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View Full Version : Opinions required - Play+Stay


Ash_Smith
12-23-2009, 02:39 AM
Just trying to canvas opinion from the coaches/teachers/etc on the board about Mini-Tennis/Play+Stay/Quickstart tennis.

In the UK we have a competition structure which says under 8's have to compete on a Red court, 8-9's on an orange court etc - you cannot play up early with out special persmission. We took the system based on the Belgian model, but this competition structure is also used in France, Switzerland, Holland, Canada and a few others. Last time I checked the French were producing players - none of the others are particularly.

I have no problem with mini-tennis in the sense that smaller racquets and softer balls are great to get kids playing and learning - i am however against forcing kids to play a certain level based on their age and not their ability.

Your thoughts?

armsty
12-23-2009, 03:44 AM
Play+Stay is the older version of "Hot Shots" which we are using now in Australia. I'm 16, been coaching for about 2 and a half years so this is really my area if finness when it comes to coaching. The program which is pretty damn similar it goes:
Red ball - Ages 5-7 on a mini net between service and baseline.
Orange ball - Ages 7-9 on a full court with lines halfway between the service and baseline.
Green ball - Ages 9-12 on a full court, normal rules.

BUT the ages are a reccomendation, there are challenges which the kids must complete to move up a group. For example, off the top of my head the red ball group needs to rally up to 20 with a coach, use the ready position all the time, change their grip on the backhand between shots, etc. to move from orange to green they must use good tecnique, rally up to 30 with a coach on the 3/4 court, be able to volley rally a bit, serve into the service box consistently well etc. To complete the hotshots program and move to a full court hard ball, etc the kids must be able to think and plan points out, hit to a target, etc.

It's up to the head coach to present the children with the certificate which moves them up a group.

We are building this in our area, with our small club being the first to start the program, and now there's about half a dozen of the 14 or so in the district joining in. We now have competitions for all the 3 coloured balls, including grades for the green and orange ball. Next year we are running tournaments to run parallel with the 4 majors, offering kids trophys, prizes, etc for winning.

5263
12-23-2009, 03:49 AM
Play+Stay is the older version of "Hot Shots" which we are using now in Australia. I'm 16, been coaching for about 2 and a half years so this is really my area if finness when it comes to coaching. The program which is pretty damn similar it goes:
Red ball - Ages 5-7 on a mini net between service and baseline.
Orange ball - Ages 7-9 on a full court with lines halfway between the service and baseline.
Green ball - Ages 9-12 on a full court, normal rules.

BUT the ages are a reccomendation, there are challenges which the kids must complete to move up a group. For example, off the top of my head the red ball group needs to rally up to 20 with a coach, use the ready position all the time, change their grip on the backhand between shots, etc. to move from orange to green they must use good tecnique, rally up to 30 with a coach on the 3/4 court, be able to volley rally a bit, serve into the service box consistently well etc. To complete the hotshots program and move to a full court hard ball, etc the kids must be able to think and plan points out, hit to a target, etc.

It's up to the head coach to present the children with the certificate which moves them up a group.

We are building this in our area, with our small club being the first to start the program, and now there's about half a dozen of the 14 or so in the district joining in. We now have competitions for all the 3 coloured balls, including grades for the green and orange ball. Next year we are running tournaments to run parallel with the 4 majors, offering kids trophys, prizes, etc for winning.

sounds like it forces kids to show some overall level of skills like in karate to move up and not only able to just get balls back enough to win some matches.

armsty
12-23-2009, 03:54 AM
Yeah, the idea of the first group, the red ball/court, is to get the kids rallying. The way we do it, and most would, is during the lesson we'll start off with a sponge ball to rally, as the kids (even us playing at high level) find it good for developing the strokes as we can hit fairly hard and it goes pretty much nowhere. We then do a couple drills, whatever we are up to from the coaching book (greatest coaching book ever thank you wilson) and then at the end, use a red ball to rally and see if they have improved their rallys and can use what we learned during the lesson in that last 3-4 minutes. Whether it's starting the point with the serve we did during the lesson. Or running to the net and volleying during a point or finishing a groundstroke over the shoulder... it's a great lesson.

armsty
12-23-2009, 03:57 AM
Just a quick note. Technically it's called Pee Wee Tennis from ages 5-7 and hot shots from 7-12 or whatever. They overlap a bit on the red ball but once it hits the orange ball, its all hot shots.

Ash_Smith
12-23-2009, 06:21 AM
@ armsty

That's the way it was (or near enough) here when Mini-Tennis was launched a few years ago. It's the competition structure I have the issue with - forcing kids to only play a certain level regardless of their ability.

Steady Eddy
12-23-2009, 09:33 AM
My opinion is that I'd favor flexibility over a rigid system. I don't think 'one size fits all', and think it should depend on the student, and not only on their age, IMO.

armsty
12-29-2009, 12:30 AM
http://www.tennis.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&pageId=13819

Very useful links there. I also have access to the downloads page so if you're interested... I won't give you the actual thing but I'll talk about what's in it if wanted.