Tennis isn’t the easiest sport for young children to learn, but if you start kids right, they’re likely to be lifelong players. The key, not surprisingly, is to make sure they’re having fun. The best way to make sure they have fun and learn well is to keep them experiencing success.
Other techniques for making it fun:
- Kids will sense if you don’t think they’re progressing fast enough, and this can discourage them from playing again.
- Every comment should have an element of praise, and many should praise generously. If you need to make a correction, preface it with something positive.
- Kids enjoy counting toward easy goals, like getting six shots in as a group to earn an extra-long game. If you have just one kid, or all the kids have similar abilities, individual goals are fun, too.
- Once the kids know a good selection of games, let them vote on a few choices that fit with the day’s lesson.
- Follow drills with fun, “no-lose” games for the first few lessons, then gradually introduce competition as confidence takes hold.
- Make sure to use the right length racquet and the big, slow balls made for young kids. Most kids like the foam balls better than the felt-covered, and the foam can be useful and fun for adults too.