Monday, January 17, 2011

Winning with Kids

Winning with kids is dedicated to my coach Nech Demir and the water melon express.

Also special thanks to the many young hearts that have made this section possible. This picture and other footage was captured sometime around August 2008, at Fort Reno.  "Don't use your conscious past. Use your creative imagination to create a past that belongs to your character. I don't want you to be stuck with your own life. It's too little." (another great quote from Stella Adler, thank you).

Warming Up

Warming up is an important part of every tennis game and should slowly elevate your heart rate. Since most of tennis is played on hard courts its advised to "start your engine" by gently moving your feet at moderate pace. This baseline drills demonstrates warm-up drills from the baseline.

Technically more advanced players may feel better prepared for match play if their agility is tested during warm-ups. As always, stretches are recommended before "show time".

On hot days it makes sense to wear white. There are other methods of staying cool but this is the most appropriate one for advancing tennis players. Sunglasses are optional.

Volleying and Net Drills

Most kids feel intimidated by big courts and feel better playing between half-court and net. Interestingly this is the zone where most adult players feel least comfortable. For that reason alone this should be the best place for your youngster to develop: knees bent, shoulders relaxed and back straight - this looks like an injury-free stance from my angle!  

For most players a continental grip is simply the best choice. However, time-permitting a semi-western grip can be adopted; topspin will allow for more extreme angle and increased pace. 


Once the player has advanced to net play rallying can begin. This type of interaction can also be practiced with a foam ball against the garage door (or at the airport if you are touring with your little champ).

Net drills can be more tiring if practiced from a standing position; emphasize footwork as part of your workout. Based on preparation for match play these drills are more realistic if shots are being kept in control.

Small steps should be practiced and after shot completion the player should fall back into balance and proper position. Shots are more easily tracked if the head stays still during ball contact; this also prevents any sudden movement to the racket head.

Winning with kids seems easy but it takes practice. "Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality".

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