If you read my post last month, Anyone for Tennis, you’ll know that my 4 year old fell in love with the sport, whilst watching Wimbledon.
Andy Murray was his idol and he counted down the sleeps to his own tennis lessons which he had just started.
As it’s now the school holidays, his tennis lessons have stopped so we were delighted that we managed to get a place on the ‘Mini Tennis’ session as part of the Great British Tennis Weekend.
Held over three weekends, many tennis courts across the country held free Tennis sessions for children, adults and families.
Harley took part in the ‘Mini Tennis’ at our local park.
Well, with a view of the lake from the tennis courts, how can anyone not be inspired?
When we arrived on court, Harley was able to have a few minutes playing with his Daddy, while the rest of the group arrived.
Harley smiled all the way though it.
The coaches were brilliant and so patient with the children, which were aged between 4-7.
It began with a few warm up, tennis based activities such as keeping your ball on the floor, taking your ball for a walk whilst keeping it touching the racquet. Then finding a white line and walking the ball along the line. A brilliant forehand drill.
Harley loved the coaches calling the ball their ‘pet’. The children had to name their pet and take it for a walk on their racquet and even let their pet have a bounce on the trampoline (bouncing the ball on their racquet placed on the ground.)
They then threw their ball into the air and had to catch it in their plastic cone. Such a great drill for developing hand and eye co-ordination.
The children were then put in pairs and had to hit the ball softly to each other between their 2 cones. For Harley this was a great skill to practise as he has always been one for throwing, hitting or kicking a ball as hard as he can, so hitting it softly was a great focus.
The children were also taught the names of the different parts of the racquet and were taught how to hold it correctly. I was so impressed that Harley could remember the different parts and indeed corrected my grip of the racquet at the end of the session!
The rest of the session was split up into 4 stations:
Here, Harley had to throw a ball underarm into the net and then catch the ball as it returned. This developed the skill of agility and hand eye coordination.
The second station was throwing a ball through a target to improve the judgement of distances and aim. The children were able to move further back from the target when more confident:
The third station required the children to throw a ball overarm, over a high bar.
Encouraging the children to tickle their ear with the ball before throwing, helps to develop muscle memory needed for the smash and service actions in tennis:
And at the final station, Harley had to hit the ball over a net. He could hit it as hard as he could, so this one was his favourite!
Even the final game ‘Bombs Away’, had the kids screaming with laughter and cheering when they reached the other side of the court without their feet getting hit by the ball. Harley is clearly doing his impression of an aeroplane here!
The Great British Tennis weekend was a total hit (no tennis pun intended!)
It served it’s purpose (second tennis pun, I’m good at this!)
It 100% cemented a love of tennis in my little boy. And that’s exactly what I wanted it to do. I love how he will embrace all sports. But it’s tennis that has made him want to come home and practice the skills he learnt at the weekend.
Harley recreated some of the drills at home:
He’s already asking when Wimbledon’s on! Only 334 days to go!