drills to help a 5 yo girl hit the ball?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tennisfan2k, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    My 5 yo girl and 4 yo boy just started tennis, my girl listen and follow very well, but somehow she can't hit the ball. I bounce the ball for her, she is either too early or too late, I use soft balls or foam balls. On the other hand, my son have no problem hitting the ball.

    Is there any drills I can use to help her to hit the ball?
     
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  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Just get her to hit against a wall
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Or get Rafa to come practice his comeback hitting with her.
     
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  5. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Roll the ball to her and let her hit the ball on the ground (like hockey).
    Use balloons for her to hit (I've done this for many years and recently heard of some pro player who got started this way).
     
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  6. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks! Will try a similiar drill on her.

     
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  7. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Probably too hard for her for now.

     
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  8. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    That would be great! Do you have connection with Rafa?

     
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  9. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Nice drill! Will definitely try this one!

     
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  10. Chesnokov

    Chesnokov New User

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    I don't think 5 years old is too early, having taught kids from 4 years and up. Before you go spending money on teaching aides, I would consider starting with a simple forehand volley instead of starting off the bounce. Toss the foam ball to her from about 4-5 away and instruct her to give the ball a "high five" with her racquet. This will boost her confidence and keep her interested and eventually you can transition to hitting off the bounce.

    The balloon and "hockey" suggestions are great as well to get a feel for moving the racquet and feeling the ball on the racquet. Best wishes!
     
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  11. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I would spend a lot of time with what someone termed, "co-operative" hitting.
    May have been Dave Smith. Hitting easy balls back and forth to the middle of the
    court with good net clearance. I suggest to really get this down before working
    on any kind of aggressive shot. Learning to rally well is the entry level skill to
    playing well and enjoying tennis. From there, it's pretty easy to learn to move the
    ball around a bit.

    One competitive element I do add in to get proper targeting ingrained is that I
    stand near one of my smart targets and let them do the co-operative rally
    to that target...that way they start with the feel of taking the ball in the directions of the Smart Targets. Use one of them for awhile, then use the other
    for a while, switching back and forth.
     
    #11
  12. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    I am a teaching pro in wisconsin and the first thing I would work on would be anything that requires hand eye coordination (especially drills that require her to catch something that is coming at her). If you want to use a racquet to hit though I have found that on every toss if you say "bounce" when the ball bounces and "hit" when you think she should be making contact, that helps them to get in a rhythm and time the ball. Have her say it with you and see if she notices the same timing as you do. This has worked very well with most kids that I teach because they have to notice when the ball bounces and how quickly it is approaching there hitting zone.

    All the best,

    -DMcB101
     
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  13. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  14. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    To teach someone to hit a ball,,put the ball-taped to a string on the end of a stick,,dangle in front and have them swing,,hand-eye coordination takes time,,timing a swing to hit a moving ball coming at a person is difficult for adults...
     
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  15. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Eye-hand coordination is both a learned skill and a developmental skill, such that you need to practice it to be good at it, but you also need have certain brain development. No matter how much you practice, the kid won't get it until their brain had reached the necessary development level. It is like bike riding - some kids won't get it until a certain age, even with all of the practice in the world.

    So, do throwing/kicking drills with her. I find that some kids are intimidated by a ball and respond better to a small stuffed animal. I agree with the volley comment above - it is often easier for a kid to hit a ball out the air than to wait for the bounce. Also note that some kids don't do well with slow feeds - they respond better to a faster, flatter ball, so try giving a faster feed.

    If that does not help, try standing next to her and giving drop feeds.
     
    #15
  16. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Another great way is to build hand eye coordination is tossing a very soft small nerf football.

    I played a lot of catch with my daughters in the back yard.

    Throwing helped build muscle memory for the co-ordinated movement that could be transferred to tennis.

    Over time, they learned to catch it from being thrown further and further, higher and higher, and then on the run.

    Then they progressed to overhead catches while running like an NFL receiver.

    All in the backyard with very short session, but a ton of fun.

    I am sure this helped later in judging the speed of a moving ball, and having confidence to run with an eye on the ball.



    The least expensive batting T is a plastic set putting a whiffle ball on top.
    Hitting that ball trained their eye to hit it with something as narrow as a whiffle ball bat.
    Again, a ton of fun right in the back yard.
    Great training for taking a real swing, not just blocking the ball with the racquet (which is what a lot of kids become preoccupied with).
    The whiffle ball bat is so light that learning the correct baseball/tennis swing of aiming the butt at the ball, with a late release of bat/racquet head is easy.
    And you can progress to hitting a thrown ball with a whiffle ball bat - great training later for hitting the sweet spot on the racquet.
    Continue to keep it fun as she improves by challenging her to hit your best pitches - your fastball, curveball and knuckleball. (Obviously don't let on you only are throwing all the balls at the same slow speed, just using exaggerated windups to keep it entertaining.)

