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Oldracquet27
10-08-2011, 07:43 AM
I would love to hear your experiences with teaching kids, what you love the most, what to expect, pros , cons, challenges, anecdotes and everything you can tell me.

I want to start teaching my daughter and a big group of kids in my neighborhood. Already took the quickstart workshop and i have been talking with some parks about the possibility of starting some kids programs.

Thank u all!

TheIrrefutableOne
10-09-2011, 07:37 PM
I would love to hear your experiences with teaching kids, what you love the most, what to expect, pros , cons, challenges, anecdotes and everything you can tell me.

I want to start teaching my daughter and a big group of kids in my neighborhood. Already took the quickstart workshop and i have been talking with some parks about the possibility of starting some kids programs.

Thank u all!


Ignore the quickstart program, it is terrible. The only good thing about it is the use of the low pressure balls.

Simple advice :

keep them busy

make it fun

simple instruction

add games / contests

if you want more details please give me a contact email

Timbo's hopeless slice
10-09-2011, 07:44 PM
Ignore the quickstart program, it is terrible. The only good thing about it is the use of the low pressure balls.

Simple advice :

keep them busy

make it fun

simple instruction

add games / contests

if you want more details please give me a contact email

Hmm, I think I may wish to, well, refute this.

I understand the 'quickstart' program is very similar to our (Australia's) 'Hotshots' program which I think is a brilliant way to start young juniors.

Group lessons are good, keep them rotating between activities and concentrate on things like their feet and their swingpath, not on where the ball goes.

TheIrrefutableOne
10-10-2011, 03:45 AM
Hmm, I think I may wish to, well, refute this.

I understand the 'quickstart' program is very similar to our (Australia's) 'Hotshots' program which I think is a brilliant way to start young juniors.

Group lessons are good, keep them rotating between activities and concentrate on things like their feet and their swingpath, not on where the ball goes.


The concept of quickstart is good, however the implementation is bad. I was assisting a class this spring, and after 45 minutes of the class a little girl comes up to me and say " are we going to play tennis ? " . She had not even touched a racket yet !

Quickstart has a lot of activities that are a waste of time, and unrelated to tennis.

papa
10-10-2011, 05:22 AM
I'm making the assumption that your a more mature player interested in giving back to the community which I think great - very rewarding process for kids of all ages.

First thing I would recommend is that if your not already certified by a national organization which most aren't, get a copy of Dave Smith's Tennis Mastery - available here at TW or directly from him (he is a member of these boards). He more than anyone I know of will give you all the basics in easy to understand format regardless of what level you are. You really owe it to those your instruct to be doing it correctly - his book goes into all phases of coaching and is around $25 bucks.

So many well intentioned folks attempt to teach kids and really don't know the basics themselves - I see it daily. Tennis has changed dramatically over the last fifteen or twenty years - methods, equipment, stroke mechanics, etc.

I wish you well in your teaching and think you'll find it a very interesting & rewarding endeavor. Some of us have coached for years and I only wish more would give a few hours to get players started, especially kids.

CoachingMastery
10-10-2011, 07:21 AM
From my 35 years of teaching, I can offer a few insights as to the OP's original inquiry.

First off, not to disregard others suggestions, but this concept of "keep it fun" is so badly misinterpreted that many tennis programs feel that if it isn't "fun" (in the perception of 'hit and giggle' or 'romper room' style hitting...where the kids are laughing), that they feel they will scare off the kids.

Remember FUN can be defined in MANY applications and experiences. Long term fun is when kids start to recognize they are not only hitting the ball over the net, but doing it with form and technique they know is relative to skilled play.

It is interesting that sports such as Karate, Gymnastics, Dance, and others, sports that demand discipline and focus on technique over "fun" not only are some of the most popular sports and activities, but they retain their student base quite well.

Kids of all ages actually enjoy learning proper technique. And let me assure you that if kids don't learn a reasonably sound foundation at the start not only will they struggle and become disapointed (when they see other kids pass them up), but they will usually quit and move on to more challenging and demanding sports.

Tennis ends up attracting and keeping for a short time, those kids who are only looking for instant gratification or don't want to be pushed at all. (They usually end up quitting anyway, no matter how easy the tennis program is for them.)

You can indeed make learning proper technique very fun and very rewarding if you learn to do it right. Unfortunately, too many pros feel that if they focus on technique or have high expectations, they will lose their students.

Over the years, my programs have always attracted and maintained large numbers and produced hundreds of top-ranked juniors. Coaching, my teams also averaged over 40 kids per team and we were almost always ranked in the top 5 in California for 22 years. My students loved getting better, loved seeing themselves move closer to hitting like the pros and the fun they experienced lasts a LIFETIME...not just a couple moments of hit and giggle...that doesn't last much longer than the afternoon.

