Tennis is a great sport for kids. Not only does it teach them valuable life skills like concentration, dedication, tactical thinking and self-confidence, but it has a whole range of physical developmental benefits for them too, such as hand eye coordination, gross motor control, balance and body coordination, flexibility, agility and speed.
Most kids who play a sport such as tennis spend hours watching their sporting heroes on TV, and dreaming of playing just as skilfully and effortlessly someday. Whether your child is just starting out or has been playing tennis for a while, there is always room for learning and growth – so in this article we have shared some top tips for kids that will help to improve their tennis game.
Practice Controlling Your Serve
The serve is the most important shot in tennis so it’s crucial to spend time on getting it right in order for kids to improve their game. Take the time to set up the shot, focusing on accuracy of ball placement, rather than how hard and fast you can serve the ball to your opponent.
Many new players try to hit serves as hard as they can at 100% velocity, however, the stance, toss and weight transfer are the fundamentals of a serve to focus on first.
Your stance should be well balanced and positioned so that the rest of the serve flows easily. The toss of the ball should be consistent so that you can hit the ball in the best spot every time, and your weight transfer will use your body’s momentum in the serve to increase your serving power.
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Position Your Back Leg Correctly
The number one cause of missing a shot in tennis is because the player is not positioned correctly. A player may have a good stroke technique but if their footwork is not on point they will be off balance and lunging to get to the ball.
It’s important to ensure that you have your bodyweight fully loaded onto your back leg before playing every shot. Getting your weight behind the ball like this will allow you to transfer that weight and power into the shot, and make for a much more consistent play.
Stick To A Pattern
It is extremely important for beginners to find a pattern of play that works for them and stick to it. This allows them to practise and rely on the shots that they are good at instead of losing focus and becoming scattered by trying to play too many risky shots.
Professional players will only have one or two patterns of play throughout a match. They always try to hit their strongest shots by delivering what they know will work. Don’t try to get too creative on the court, instead find your pattern and stick with it.
Don’t Be Reckless With Your Shots
While you’re still learning, it’s recommended that you don’t get too reckless with your shots. Instead of aiming for the line every time, pick an area of the court where you know you can play a solid shot without putting your game at risk.
By doing this you will win more points and your confidence will grow. With this added confidence, in time you will become more comfortable at pinpointing your shots closer to the line.
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Identify Your Opponent’s Weaknesses
In identifying your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, you can then base your game plan around this information by targeting their weak points and trying to avoid any opportunity for them to play to their strengths.
Every match has a five-minute warm up beforehand. You can use this time to hit various shots to your opponent and see how they react to them and therefore identify their weak spots and any tendencies and patterns. This will allow you to strategize and come up with a game plan to defeat your opponent based on those strengths and weaknesses.
Have Plenty Of Water And Snacks
This may not seem like an obvious tip that will help improve a child’s tennis game, but if you watch the professionals play, you’ll notice that they will be sipping on water or a sports drink and nibbling on a snack during each changeover.
It’s important to make sure you have enough fluids and slow-release energy snacks for the duration of your game. This will help to keep you hydrated and energised during the game, both very important factors if you want any chance of winning.
Extra Tennis Coaching
Another great way for kids to improve their game is to enrol in a tennis camp. Australian Sports Camps run 3-day Tennis Coaching Camps over the school holidays for kids aged 6 to 16 years.
The programs are run by an experienced coaching panel with guest appearances by leading state or Australian players and coaches. The camps provide children with the chance to meet their sporting idols and make friends while having fun playing tennis. The innovative program covers all facets of tennis, taught within top quality facilities and is designed to improve a child’s tennis skills and maximise their enjoyment of the game.