    I bought a really cheap toy tennis net when they were small and tossed balls to them in the driveway.
    Again, a ton of fun right at home.
    And you can do a 10 minute session in less time than it would take to drive to the courts and back.
    And it is one on one time with just the two of you.



    Get out in the back yard and kick a soccer ball around. Encourage her to play soccer to develop the skills to start quickly, stop on a dime and change direction as she plays defense.
    No better way to develop tennis footwork.



    Get one of those cheap toy baskets for the driveway to shoot at.
    A ton of fun.
    If she develops an ability to shoot a basketball at a real basket over time it will take a great leg push off to reach the basket.
    Great training that the whole body is used to power a ball - obviously essential in tennis.






    Tennis is hard.

    That is what makes it such a challenging sport to improve at and get really good at.

    It is a rare child that will find it fun to make all the progress in learning to play tennis with only tennis as their way of acquiring all the skills used to play it.

    That is likely for later.

    In the meantime, have a ball!
     
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  17. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Whatever it is that you do, make sure you use proper balls. Foam balls for tennis or those slightly bigger balls Babolat has that are red and yellow for little kids for example and have them use a proper sized racket.

    You can start with movement and having them find their contact point and hand-eye co-ordination drills. One thing I make sure the kids do however is not use a huge backswing. I start with a short backswing and full followthrough. Its quite amazing how quickly they'll learn to hit a tennis ball if you get a few fundamentals down right away. You can do it a number of ways, but keep it fun and make sure they leave the court wanting more and not ask "When are we done?"

    For a 5 year old, 30-40min depending on their concentration level in a private lesson is plenty.
     
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  18. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Nice drill thanks! She is hitting the ball now

     
    #18
  19. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks!

    [QU]I would spend a lot of time with what someone termed, "co-operative" hitting.
    May have been Dave Smith. Hitting easy balls back and forth to the middle of the
    court with good net clearance. I suggest to really get this down before working
    on any kind of aggressive shot. Learning to rally well is the entry level skill to
    playing well and enjoying tennis. From there, it's pretty easy to learn to move the
    ball around a bit.

    One competitive element I do add in to get proper targeting ingrained is that I
    stand near one of my smart targets and let them do the co-operative rally
    to that target...that way they start with the feel of taking the ball in the directions of the Smart Targets. Use one of them for awhile, then use the other
    for a while, switching back and forth.[/QUOTE]
     
    #19
  20. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks. I am also doing some throw and catch with her.

     
    #20
  21. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks. My girl is the type she thinks too much, so her motion is more controlled by her brain than instinct, I need to let her get relaxed. After hitting the forehand well, she is in love with tennis now, always want more when practice.

     
    #21
  22. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks. She can hit bounce balls very well now. Not so good at balling coming front, working on that now.

     
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  23. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks for the detailed reply! I am working on her hand/eye coordination now.

     
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  24. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Very good advice! Will try some on her. Thanks!

     
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  25. tennisfan2k

    tennisfan2k Rookie

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    Thanks! I am using foam balls and some 36 quick start balls. She loves tennis now, and always want to practice more!

     
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  26. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  27. TheIrrefutableOne

    TheIrrefutableOne New User

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    tell her to say hit exactly when she hits the ball (based on sight) this is a trick to make people watch the ball, it works 80% of the time


    the only reason the ball is missed is you take your eyes off the ball..... "watch the ball " doesn't work
     
    #27
  28. nyc

    nyc Hall of Fame

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    I got a 2 1/2 year old and she's a bit too small to wield even the smallest junior racquet. Got her a foam ball as well, but all that was a bit too hefty for her age, tried the balloon method. She ended up using the racquet as a guitar.

    So 2 weeks ago we started using a ping pong paddle and I'm throwing her a ping pong ball from 4-5 feet away. After a couple of tries she started hitting them consistently, "high-five"-ing them. I was amazed how quickly she got consistent at it.

    We then progressed to "forehand", with her standing semi-closed stance, until she got that down as well on a consistent basis.

    We are now working on a single bounce hit - she's starting to get the hang of it too. It's great to watch how quickly she got it (and into it) and I credit the right tools for that.

    Key is to keep it fun and short, and highly interactive - even if it means she's wearing a tutu doing it.
     
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