Tennis Programmes for Your Child
Hot Shots Tennis programmes are available throughout New Zealand. Most take the form of beginning tennis lessons. While these are generally a good and affordable place to start, the ideal programme will offer your child a place to progress and participate by offering opportunities to play. Junior Interclub Team Tennis is gaining in popularity because children can learn in team practices and compete in team matches. Listed below are some characteristics of an outstanding tennis programme.
- Younger children (ages 10 & under) participate on scale down courts (either 36″ or 60″ courts) use smaller racquets along with lighter and slower balls. Scaling the game to the size of the child makes it easier to learn and play. After the basics are learned, your child will develop the skills necessary for hitting with direction, height, depth, spin and power. In playing sessions, children can begin to understand and practice simple tactics.
- Team play is fun for children. They like the camaraderie of playing with friends and teammates and the support and encouragement of a good coach. It is fun to be with friends and to wear a team uniform. Team matches are also an excellent way to introduce your child to competition.
- Competition is important because, when used appropriately, it will motivate your child to develop and also accelerate that development. As mentioned previously, team matches are an excellent way for kids to compete. Find programs that offer different levels of competition based on the ability and experience of the child. The first stages should be festival like with plenty of activities and modified match situations. These matches should be short in duration (half day events would be the maximum) with no documented results. Being at or near the bottom of the list is very discouraging, and kids in that situation will lack confidence and will probably look for another sport or activity.
- Individual competition should be conducted using round robin or compass draw formats. (See Main Draw www.maindraw.co.nz). These formats allow children to play many matches against a variety of players without being eliminated. Matches should use shortened scoring methods or even times matches.
Qualified coaches and pros are critical to the success of any programme. All Hot Shots coaches have received special training on how to work with children. Children are active, having fun, learning new skills and making new friends during the programme. The coaches are encouraging and motivating and engaged in the lesson or practice and having fun on the court.