a lesson FROM my 6 yo

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dozu, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    complete beginner, just another kid taken to the community court by dad and swing that over sized racket at some balls. (but I have never taught him anything yet)

    so I am just soft tossing balls left and right to him... and to my surprise, he started doing shuffle steps to move to both sides and hit his 2 handed shots.

    I praised him on the good footwork (had to then explain what the word 'footwork' means).. Here is his reply -

    " If you run straight to the ball, you might run over the ball and miss it, but if you shuffle step, you can get to the right place and hit the ball"

    I was speechless... maybe the boy has some hope, although the dad's tennis game is already damaged beyond repair lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
    #1
  2. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    LOL...your kid actually said shuttle steps...I don't think many kids that age say that term or even understand it.

    Good Luck....must be fun playing with your own children.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    #3
  4. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    thx - I gave him the term 'shuffle' first, borrowed from here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_G4qGc2Zdk
     
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  5. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    yes.. this is Andre.
     
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  6. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    does he play any other sports/
     
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  7. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    2 seasons of soccer at the township peewee league, and 1 season of swimming.
     
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  8. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i see. those are great sports to go with tennis. swimming because it is such a great workout and soccer for footwork. i have played defense my whole soccer life and from early on that is one thing i was taught to do, and that if you go straight at the ball you are leaving yourself wide open to be juked or overrun it.
     
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  9. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    dozu:
    Although I shuffle step in Tennis, I don't find it quite helpful when going to a long ball. I was taught to take short steps (while still running) in order to correct the footwork at contact.
     
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  10. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    that is correct sir.
     
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  11. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Sounds like you've got maybe 6 more years before he's eating your lunch on the court.
     
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  12. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Cute story, kids are naturals if you just give them a little guidance. I coached the stroke technique and let all the footwork but split steps come naturally.

    My 6.5 year old hit her first ball at 18 months old and can now hold her own with me in a rally. Within 3 years she will be beating me.
     
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  13. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    that's impressive at 6.5
     
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  14. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Thanks, she has always been extremely coordinated. Just dumb luck I guess. A well coordinated kid who was exposed to tennis from such an early age.
     
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  15. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

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    my son is 2 but hasn't shown too much interest in hitting with the tennis racket. He hits baseballs, and does his little basket ball but he will only play with the racket.
     
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  16. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Balloons work wonders. Hang one from the ceiling on a string at just the right height. He will hit low to high. Then use balloons off the string.

    Kids learn fast. My girl went from balloons to foam balls to low compression balls very fast. By age 3 she could hit from the baseline fairly consistently.
     
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  17. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    The big thing here and I'm sure most of you realize this, is to keep the game/activity fun and always try to quit BEFORE the child wants too. You might be able to stretch your session out a little longer with when your out there but the child is going to be more reluctant to go along next time.

    You guys are on the right track though, make it fun, weave in a little "tennis stuff" when there is a chance, let the child discover things for themselves and the kids will grow to love the game. Unfortunately, many parents don't understand this process like you guys. They try and re-live/re-invent their past by pushing too much and then become frustrated with the child's lack of interest.
     
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  18. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

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    I'll give that a try. He hits a tossed plastic baseball with a bat and a few times he hit tennis balls too but his favorite thing to do with his tennis racket is to use it as a cage for his super heros.
     
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  19. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Try doing it yourself and acting like it is the most fun you have ever had. He may want to take the racquet away from you and do it himself.
     
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  20. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LooXCxdk6JI

    I am looking at this and thinking - why is it so natural, for a beginner kid to engage the core, while the adult beginners usually pick up a racket and start arming the ball.

    to me there is only 1 reason... in relative terms, the ball weighs 5 times heavier to a kid, than to an adult.

    What if, we give the adult a racket is 3lbs heavy, to hit a tennis ball that 5 times heavier... would that cure the arming problem?
     
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  21. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure about a heavy ball mattering, but the heavy racquet is probably a good thing to force core usage. In my youth, I used to make extra money doing condemned house demolition in side jobs. Swinging a sledgehammer is a perfect example of having to use the core.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJWqx-zPffs&feature=related

    The same can be said for choosing the correct bowling ball. Too light, and you end up throwing your arm out and/or lose complete ability to control the ball. Too heavy, and you end up not being able to put enough spin and speed on the ball.

    When I changed to a heavier racquet (went from 8.9 to 11.7 ounces unstrung), my game instantly got better and my strokes got more consistent because I was using my whole body more as opposed to just arming it.
     
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  22. Hewex

    Hewex Semi-Pro

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    Rick, I like this example. Imagine swinging a lighter sledgehammer and how much more work the arms and upper body would need to do. As opposed to getting the heavier sledgehammer moving and then letting inertia take over.
     
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  23. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Using 2 hands on both sides like that helps him automatically engage the core more.

    Some coaches like Dave Smith advocate starting all beginners with 2 hands on both sides.
     
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  24. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    This. When my son started playing, it took some time and practice to get him to swing properly and engage the core with a one-hand FH. My daughter is about 6 months into playing and using both hands on both sides, which from day 1 resulted in good shoulder turn and core rotation naturally.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Make him sign a contract appointing you as his manager and coach with a 75% share of the prize money :)
     
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  26. meltphace 6

    meltphace 6 Rookie

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    Have you told him that he's a "human racquet" yet? He sure is going to hear this a lot.
     
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  27. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    some teaching pros half jokingly made the same comment looking at my daughter's golf swing 3 years ago... but her interest has been on/off... like a typical kid's attention span.

    you guys actually gave me a lot of ideas of how to keep kids attached to the game(s)
     
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  28. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    not yet... interestingly, to CoachFLA's point above, he hit a few FH single handed and those didn't look too good... maybe I do have to tell him about the human racket thing.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is this related to kidnapping people and making off with their kidneys for transplants?
     
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