Updated: Jun 5
When it comes to tennis lessons for children, there are four key things they should learn to become successful players. These lessons include the proper stance, understanding the path of swing, using varied grips, and mastering the serve. Each of these aspects contributes to the development of a well-rounded tennis player.
Firstly, the proper stance in tennis is essential. While there is no one-size-fits-all stance, beginners often start with a closed or squared stance. However, the modern approach recommends a semi-open or open stance. Teaching an open stance to young children allows them to see the ball better, while a closed stance emphasises the rotation of the shoulder and upper body. Over time, players will learn to utilise different stances based on the situation during a match.
Next, it's crucial to understand the path of swing. Many beginners struggle with incorrect swing paths, such as hitting down on the ball or failing to follow through correctly. A good tennis instructor will teach children the basics of hitting low to high and finishing the stroke across the shoulder. This technique helps generate topspin and ensures proper form. As players advance, they may develop their own variations in the follow-through, but mastering the fundamental swing path is vital.
Another important aspect of tennis is using varied grips. There is no definitive grip that suits everyone, but there are common ones used by players. The semi-western grip is popular for forehands, while the eastern grip is the traditional choice. Depending on the instructor's approach, different grips may be emphasised. For two-handed backhands, the dominant hand typically mirrors the forehand grip, while the non-dominant hand rests on top. Additionally, players should learn the continental grip for volleys and serves, as it provides versatility in different situations.
Finally, learning how to serve is a long-term process. In the initial stages of tennis lessons, instructors often focus on teaching the continental grip, proper motion, and toss before having the child hit a ball. Two commonly taught service motions are Pete Sampras' and Andy Roddick's. Sampras uses a circular motion with his racket head, while Roddick takes a straight up-and-back approach. Both motions are powerful but differ in technique. Beginners may find Roddick's motion easier to learn, while others prefer Sampras' style. With practice, young players can master either motion.
By ensuring that your child learns these four fundamental aspects of tennis, they will develop a strong foundation for their game. Proper stance, understanding the path of swing, varied grips, and effective serving techniques are crucial elements that contribute to a player's overall skill and success on the court. Encourage your child to embrace these lessons and enjoy their journey to becoming a skilled tennis player.