Tennis is an enjoyable game for kids to play and improves their physical and mental health, according to Jack Groppel, a contributor for the United States Tennis Association’s website. Kids can play many tennis-related games at a young age to improve their fundamental tennis skills. Play these games with your children to introduce them to tennis basics and hone their skills before teaching them how to play by traditional rules.
Bouncing Ball Relay
The bouncing ball relay game teaches children how to control the racket and improves their hand-eye coordination. It is appropriate for young children who are just beginning the game. Form two equal teams and have players line up behind the baseline facing the net, with at least 10 yards between the lines. Place a cone in front of each line near the net. When you say “go,” the first player in each line runs around the cone and back to the baseline while bouncing the ball on the ground with the racket. Once the first players cross the baseline, the second players may go. The first team to have all its players complete one turn wins the game.
Bull in the Pen
After your children learn how to properly swing their rackets, play “Bull in the Pen” with them to practice the forehand and backhand strokes. Stand on one side of the net and tell your children to form a line in the doubles alley on the opposite side. Have the first player in line move to the middle of the court and hit a ball over the net to her forehand or backhand side. If she returns the ball successfully, she goes to the back of the line. If she doesn’t return the ball successfully, she goes to the other doubles alley on her side of the court, called the “bull pen.” The last player remaining outside the bull pen wins the game.
After children have learned to bounce a ball in front of them and hit it, play no-net tennis to teach them how to hit a ball moving toward them without the pressure of having to hit it over the net. Stand on one sideline and have your children form a line on the opposite sideline but on the same side of the net. Hit the ball gently to one player at a time so that it bounces once and have each player try to hit the ball back to you on one bounce. Keep track of how many times in a row they each hit the ball back to you successfully.