| By Lesley Rosenthal

Tennis is a fun and enjoyable sport for all ages. Students 10 years of age and younger are most likely in the beginning stages of their tennis careers. As an instructor, it is essential to ensure that students in this age bracket start learning important fundamentals of the game. By following a 10 and under curriculum and learning the fundamentals of tennis, this will greatly benefit the next generation of young tennis players.

There are many benefits to players starting in the 10 and under age bracket. Some of these advantages include smaller tennis nets and modified tennis balls, which are lighter and softer moving through the air. Smaller nets and modified balls allow players to become comfortable on the tennis court, while learning how to control the ball. In addition, 10 and under players learn on a smaller court, which accelerates footwork development and confidence. Most tennis programs use modified balls because they are lighter and travel more slowly through the air. This allows the student to work on their strokes at a slower pace and really gain necessary hand-eye coordination needed in tennis. Smaller racquets are also used in ten and under tennis. Using smaller racquets at the beginning of one’s tennis career allows students to become comfortable using the equipment, and allows them to create a grip favorable to them and their individual game.

As students get older, their games will progress and, with that, the size of the court they play on and the racquets they use should change as well. Ten and under tennis can be learned and played anywhere recreationally. You can set up cones in a gym, or garbage cans in a driveway, or you can simply work on your strokes and hit a tennis ball against the wall. Setting up caution tape and using that as a barrier is also a good way to learn. There are many recreational ways that young players can begin to learn and practice tennis.

Tennis is great exercise for smaller kids, as it teaches them good hand-eye coordination, balance, and sportsmanship. It is also a great cardiovascular workout as kids are running constantly.

Tennis is a sport that allows students to stay in shape, gain confidence, learn many aspects of the game and have a great time. To be a great tennis player takes hard work and continued dedication, though the main ingredient in my experience is to have fun and enjoy the game. The student that has fun and enjoys learning the game is always a winner. The 10 and under format is a great new way of teaching the game providing our youngest players with a strong foundation accelerating skill development in a fun and supportive environment.