Khrystsina Tryboi, a tennis pro at MatchPoint in Brooklyn, N.Y., co-authored this article.
The QuickStart Tennis program provides many advantages in learning how to play tennis from a young age, and has helped coaches and instructors instill the game in its young players.
This program gradually builds skill sets that are essential in the development of successful tennis players. The low compression tennis balls, smaller rackets, lower nets and shorter courts make it much easier for young players to experience many facets of the game, without needing the strength, balance, and coordination to play on a regular court. Most importantly, in any children’s program an emphasis has to be placed on the fact that kids just want to play and have fun. Therefore, many elements of the QuickStart Tennis program are designed for children to enjoy themselves on the court.
A typical hour of QuickStart begins with a group warm-up. All of the kids participate in a series of aerobic exercises for five minutes prior to being split up into groups. This is done to ensure that everyone gets plenty of chances to play, which helps keep the children engaged and focused. On the court, the kids go through various drills and games, which are specifically tailored to suit younger and smaller players. Tennis-specific activities focus on the development of proper technique to ease transition into the regular court and set up children for success. Additionally, the coaches need to make sure to incorporate various games and challenges which aid in developing overall coordination and efficient movement. This balanced approach to teaching tennis provides the best options for parents who are looking to have their child develop into a tennis player, as well as those who are simply seeking a fun, extracurricular activity. The concept of teamwork is instrumental in bringing kids of different backgrounds and abilities to work in unison. Coaches need to make sure to emphasize this idea to prevent disputes and encourage a positive learning atmosphere, which will help kid’s grow to love tennis.
Another unique feature that can be added to QuickStart programs is the hosting of tournaments. While these tournaments will provide the children with match play experience, it also teaches kids the rules of the game, as well as the importance of sportsmanship. Playing in these tournaments give kids a firsthand experience in understanding the rules of the game in addition to helping them deal with winning and losing. These tournaments can also serve as a motivational tool, helping the coaches stimulate the young athletes to work towards a specific goal.
QuickStart programs and youth tennis have really done a lot in developing the way tennis is taught to young players. As we try to grow the sport of tennis in our area, these programs become nearly essential in allowing kids to get into the sport and stay with the sport, as the courts, equipment and instruction allow them to learn tennis in a fun, productive way.