There’s a lot of pressure on coaches and parents when it comes to keeping kids engaged in tennis.
You need to push and encourage the kids enough for them to see growth and stick with the sport.
But you also can’t be too hard on them, as they’ll start hating the very idea of the game, let alone actually practicing.
Achieving this balance can be difficult. Especially because of how important it is.
Kids that play an organized sport tend to have healthy muscle growth, reduced risk of obesity, better social skills, and much more.
And do you know the types of kids that stick with sports?
The ones that succeed. The ones that see progress.
And there is no greater way for kids to see progress in tennis than developing a core of agility and quickness skills.
But how can we make the drills needed to develop these skills something kids want to do?
As you can see, the pressure is on us.
But don’t worry!
By simply understanding you need to make specific alterations to the quickness and agility drills you already know, to make them more kid-friendly, 3 things happen:
- Kids will enjoy the drills more – kids will enjoy drills that are altered for them, even without a racquet in their hand
- You become better equipped for teaching kids – this will make you a better coach and tennis-parent
- These kids will more likely see success – this is perhaps the greatest gift to give to your children or students
Let’s take a look at three changes you need to make when you’re teaching kids agility and quickness drills.
We’re going to start with duration, simply because if you get this wrong, you can turn an otherwise fantastic drill into a negative experience.
While each child is different, there are a few rules you can adhere to to ensure success.
First, start off slow. The kids are just getting started on these drills and you don’t really know what they can do, how well they can do it, and for how long.
15 to 20 seconds is a great place to start for each drill. This lets them give it a shot without tiring out.
If after 3 reps of each drill, the kids still have lots of energy, then you can increase it a little bit at a time.
If, on their 3rd rep of the drill, the kids tend to slow down a lot, you know you need to scale back the length of each drill.
In between each drill, you’ll want to make sure the kids have a chance to rest.
This is easy to do if you have several kids doing drills one at a time, as everyone will get a chance to rest when it’s not their turn.
A good rule is to have 2 or 3 times the length of a drill for the resting period. So, if they’re doing 20-second drills, let them rest for a minute before they go back up again.
Make it special
You don’t need a lot of special equipment and training aids to do some agility drills.
But if we want our kids to be really hooked and invested in these drills, those aids can become a deal-breaker.
With the right aids, used the right way, you can make drills that feel special to do.
These can be the most exciting part of practice for these kids, instead of something they have to get through before they can start hitting balls around.
When picking out a training aid, don’t just focus on function, look at the fun, too.
This might seem backwards. But it doesn’t matter how good a training aid might be if no one uses it in the first place. By making sure it looks enjoyable, you’ll get the kids lining up to try it out.
Luckily, you can find a ton of effective and fun training aids right here!
Also, you can see the ideas in action if you check out this video:
By altering your drills to be more dynamic and friendly for kids, you’re much more likely to make lessons stick, skills gained, and fun had.
Once that happens, the kids will be hooked and you can feel the pride and accomplishment of doing this right.