Juniors learning tennis have a great option with the Tennis Hot Shots program supported by Tennis Australia. There is no real reason that kids as young as six upwards cannot start to enjoy the sport, and the Tennis Hot Shots program is designed to involve the children as much as possible with the racket and ball.
Low Compression Balls
The Hot Shots Program advises the use of low compression balls when kids first start to learn, these balls have many advantages including being slower than standard balls.
This means that the kids have more time to play their shots and rallies last longer which in turn means that the kids play more shots. It also gives the advantage of making teaching students easier, and this includes the important area of hitting the ball at the optimal striking zone.
Red Ball – Foam or Felt – 85-105cm
Orange Ball – 105-120cm
Green Ball – 120-135cm
Yellow – 135-147cm
The coloured balls up to Yellow are not only slower but are designed to bounce lower that suits smaller players and helps develop skills.
The Appropriate Size Court
Once you have selected the correct coloured ball then the court size must be appropriate. The size of the court must be applicable to the physical size of the players. Kids under ten years old will struggle to cover a full-size tennis court.
If this happens it will limit the times of rallies and will make the formation of any tactics null and void. It also means that proper footwork cannot be learned, as the kids have to use more steps to reach the ball.
Using a Yellow Ball will also hamper development, as it travels faster and bounces higher so making approaching the net really hard for the shorter players. They will be easier to pass and susceptible to the lob.
This is why a smaller court is imperative, it allows the students more time to get into position and to try more adventurous tactics like rushing the net.
The Tennis Hot Shots Program has an ethos that students have fun whilst they are learning. If the kids enjoy their lessons they are more likely to want to return, this is done by keeping the kids engaged all the time.
The old way of coaching had kids queuing in line waiting to play a particular shot, the children got bored and many left the sport before they had a real chance to explore the beauty of tennis which is match play.
If you are interested in your kids joining the Tennis Hot Shots Program just take them down to your local tennis club and enrol them in the program. They are sure to have great fun, and the Program will stand them in good stead for their future tennis enjoyment.