I often get the question on why I like to teach the volleys first to kids. There are 2 main reasons to do it:
- The grip. The Continental Grip is the primary grip used in tennis (both volleys, serve,overhand and the non-dominate hand of the 2 handed backhand). It’s extremely important toget kids comfortable with it from day one.
- The coach starts from the beginning getting kids use to thinking and developing attackingskills.
For the coach it is critical to understand how best children (ages 4-7) learn best. As a coach, you need to realize that if you give a lot of verbally instruction your kids will be bored quickly and start to look for other activities to do. The key is to show more and talk less. Kids this age are doing a lot of activities in school figure painting and learn well when a tactile approach is used to reinforce the skill development.
Below is just one example of how to use a more tactile approach.
David is learning how to slide his hand down on the volley. This is very different that teaching the “punch volley.”
Here David repeat the motion now with the racket. Using a fence is a great way for the coach to use the surrounding that you have around you as a teaching age. in this example notice that i am using an orange ball (something I happen to have with me At school the time in my pocket. Foam ball work well with sticking them in the fence too. Also, as a coach if you have a large plastic ball you and do this activity by holding the ball. Another idea, would be to use an Eye Coach.
The next phase is the actually play the ball. If the kid is having problems with the movement, I simply have him repeat the step and start again. The key here is reinforcing the motion on what you want them to do with the racquet when it meets the ball. This approach works well in a private lesson and with group. In a group situation I may have them go the fence with their racquet and ball then play several balls that have been tossed to them. For the record I have a junior assistant with me when I do this. One of us is on the fence duty and the other one is tossing ball. At school some point we will switch roles.
Teaching kids how to volley correctly early gets them more comfortable going to the net.
Bio: Susan F. Nardi hails from Virginia, where she earned her bachelors degree in recreation and leisure services from Radford University. A 30-year veteran coach, she is considered one of the most innovative and dynamic tennis professionals in the United States. A ‘coaster’, Susan relocated to Texas in 2010 after coaching in both Virginia and California. Her philosophy is to keep coaching simple, to focus on players goals and needs. Susan’s credentials are equal to her coaching experience. She is certified as a Elite Professional with the USPTA, Professional and National Tester for the PTR as well as A Level 4 International Tester for Modern Tennis Methodology.