This short clip (filmed live in Finland) shows how we are developing simple awareness of space and the ability to send the ball away from the opponent at orange and early red level.
Our observation is that in general, children spend too much time spent hitting balls down the middle of the court, usually with the forehand. This usually starts with a feed from the middle. There is also too much emphasis on achieving rallies of a certain number for no real reason. As a result, there is no requirement for the players to move because the ball is not requiring them to move.
The solution is to make courts short and wide to reduce the need for speed and to create angles and space.
Activity: Developing Awareness of Space and Angles
- Never start from the middle as the server or returner; pick 4 spots on each baseline.
- The returner chooses where to stand to return, and then the server chooses where to serve from.
- Neither player can start from the same spot for 2 consecutive points.
Watch the clip to see the activity in action!
1. Even at a very young age, players will be looking for the empty space on the court.
2. Players have to move so the whole stroke process is challenged – but they learn early on to deal with that.
3. Players have to direct the ball in different directions. Early development of path, angle and speed
4. Players have to think. You can see at this age that decision making doesn’t come quickly or easily.
The added bonus is that tennis is much more fun because when it is dynamic!