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Thud and blunder 06-13-2013 01:43 PM

Games for kids
 
I've been put in charge of a series of tennis sessions for kids at a school fun day.

3 groups; 7-8 years, 9-10 years, 11-12 years. Half an hour each, so I should be able to fill the time in fine, but I would like to give it a bit of structure. The important point is that these are just normal kids who might take tennis as a weekly after-school activity, so ability range would vary considerably and average probably won't be that high.

Any good ideas for little games that can keep such groups interested? I don't know how many kids will sign up, but I'm not anticipating overwhelming numbers, especially as we are running two courts simultaneously.

All ideas much appreciated.

Lukhas 06-13-2013 02:39 PM

The "3 points". One kid alone, two to three kids on the other side. Underhand engagement in the middle of the court, reply in the middle of the court, then try to win the point. First kid with 3 points replace the one alone, and points are therefore erased. I prefer the variant with 2 points so the format gets faster. Or even a variant with 2 kids on one side and more than two on the other side, but only need to win one point to go on the other side.

10s talk 06-13-2013 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thud and blunder (Post 7505301)
I've been put in charge of a series of tennis sessions for kids at a school fun day.

3 groups; 7-8 years, 9-10 years, 11-12 years. Half an hour each, so I should be able to fill the time in fine, but I would like to give it a bit of structure. The important point is that these are just normal kids who might take tennis as a weekly after-school activity, so ability range would vary considerably and average probably won't be that high.

Any good ideas for little games that can keep such groups interested? I don't know how many kids will sign up, but I'm not anticipating overwhelming numbers, especially as we are running two courts simultaneously.

All ideas much appreciated.

Adios everyone lines up across the net, one student goes to the middle of the service box (at the net) he/she will volley until they miss... then everyone says Adios, and a new person has their turn.... make each shot slightly more difficult so the same person doesn't get 5+ shots

Ghosts in the graveyard..... everyone gets in a line, then hits a ground stroke, if their shot is good they go to the end of the line.... if they hit it out, they go to the graveyard (the feeders side) and try to catch a shot before two bounces... if they catch a shot they go back in line.... eventually you have one person, if their shot is good, and no one catches it they win... if their shot is out, everyone goes back in line, and the person who hit the shot goes to the graveyard

Line game teach everyone the different lines, and areas of the court. Start everyone on the baseline facing the net, BE SURE TO SPREAD THEM OUT so they don't trip over each other !!!!!!!!!! then call a line/area and everyone races to the line/area.... last person is out

Lines/areas include net, fence, singles/doubles sidelines, alley, service line, service box....It is fun to yell fence, and point at the net :twisted:

Always end with A racket race........students pair up, one stand on the singles sideline.... one on the doubles sideline.They face each other, and balance the racket vertically with 1 finger on their RIGHT hand..... the head of the racket touches the ground, the handle is balanced with one finger

IT IS VITAL TO CHECK TO SEE EVERYONE IS LINED-UP PROPERLY !OR THEY WILL RUN INTO EACH OTHER

then ON Your mark, get set, go.... and they grap each other's racket before it falls

Thud and blunder 06-14-2013 03:42 AM

Thanks, guys; great suggestions, I really appreciate it.

Lukhas, the game you suggest is what we call 'king of the court'. I like it cos it's quite adaptable, and also, if one player is dominating, the coach can always step in for a turn and dethrone the king :)

10s talk, some great ideas, thank you! Although I think I'm going to pass on the 'racquet race' game; I don't want to assume liability for any head wounds etc :)

How do you suggest adapting the games for the different age groups (besides using softer balls and playing from the service line for the younger ones)?

Lukhas 06-14-2013 05:58 AM

Depends of the skill level and number of people. If the skill level is similar, there's no need to separate the groups. I tend to prefer when there are 4 players on one court, maximum 6, and at 6 it's already tricky.

Thud and blunder 06-14-2013 06:18 AM

They'll be three different age groups at three different times. Numbers unknown; if I have 6 or so, I guess it's King of The Court doubles...

goran_ace 06-14-2013 06:25 AM

Other suggetions... for younger kids who are still developing coordination and motor skills I liked to do a relay race where they have to hold their racket out in front and carry a ball on it. For example line them up on the sidelines and have them carry the ball to the other side then hand it off to another kid. If you have a lot of kids you can do teams and have them compete, otherwise you can have everyone on one team and have them see how many exchanges they can do without the ball touching the ground.

King of the court is great if you have kids who are advanced enough to play out points. I also like to play around the world if you have a large group so there's not a lot of waiting around.

