Mini Tennis Anyone?
What is Mini Tennis?
The aim of Children's Mini Tennis a smaller version of the real game and offers a new and refreshing range of fun experiences in tennis that young Players between 4 and 11 can enjoy, be encouraged in and succeed at. Ken provides constructive, confidence building activities that results in measurable improvement in aerobic ability and tennis skills to LTA standards, provides real achievement rewards and prepares young people for life experiences in a safe environment
There are three stages of Mini Tennis;
RED for Players under 8, using a Badminton sized court with sponge balls low net and small rackets,
ORANGE for 8 and 9s, working on a proper but foreshortened tennis court with 25% compression balls,
GREEN for 9 & 10 year olds, using a full sized court with 75% compression balls.
Each stage is important in order to build on the skills and confidences learned and further develop the Player. Ken applies LTA guidelines for each stage to develop Players of all abilities through to the use of full compression yellow balls at age 11 plus.
What's involved in a Mini Tennis Lesson?
There are four main elements the LTA lesson structure, which Ken undertakes in a FUN way so that children learn by enjoying. These elements are always present but may overlap during a session:
1 Warm Up: focuses attention, physically warms and stretches bodies and reduces the chance of injury.
2 Agility, Balance & Co-ordination: Hitting a ball is probably the most difficult skill to be learned if other skills aren't in place. So Receiving, Sending, Handling and Movement skills are taught, using activities that combine different body movements with and without racket and ball. The idea is to build good muscle memory to serve the young player in tennis or any other sporting activity later in life. Ken is aware that this is a vital age for learning these motor skills.
3 Racket & Ball Skills: This is the main coaching activity. Tennis skills depend upon the ability to handle a racket and hit a ball in a variety of ways. The idea is to allow players to play and learn as they do so, although a minimum amount of simply stated and demonstrated technical input is required, children learn mainly by observation. Ken treats each Player as an individual as children learn these skills at different rates.
4 Games: This as an un-coached activity, which could be a tennis match or not related to tennis. It is however linked to other elements of the session. The idea is to have fun in a team or as an individual, develop friendship and learn as a consequence.
There's an emphisis in coaching of Repetition and Progression to create good muscle memory and increase the range of ability. The aim at this age is not for perfection but to lay down firm foundations which can be built on; developing the control and communication chain through Footwork, Body, Racket and Ball.
Coaching is not an end in itself, or even a sport. Away from coaching sessions some team competition and friendly match-play games and sessions are most beneficial. They involve scoring, winning and not winning, assisting Players to begin make their own decisions, problem solve and start developing tactics in a match-like situation. Players who can will trade over a net, younger Players use floor tennis.This element is a great social learning opportunity. Ken uses a gentle approach to ensure each Player feels successful in their achievements and uses a range of games in order to retain Player's interest.
Parents have approached ken to say that the confidence Players have developed within their tennis life has shown itself in academic subjects.
Working with Players aged under 18 brings with it a great deal of Responsibility associated with:
- Child Abuse
- Fair Play
- Equity and Equality
- The School or Club
- The Game
Ken is trained in these issues by the LTA and Sports Coach UK and is familiar with and uses LTA Mini Tennis Awards and Rally Award schemes and uses Sticker books to encourage and measure progress. He applies a professional manner, has DBS clearance from the Local Authority. He is a qualified 1st Aider and welcomes parents / Teacher to be present during lessons. For very young Players Ken may use parents to assist with the lessons. He views the Player, Parent and Coach as a Team dedicated to improving the Player's tennis