I appreciate Papa mentioning my book Tennis Mastery. For coaches, parents and teaching pros, I wrote Coaching Mastery to address all the issues of what the OP was asking. Both books certainly offer insights to how to teach tennis effectively and effiecently. But there are other resources out there too. I recommend looking at other books too.

Good luck to all those who work with their children or help others learn the great game of tennis!

BMC9670
10-10-2011, 07:47 AM
From my 35 years of teaching, I can offer a few insights as to the OP's original inquiry.

First off, not to disregard others suggestions, but this concept of "keep it fun" si so badly misinterpreted that many tennis programs feel that if it isn't "fun" (in the perception of 'hit and giggle' or 'romper room' style hitting...where the kids are laughing), that they feel they will scare off the kids.

Remember FUN can be defined in MANY applications and experiences. Long term fun is when kids start to recognize they are not only hitting the ball over the net, but doing it with form and technique they know is relative to skilled play.

It is interesting that sports such as Karate, Gymnastics, Dance, and others, sports that demand discipline and focus on technique over "fun" not only are some of the most popular sports and activities.

Kids of all ages actually enjoy learning proper technique. And let me assure you that if kids don't learn a reasonably sound foundation at the start not only will they struggle and become disapointed (when they see other kids pass them up), but they will usually quit and move on to more challenging and demanding sports.

Tennis ends up attracting and keeping for a short time, those kids who are only looking for instant gratification or don't want to be pushed at all. (They usually end up quitting anyway, no matter how easy the tennis program is for them.)

You can indeed make learning proper technique very fun and very rewarding if you learn to do it right. Unfortunately, too many pros feel that if they focus on technique or have high expectations, they will lose their students.

Over the years, my programs have always attracted and maintained large numbers and produced hundreds of top-ranked juniors. Coaching, my teams also averaged over 40 kids per team and we were almost always ranked in the top 5 in California for 22 years. My students loved getting better, loved seeing themselves move closer to hitting like the pros and the fun they experienced lasts a LIFETIME...not just a couple moments of hit and giggle...that doesn't last much longer than the afternoon.

I appreciate Papa mentioning my book Tennis Mastery. For coaches, parents and teaching pros, I wrote Coaching Mastery to address all the issues of what the OP was asking. Both books certainly offer insights to how to teach tennis effectively and effiecently. But there are other resources out there too. I recommend looking at other books too.

Good luck to all those who work with their children or help others learn the great game of tennis!

One of the best posts I have read on this topic. I've said before that it isn't long before kids realize that "being good is fun" and while this may not be true yet for a 5 or 6 year old, it certainly is by the time they are 9 and 10.

You don't need to be a drill sergeant with kids, but I see so many clinics where the exact wrong things are praised because the instructor wants to be "fun". This is dangerous because if kids don't learn the right technique and how to play correctly from the start, they will have a short lived tennis experience or have a hard time breaking these habits later.

I use a lot of cause-effect reinforcement when working with kids. For example, if they use the correct stroke technique and the result is good, I'll say "see what you did? You used the right grip and swing and the ball went right where we wanted". Or if they do it wrong, I won't say "that's wrong", but rather "OK, the ball went in, but it went way up in the air first because your strings were pointing up when you swung. Try pointing them at me and lets see what happens."

I rarely use the blanket phrase "good, or good job", but favor "that's it", "that's the shot we want", or "yep, that's the one". This empowers them to keep doing the good things and correcting as they go.

Also, I like to do a lot of non-hitting movement and hand-eye games, which are really fun for the kids, but develop important skills. Here are a few examples:

1. Mini one-on-one soccer with a foam ball.

2. Space invaders - you at the net with a basket and child at the service line. You roll balls in random directions and they have to shuffle back and forth making the balls roll through their legs. Can do with one or more kids at a time.

3. Juggling - stand across from each other on the alley lines each with a ball. Toss them to each other at the same time. Do 5 and then shuffle down the alley to the baseline and back while tossing to each other.

4. Back Peddle - on "go", they backpedal from the service line toward the baseline, you are at the net and toss a ball right or left, back or forward, and they have to break from their back pedal and catch it on one bounce. Good for depth and pace recognition, reaction, and change of direction.

5. Blind Split Step - you at the net, they face away from you at the baseline in ready position. On "go", they turn with a split step and react to an incoming ball that you have thrown. Easy to adjust for each kid.

I do these kind of games the first 15 minutes or so of an hour session and the kids love them - they usually ask, "just one more".

CoachingMastery
10-10-2011, 08:24 AM
In addition to the great games the BNC posted, I wanted to add one additional comment that I also mention in my Coaching Mastery book:

If you are working with your own kids, (and this does apply to pros as well working with young kids), try to stop your lesson/practice BEFORE the kid wants to.

