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Rambler124
11-11-2009, 07:27 PM
Can I get anyone thoughts out there that has had some personal experience with these programs?

Whether its a parent with a kid involved, kids who grew up playing tennis under these types of formats, or coaches who currently have or at one time taught using the modified equipment etc..

It seems logical to me and definitely feels like more of a trend that organizations are moving towards these formats. Thanks!

Solat
11-11-2009, 11:05 PM
i like the idea and use as much modified equipment as i can, the balls make a huge difference

unfortunately the parents have expectations of what they did as kids and when you offer such a radically different approach to the old school "shadow swing, line up hit 3 ball" drills they don;t know how to take it.

Many parents don't see "coaching" value in their kid attempting to rally etc with another kid, they want personal coach to kid interaction.

dozu
11-12-2009, 04:56 AM
I never put my 5 and 8 year olds in a program, but coached them myself with similar equipments (lighter rackets, foam balls, smaller courts).

results are good - they can rally, their interest is high. Definitely the way to go for small kids.

ebrainsoft
11-12-2009, 07:28 AM
The USTA tried to start a program in our city but most of the parents and kids thought it was ridiculous to hit with foam balls. Almost everyone demanded their money back after the first practice and the program was canceled.

Why doesn't the USTA start a program where the kids are learning to hit with regular equipment and are learning how to hit proper ground strokes, servers, etc.???

mike53
11-12-2009, 08:09 AM
Can I get anyone thoughts out there that has had some personal experience with these programs?


Program? What program? The concept itself is excellent and the equipment is good enough that I practice with it myself, but where is the program? Good luck finding it. League play and tournaments in QS format? Not where I live.

SFrazeur
11-12-2009, 09:40 AM
The USTA tried to start a program in our city but most of the parents and kids thought it was ridiculous to hit with foam balls. Almost everyone demanded their money back after the first practice and the program was canceled.

Why doesn't the USTA start a program where the kids are learning to hit with regular equipment and are learning how to hit proper ground strokes, servers, etc.???

Because children should use racquets and courts appropriate for their size. This is what adults do, and if it's good enough for you then it's good enough for children. Imagine you having to use a 32"+ racquet and play on a 90' long court. As well as using tennis balls that bounce twice as fast and high as a standard tennis ball. And did I mention using a net almost as tall as you?

-SF

BMC9670
11-12-2009, 12:35 PM
I'm training my 7 year old son (started when he was 5) and although I've not had him in formal QS tennis, we use some of the techniques.

For drills, I feed him buckets of regular balls. I can control the feed so he is hitting the balls with good form and in the strike zone.

When we play games/sets, rally or plays with other kids, I use low compression balls and mark out a 60 foot court, a la Quickstart. He is able to hit properly, with pace and direction, as well as cover the court. It's perfect for his size/speed and he loves it - because he is playing "real" tennis and not chasing balls that fly 5 feet over his head.

This test convinced me of using the low compression balls for his age: We often rally and try and break our record for consecutive shots. With real tennis balls, our record is 14. With low compression balls, it's 62. Not only this, but he's able to use better form, resulting in pace/spin, instead of moon balls.

Here is a good video about the topic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icolu-ny9jI

Once he is big, strong, and fast enough for real balls on a full court, we'll move to that. I figure it will be at about 8 years old.

BMC9670
11-12-2009, 01:02 PM
^^^ I should clarify above - we don't use foam, balls, but low compression balls, which have 25% less speed/bounce on a 60ft court.

Rambler124
11-12-2009, 05:53 PM
The USTA tried to start a program in our city but most of the parents and kids thought it was ridiculous to hit with foam balls. Almost everyone demanded their money back after the first practice and the program was canceled.

Why doesn't the USTA start a program where the kids are learning to hit with regular equipment and are learning how to hit proper ground strokes, servers, etc.???

My understanding is this:

Apparently other countries have been doing these programs for years and the US is trying to catch up. It makes a lot of logical sense to me in terms of the scale of equipment matching up to the scale of the player. Additionally, it allows kids to start playing points earler and get them more involved with the game from an early age. It makese sense. I was just curious if people have had success with this. I can see parents really thinking its ridiculous because its not "real" and even kids feeling the same way as well.

I'm trying to think if other sports do this? Basketball certainly uses different heights on the goal. Baseball's equivalent may be teeball? It seems logical to me but I wonder if its practical for our programming where I teach....

BMC9670
11-13-2009, 06:23 AM
My understanding is this:

I was just curious if people have had success with this. I can see parents really thinking its ridiculous because its not "real" and even kids feeling the same way as well.



I'm having success with low compression balls/ 60ft court because my son (7) can actually play a real game with good form, shot direction, volleys, and strategy. He loves it! When he plays with other kids with regulation balls on a regulation court, it falls apart really fast and they get bored. You need really good and developed kids of equal ability to do that or feed them balls under controlled situations.

I feel it's really helping his stroke development and love of the game.

BMC9670
11-13-2009, 06:31 AM
To add: I think because official QS programs are new and scarce, people are skeptical. We tried to play in some QS tounaments this past summer, but the two we could find didn't have enough kids.

Also, as Rambler points out, almost every sport starts kids off with modified equipment and/or technique. Why should we expect 5-10 year olds to be able to handle the same equipment as adults and pros? Of course, there are exceptional kids, but loss of interest and injuries would seem to be the logical result most of the time.

BMC9670
11-13-2009, 06:46 AM
My understanding is this:

Apparently other countries have been doing these programs for years and the US is trying to catch up.



There seems to be some evidence of success. Look up Sparta Academy in Moscow. They are turning our a higher rate of Top 100 WTA pros than most other places combined using similar techniques. Sharapova, Dementiava, and Safina began there. Also, apparently Justine Henin began this way.

I've not heard of any on the men's side.

RadfordGirl
11-13-2009, 03:55 PM
FYI: Just so you'll know at Sparta they do not use Foam balls, but regular old tennis balls. Foam balls are to expensive (I had a Russian player that I worked with confirm that. She was there last year).

Having the scale down equipment so kids can rally does work. I have 3 & 4 year olds rallying with their parents every Saturday morning. They key is teaching good tech that you can communicate it effectively to the kids.