Recognizing by the fact that some parents come to the court completely void of a tennis frame of reference, this guide was created to to educate parents and coaches who want to effectively teach their kids the game from the grassroots level to the edge of competition and beyond.
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More and more parents and coaches are introducing their kids to the game of tennis. As a certified tennis instructor, I’ve never been responsible for teaching so many children at such a young age. The goal of this guide is to educate parents and coaches on how to introduce the game of tennis to beginning players that are of a very young age and to introduce teens and their parents to some ways of improving their existing games. There is so much more involved in teaching small children than the technical aspects of the game. At this level, there is an argument that it is more important that young children’s focus should be on having fun and playing games on a tennis court rather than looking at the sport as something they should learn to do well. While this may be true, I believe that children at very young ages are capable of understanding the game more than some parents and coaches give them credit for. My experience with working with small children has shown me that they are capable of understanding and developing fundamental motor skills associated with coordination, stroke production, footwork and movement. There are also the elements of child growth and development principles to consider. This includes their central nervous systems, the musculature and skeletal system, and their vision. Parents and coaches must understand that a child is not just a smaller version of an adult player. Children have developmental stages that they must go through before trying to teach them like small adults. What we must do is make the game fit the child, not make the child fit the game. In keeping with the goal of this guide, we must strive to have an understanding of how physical growth and development affects what a child can do and when, and simultaneously try to understand their mental capacity. In a nutshell, we must be able to recognize their limitations. The readers of “Grassroots Tennis…” are actually the students who must learn the way children react on the tennis court physically, mentally, and emotionally. This guide also introduces the reader to stroke development in small children and gives instruction on teaching methods. For the child in the teen years, “Grassroots Tennis…” covers material and information associated with the phases of player development, practice techniques, game styles, and performance. Recognizing the fact that some parents and coaches come to the courts completely void of a tennis frame of reference, this guide also discusses material on giving lessons, explaining techniques, instructing, court safety, making corrections, speaking, using equipment, and organizing & planning. Finally, this guide has photo-illustrated sequences to give the readers a better visualization of the techniques and mechanics of basic and advanced shot-making.