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topspin64
07-10-2009, 10:12 AM
I am coaching 7-9th grade students and most have had no experience before playing on the team. So, I'm caught between instructing and drilling them (boring to them and me) and letting them just hit around (which is all they want to do... but they will hit high to low, use no proper technique). Can anyone offer any resources for games, drills, tips, etc. to keep them interested and offer good techniques? Thanks.

masterxfob
07-10-2009, 11:20 AM
i've just begun helping a friend teach group lessons, and don't have much experience, but this is how my first class went.

1. introduced the fh and bh grips to the class, and the topspin motion.
2. had students stand at the service line and hit fh
3. then switched to bh

i had about 10 complete beginners (20's to 50's) in the class and only an hour with them, but by the end of the hour most were making good contact and getting the ball over the net. i tried to point out spacing issues, low to high swing, staying sideways, and finishing over the shoulder.

for beginners, it's tough enough to make contact, so i stayed away from analyzing too much. i feel that as long as they can get the ball over the net, they will stay interested. if interested, then they will continue to learn and pick up the finer details about hitting a better groundstroke.

i plan to do the same as a refresher the next class, and then move them back to the baseline afterwards. it's only a 6 week class, but i'm hoping to teach them to volley in the 3rd and 4th weeks, and then to serve in the 5th and 6th weeks. i also plan to hand out print outs of the rules and scoring since time is limited.

again, i'm probably not the best person to comment on this topic, but hopefully it helped.

edit: just to clarify, this is a summer extension class at the local community college. i'd prefer to have the class meet more often, and have smaller classes, but resources are limited.

edit2: if it bores you, maybe someone else should be teaching the class. if students signed up for the class and want to learn, it should be up to the coach to motivate and keep the class interested.

LeeD
07-10-2009, 11:23 AM
Force the whole novice team to watch a pro match on vid, CD, tape, whatever.
Now stick two of them wannabees out against each other, and the rest of the time sprinkled liberally around the court. Tell the spectators to provide auditory advice!
The two players should try to play like the pros, ...similar strokes, prep, movment, action, effort.
The spectators are allowed to jeer and remove the players as they see fit.

topspin64
07-10-2009, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the info. Will use the tips. Thanks for replying.

BU-Tennis
07-10-2009, 08:27 PM
The best thing i've learned from coaching a high school team, mainly composed of novices, is that they can absord, and want to absorb, much more information.

The first thing to do is quickly weed out those who want to get better and those who are there for a fun time. Its ok if someone just wants to be a part of the team but don't let them disrupt practice for those who are really seeking to learn. After you have that done, focus your efforts more on those who want to learn while still paying attention to the others.

Ok, so, now that the weeding is done, its time to focus on the basics. Show everyone how to hit the basic shots for just a little while, and help them with technique for a short time. Remember, focus on only one aspect at a time. The novice obviously has to fix pretty much everything about their stroke, so stay basic. Low to high, and complete swing is the first thing to get done.

Do not constantly harp on what they do wrong technique wise, but make sure to show them basic strategies. Give them targets to hit, and make them hit crosscourt, down the line, etc. This will teach them how to control the ball without focusing specifically on technique.

Just take it easy, and let them hit, it will take thousands of balls before they get the feel of hitting the ball on the strings. So by focusing on strategies instead of technique most of the time, when they do hit that breakthrough and control the ball even better they understand how to use their new strokes.

And make sure to teach them correct volley and serve grip right now because once they get used to the other it is extremely difficult to get them to change.