If you can do this, (and it isn't always easy to determine this stoppage point!), the kid will look forward to the next lesson. If you wait until the kid is begging to quit or is starting to get really tired or being pushed too hard, he or she won't be really motivated to come out again...their last memory of the lesson--no matter how much fun and enjoyment and production they made during the lesson--will be lost when they are pushed to the point of not wanting to be out there any more.

Fuji
10-10-2011, 02:11 PM
In addition to the great games the BNC posted, I wanted to add one additional comment that I also mention in my Coaching Mastery book:

If you are working with your own kids, (and this does apply to pros as well working with young kids), try to stop your lesson/practice BEFORE the kid wants to.

If you can do this, (and it isn't always easy to determine this stoppage point!), the kid will look forward to the next lesson. If you wait until the kid is begging to quit or is starting to get really tired or being pushed too hard, he or she won't be really motivated to come out again...their last memory of the lesson--no matter how much fun and enjoyment and production they made during the lesson--will be lost when they are pushed to the point of not wanting to be out there any more.

Is it weird I do this with my own practice??? It's such a good tip, and I think it really helps stop burn out. If I stop while I'm still having fun, then the next time I'm out it's even better then if I stop when I'm just exhausted and dead tired! :)

-Fuji

Timbo's hopeless slice
10-10-2011, 05:29 PM
The concept of quickstart is good, however the implementation is bad. I was assisting a class this spring, and after 45 minutes of the class a little girl comes up to me and say " are we going to play tennis ? " . She had not even touched a racket yet !

Quickstart has a lot of activities that are a waste of time, and unrelated to tennis.

oh, ok, yeah, that is hopeless, the whole point is to get them rallying as quickly as possible!

Sorry.

BMC9670
10-11-2011, 05:31 AM
The concept of quickstart is good, however the implementation is bad. I was assisting a class this spring, and after 45 minutes of the class a little girl comes up to me and say " are we going to play tennis ? " . She had not even touched a racket yet !

Quickstart has a lot of activities that are a waste of time, and unrelated to tennis.

oh, ok, yeah, that is hopeless, the whole point is to get them rallying as quickly as possible!

Sorry.

IMO, 45 minutes without swinging a racquet is crazy. This is tennis. I use the non-hitting games as a warm-up and for about 15 minutes to get the kids involved right away, while working on tennis related skills/movement.

For the record, I do use low compression balls and smaller racquets for beginning kids, but I don't use the small court dimensions or have them rally right away. I find the smaller courts make them "tap" the balls and if they can rally right away as beginners, chances are they are not using the right technique. They hit a lot of balls within the context of instruction and goal oriented games, but I want them to swing out and not tap.

TheIrrefutableOne
10-11-2011, 06:38 AM
This is how to do it :

2 laps around the court

Shipwreck... a game in which the kids learn, and race to the different lines/areas of the court

Teach the Forehand Volley..... it is an easy shot, and helps develop confidence

Adios .... a game where students volley until they miss, when they miss everyone yells adios, and it is the next students turn..... make each volley a little harder so the same student doesn't have more than 5 or so shots

teach forehands.... you might start with students doing drop hits, 2,3, or 4 lines depending on the size of the class

Ghosts in the graveyard game

Racket race game..... kids love it :smile:

Oldracquet27
10-11-2011, 07:22 AM
I have to say that i took the quickstart and without experience teaching i came out with the same conclusion. I did not mention anything there , coaches were so nice, but deep inside i just thought: " the only thing i will take out of here is the soft balls, some creative games and definitely i will use them in the beginning stage of the students probably more with little kids for obvious coordination lacking. The lines and all of that ? Way too confusing and unnecessary. If i don't want to use the whole court right away i would do some mini tennis drills from service line....
There is a point where you know your student is ready for the next step. It all depends....

BMC9670
10-11-2011, 08:01 AM
I have to say that i took the quickstart and without experience teaching i came out with the same conclusion. I did not mention anything there , coaches were so nice, but deep inside i just thought: " the only thing i will take out of here is the soft balls, some creative games and definitely i will use them in the beginning stage of the students probably more with little kids for obvious coordination lacking. The lines and all of that ? Way too confusing and unnecessary. If i don't want to use the whole court right away i would do some mini tennis drills from service line....
There is a point where you know your student is ready for the next step. It all depends....

Yes, there seems to be two schools of thought on this: learn technique through drilling first or rally and play as soon as possible. Personally, I think it's counter-productive to play matches until kids have a solid technical foundation and can actually use it in a match. I am teaching my own kids (as well as groups) and my son started at 6 and didn't play a match until he was 8, and I feel that was too soon. My daughter started at 6 and is a year in and has not played a match of any kind. If you do it well, they can have fun, learn, and be competitive without actual matches, where many revert to tapping and pushing at early ages. There will be plenty of time for matches after they have a solid foundation, especially if they start young.

THAT SAID, don't let age alone be your guide. Progress them when they are ready. Kids all respond, learn, and develop at different rates.