lesson (or a match if you are a tennis player) it is good to develop some “rituals” that prepare you mentally for what comes. 
I used to get quite nervous especially when meeting new students and/or their parents.

So don’t worry: you are not the only one getting nervous; a lot of coaches are too… the students also. If it helps, you can only imagine that your students are more nervous to meet you than you are to meet them. Or, if you are a player before a tennis match, your opponent might be more nervous to play against you than you are.

Here are some of the “rituals” that I do on the way to my lessons in order to ensure that I would be properly prepared and my students will find a true professional in me as their coach:

1. In the car, as I drive to the tennis court, I practice some breathing exercises: take a slow deep breath in – hold it for 4 seconds – release slowly; do this about 5 – 7 times.

2. Say positive things to yourself such as: “I can’t wait to meet my students”, “I love what I do”, “This is going to be fun!”, etc.

3. Get on the tennis court at least 10 minutes before your students arrive; prepare all your teaching gear and be ready early.

4. As soon as you see your students coming towards the court, put a smile on your face and walk to them looking happy to see/meet them. Stretch your hand out and introduce yourself first, then ask for their names (memorize it).

5. As you can see in the video I mentioned above, it is important to ask your students questions, and find out about them; that would make them feel welcome and important.

6. If you get nervous, smile; smiling is a great way to help you relax; also, ask your student questions during the lesson: “what do you feel about what I just taught you? does it make sense? does if feel natural?” etc.

7. And last… actually this should have been first: make sure you have lesson plans ready (a general plan of drills and things you want to teach before you get on the court). I sometimes carry little pieces of paper with notes that I find important to say or do during the lessons. This helps me to know that I do not leave things out and takes some of the pressure off considering that I don’t have to remember everything.

I hope all these tips are of help to you. Write in the comments box below and let me know your thoughts.

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.

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