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Kids Tennis by Coach Jim

If you're a parent seeking advice on junior tennis racquets, need help finding the right kids tennis shoes, looking for general information on kids tennis equipment, or if you're just looking to find tennis lessons for kids, I'm confident you'll find what you're looking for on my site. Just click here for helpful information on kids tennis and tennis for beginners.

With the specialized tennis equipment that is now available for young tennis players, the game has become far easier and more fun to learn. For instance, did you know that there are now specially made junior tennis balls? -- ideal for your three or four year old if he or she is learning to play.

Speaking of which, when is the best time to start tennis lessons for kids?


Depending on your child's ability to concentrate and follow instructions, the ideal age to start technical stroke instruction is between 4 and 7 years old. If your child is a quick learner, with good coaching, he or she will have a technically sound game by eight years of age.

It's no accident that tournaments begin at the 8 & under level, as this is the age when good young players have developed their technical ability to a level where they can construct reasonable points.

Tennis, like gymnastics, is a sport that requires good technical instuction at an early age. This is because the skill development that is required is extremely high.

If a young player doesn't have a solid technical foundation in place by age 12 or 13, it will become increasingly harder to correct any flaws as he or she gets older.

When you consider that Martina Hingis won the French Open Juniors (18 & Under) at twelve years of age -- an extraordinary achievement -- it demonstrates what the most talented and hard working young players are capable of at a very early age.

Close in on those volleys  When you do not close in on your volleys you are not nearly as effective as you could be. If you wait for the ball to come to you the ball will be slower, lower and cause you to hit more of a defensive volley. When you are at the net you want to be as offensive as much as each shot will allow you to be. You must move to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to you. .


International Tennis For Juniors

As I do about what life is like for someone playing tennis at international junior level. I was a former number one junior in the world (1975), and have coached players to international success at Junior Wimbledon, the US Open Juniors, the Australian Junior Open and the Orange Bowl.

Tennis Articles

I've also got a section of the site devoted to tennis articles, many of them on issues involving junior tennis. For instance, there are articles on Tennis Ethics, and on "The Ugly Parent Syndrome", and whether or not a childhood devoted to becoming a professional tennis player involves sacrifice.

But because junior tennis covers such a huge range of topics, what I'd really also like is feedback from you.

50,000 BALLS



here are a few lesson tips


Defending against a good lob:
If you are at the net and your opponent hits a good lob that you can barely reach you do not have to try to hit an overhead for a winner or 110 mph. If you are backing up extremely fast and are fully stretched to hit the overhead chances are swinging big will only get you in more trouble. It is perfectly acceptable to hit an overhead at 50 percent pace and keep yourself in the point.

In the end, percentage tennis, although not always as fun, can keep you in the point and help you to turn the tables on your opponent. Play it safe when you need to and try to incorporate the above options into your game. I know it is tempting to go for the big winner when in a bad spot, but I guarantee you that in the long run, you will win more points by playing smarter rather than playing fancier.

How to Avoid Overhitting When you get a Real Sitter
by: Coach Jim 

Shorten it! Shorten your racket and shorten your backswing! They haven't invented a racket with a button that shortens the grip for these sort of shots, but you can achieve the same effect by shifting your hand up the grip a couple of inches. This should give you the feeling that you've got more control over the swing. Shorten your backswing too - just a shoulder turn will do. But still go for a full follow-through, because the last thing you want to do is trade your overhitting for a "nothing" shot! give it a try next time on the courts


Hitting on the Rise
by: Coach Jim 

There's plenty of good reasons to hit on the rise. What are they? Well, you can hit with more power because your opponent's pace is still on the ball. Also, you give your opponent less time to recover and therefore less time to prepare for the next shot. And the more you move inside the baseline the more you see over the net, enabling you to open up the rally with angled shots. If you like getting into the net, hitting on the rise gives you a better chance of closing in.