The important things are to make sure its fun and to keep everyone involved. You can't spend a lot of time working on one kid and expect the rest to wait in line patiently or you will lose the attentin of hte whole class in a hurry. Also, before anyone swings a racket (e.g. at the start of a drill/game, or you can even do random checks) I used to make everyone stop and spread their arms out (with racket in hand). If you can touch someone then you are too close and we can't resume play until the line moves back or the kids move to proper spacing. Finally, have fun doing it. Kids will feed off your energy. You're not out there to develop a future Wimbledon champion, you're there to introduce them to the game and make it enjoyable so they want to come back next session.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10s talk (Post 7505766)
Ghosts in the graveyard..... everyone gets in a line, then hits a ground stroke, if their shot is good they go to the end of the line.... if they hit it out, they go to the graveyard (the feeders side) and try to catch a shot before two bounces... if they catch a shot they go back in line.... eventually you have one person, if their shot is good, and no one catches it they win... if their shot is out, everyone goes back in line, and the person who hit the shot goes to the graveyard

We used to call this game Jail. Kids love this game. If the last person misses and everyone is released we all yell 'jailbreak!' and you tell the kids to run back over and grab their rackets and get in line again. Good things about this game are that it keeps them all involved and you can adjust what your definition of 'in' means. For pee-wees just starting out I just want them to clear the net so anything over the net is good. As they get better you can play doubles court, singles court, just no man's land, etc. and also vary what kind of shot they hit and from where.

Thud and blunder 06-14-2013 06:30 AM

Brilliant; thanks.

This Jail / Ghosts game sounds like a lot of fun and a good way to keep everyone involved.

Also, really appreciate the suggestion to check spacing. Some of these kids like to close their eyes and swing out of their sneakers, and I don't want anyone losing any teeth!

goran_ace 06-14-2013 06:54 AM

I'd recommend keeping your lesson plan on a card or piece of paper to bring with you in your pocket or in your bag. Unless you have a lot of experience teaching kids it's tough to go out here with only a mental plan because things can move faster or slower than you expect. Also, keep the lesson plan flexible, have some options available in case something isn't working out right. What do you do if only 3 kids show up that day? What if 8 or 9 kids show up?

King of the court is a great game, but if the kids aren't able to play out points it gets old really fast. It turns into them missing the feed over and over again or at best a 1 or 2 shot rally. Giving them a second (or even third) chance at a feed is fine, but you can't give them infinite chances because then it holds up the rest of the kids in line and also the king on the other side may start complaining that its not fair. If they can't play out points then a game like jail works well to keep them from being discouraged.

One more suggestion - even if they can't hit the broad side of a barn, set up targets or power ups in the court (when doing drills where there is no one on the other side of the net) to get them to think about hitting to a target rather than just trying to bunt it anywhere inside the lines. We used anything we could find like a hula hoop, a towel, even the cart itself. If they hit a target then they win a piece of candy, they are excused from picking up balls, or they get to keep hitting while the rest of the class has to run a lap.

Thud and blunder 06-14-2013 07:14 AM

I hear you; King of The Court will be very skill-dependent. That's the great thing about Jail; it works with minimal ability, and keeps them all moving.

I hear you on the lesson card. Since I'm new to this, it's good to have some sort of structure, however provisional.

Thanks to all you guys for taking the time to help me out here.

goran_ace 06-14-2013 07:19 AM

Good luck - and have fun!

10s talk 06-14-2013 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goran_ace (Post 7506507)
Other suggetions... for younger kids who are still developing coordination and motor skills I liked to do a relay race where they have to hold their racket out in front and carry a ball on it. For example line them up on the sidelines and have them carry the ball to the other side then hand it off to another kid. If you have a lot of kids you can do teams and have them compete, otherwise you can have everyone on one team and have them see how many exchanges they can do without the ball touching the ground.

King of the court is great if you have kids who are advanced enough to play out points. I also like to play around the world if you have a large group so there's not a lot of waiting around.

The important things are to make sure its fun and to keep everyone involved. You can't spend a lot of time working on one kid and expect the rest to wait in line patiently or you will lose the attentin of hte whole class in a hurry. Also, before anyone swings a racket (e.g. at the start of a drill/game, or you can even do random checks) I used to make everyone stop and spread their arms out (with racket in hand). If you can touch someone then you are too close and we can't resume play until the line moves back or the kids move to proper spacing. Finally, have fun doing it. Kids will feed off your energy. You're not out there to develop a future Wimbledon champion, you're there to introduce them to the game and make it enjoyable so they want to come back next session.



We used to call this game Jail. Kids love this game. If the last person misses and everyone is released we all yell 'jailbreak!' and you tell the kids to run back over and grab their rackets and get in line again. Good things about this game are that it keeps them all involved and you can adjust what your definition of 'in' means. For pee-wees just starting out I just want them to clear the net so anything over the net is good. As they get better you can play doubles court, singles court, just no man's land, etc. and also vary what kind of shot they hit and from where.


my version of jail..............everyone lines up like ghosts in the graveyard... they hit a shot, if it is good they go to the end of the line.... if their shot is out, they go to jail (stand in the alley), there are a maximum of 2-4 spots in jail, if the jail is full the first in, is the first out.... the goal is to be out of jail when the ball basket is empty, or you have to pick up balls

the kids in jail can yell go to jail while others are hitting :twisted:

mr_fro2000 06-14-2013 10:56 AM

10s talk these are some great games you suggested... thanks!

10s talk 06-15-2013 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr_fro2000 (Post 7507201)
10s talk these are some great games you suggested... thanks!

Thank You !

I am a former USTA clinician, and these are old USTA games. Unfortunately the USTA thinks they have to come up with a newer, and better version of tennis every few years. The new programs are questionable at best....there are plenty of games, and drills unrelated to tennis in 10 + under tennis.

I ran a CTA program that grew to 400 students in three years. The USTA should use tested methods, not theoretical nonsense.


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