Originally Posted by Dominik
I might be teaching a young (7-8 year old) boy in the near future.
He's a complete beginner, and I was hoping to get some tips and possible drills/ things to definitely remember to show him during the first few lessons.
For example, proper stance, grip, etc.
Any good beginner games are also welcome (such as mini-tennis).
I guess my general question would be, what things should I focus on teaching such a young player?
Please feel free to offer any advice/experience you may have as well!
Thanks in advance!
You might want to read my series on "Training an 8-year old" on TennisOne.com...I document all the drills and progressions I used to train my daughter...using the same patterns I have used to train world-ranked players.
While some will promote letting kids use what ever feels comfortable to them, (and emphasize having "fun"), you can actually challenge kids as young as 5 or 6 to learn the right grips, footwork and swing patterns that will give the kid a chance to learn tennis within the parameters of solid form. Instead of teaching him or her methods that will perpetually stagnate them (because most comfortable form for most kids and adults for that matter, do not lead to more prolific and effective shots and/or quality play), teach them methods just as all other sports do: teach them the right way with tools to help them quickly master the more uncomfortable or unfamiliar methods.
Don't fall into the ever-more-common philosophy of lowering the standards just to avoid challenging the kids. They are very resilient...which is why sports like Karate, Gymnastics, Dance, Golf and other sports that require...no, demand, more discipline, are doing so much better in terms of attracting kids to their program in many areas.
I won't get into the multitude of coaching techniques, drills, learning strategies, etc., that I have developed in my own 35 years of teaching, but I will say at least don't dumb tennis down in fear of losing kids or making it too hard. You can make learning great tennis a load of fun.
I should also plug my soon to be released book, COACHING MASTERY, (due out in late October. It has over 350 pages, over 300 photographs, and discusses everything about teaching, coaching and, for tennis parents, how to properly train their own kids without leading them down the wrong path or ruining the parent/child relationship.
Hope this gives you some direction. Please check out my series I mentioned as it has been very widely recognized (at least from the vast amount of e-mails I have received from coaches, teachers, and parents from around the globe) that there is some valuable things to help you in your teaching.
Best of luck in to you and your students.