Summer tennis for toddlers
However they hold their racket or whatever their level of ability there are a number of places this summer where toddlers can hone their early tennis skills. Check out the Mini Tennis play programme and find a local tennis centre or practice skills at home.
Mini Tennis is the early tennis programme devised the the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association). The programme teaches core tennis skills from Tots (aged 3-5) using special lightweight balls which give children a chance to make contact. Specialist LTA coaches deliver the Mini Tennis programme at tennis centres and courts around the UK.
Children can easily move up from Tots at 5yrs to Mini Red Tennis (5-8 years) where small courts, short-handled rackets and lightweight red balls are used and longer rallies and a different range of shots can be mastered.
At 8 children graduate to Mini Orange Tennis (8-9 years) with lightweight, but slightly smaller orange balls (still 50% slower than traditional yellow balls), short-handled rackets and small courts to master a range of shots and game tactics.
Reaching Mini Green Tennis (9-10 years) children are playing on full size courts, with bigger rackets and slightly softer green balls. At this level there are rally awards and children are prepared for competitions both as individuals and doubles.
Top tips for helping your child enjoy tennis
- Allow your child to gain confidence and enjoy the game by playing in the appropriate stage of LTA Mini Tennis until they can control the ball and implement skills effectively.
- Pressure to move up too soon can result in poor technique and a loss of confidence and interest.
- Playing in competitions is an important part of a player’s development.
- Learn about the competition structure and encourage your child to take part where appropriate.
- Get to know the LTA Mini Tennis Rally Awards and encourage your child to practise the relevant skills.
- Practise with your child at home, at the place you play tennis, on holiday and with friends.
- Encourage good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship in lessons and matches.
- Focus on performance and effort instead of results. Ask “How did you play?” or “Did you have fun?”
- Help your child to understand that respect for the rules, opponents and officials is part of playing and enjoying the game.
- As a spectator, always applaud both players in a match.
- Respect the expertise of coaches, competition organisers and officials.
- Ensure your child keeps well hydrated whilst playing.
To find your nearest LTA coach and tennis court click here.
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