So, how do we do it? For one thing, you need to get inside the court during the rallies! Easier said than done - it's a psychological leap because you're leaving that familiar comfort zone behind the baseline - so try it in practice first! The other thing that will take some adjustment is your backswing. There will be less time for it, so you need to make it as efficient as possible - a good shoulder turn will probably suffice. Relax at the knees and stay light on your feet. Start your swing early enough to ensure firm contact just out in front of your body. Although you've had to adopt a more compact backswing, accelerate the racket head and follow through smooth and long and full.

One thing you've got to consider is the angle of the ball as it comes on to your racket - instead of a flat or downward trajectory, the ball will be angling upwards onto your strings. You'll find you won't keep the ball in the court if you use an open racket face. So adjust your grip to close the racket face slightly. It's probably a good idea to brush up on the ball to impart some topspin. This will give you a greater degree of control. give it a try


The Basic (Classic) Forehand
by Coach Jim 

At practice, some players try too many irregular motions. This will inhibit muscle retention in your strokes. It's a good idea to stay "basic" to build your stroke consistency.

THE GRIP: Shake hands with the racket. (eastern grip) Extend your index finger in a trigger fashion.

WAITING POSITION: Stand facing the net, knees slightly bent, weight evenly distributed and forward on the balls of your feet. The racket is held in front of your body, elbows in close and parallel to the ground. The racket is supported with your free hand.

TURN: The shoulders and hips pivot and the right foot turns toward the net post as you transfer your weight to it. The forearm is parallel to the ground. The racket head angle with the forearm remains the same.

BACKSWING: From the turn position, the racket goes back until it is parallel to the ground- the angle between forearm and racket still remaining the same. The butt of the racket is pointing toward the net and the racket is on edge.

STEP AND HIT: The left foot steps toward the net with the weight shifting on to it. The ball is contacted opposite the left leg, approximately waist high; the arm is relatively straight and the wrist firm.

FOLLOW THROUGH: The follow through is a long, continuous sweeping motion finishing high with the racket butt opposite the left eye, (for right handers). The weight is now altogether on the front foot with hips and shoulders turned into the stroke.

You can experiment with changes in your grip by trying continental or western after you have grooved your classic forehand. Try chipping and drop shots as well to build a variety of strokes. give it a try


Close in on that volley by coach Jim

Being lazy and not closing in while hitting your volleys can cause you to hit more defensive volleys or even hit the ball into the net. When you do not close in on your volleys you are not nearly as effective as you could be. If you wait for the ball to come to you the ball will be slower, lower and cause you to hit more of a defensive volley. When you are at the net you want to be as offensive as much as each shot will allow you to be. You must move to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to you. .

Moving in on slow hit shots like slice shots or high floaters will allow you to hit better angles, give you a better percentage of getting the ball in and give you more options of what you can do with the ball. Get as close to the net as you can to hit these volleys, your point may depend on it! give it a try


Self-Practice on the Forehand Volley
by: Coach Jim

Many players groove their ground strokes by hitting drop feeds to a target. You can do the same thing with your volley, and the benefits are tremendous. You will quickly get a feel for the stroke and will learn a natural, proper technique. You can even practice in your basement or garage, driveway or backyard.

Get yourself a big waste basket, ball hopper, or garbage can. Stand back several feet and toss a ball a few feet into the air. As the ball drops to about shoulder level, hit it with a volley stroke, giving it plenty of lift. You want the ball to have a nice arc so it clears the net and lands in your target.

Proper technique is critical. I suggest you stand with your shoulders facing your target, racquet in front of you and fairly vertical. Lift the ball into the air and simultaneously turn your hitting shoulder slightly away from your target (just like your service motion). This will automatically bring your racquet to a position parallel to the net. Remember, you don't want a big swing on a volley, so once your racquet is parallel to the net, that is as far back as it should go.

Use either an Eastern forehand or a continental grip. Your wrist should be in a natural position, but laid back slightly and locked firmly. Racquet preparation should occur at the same time you turn your shoulder.

Step into the ball smoothly. Let this step bring your racquet to ball contact. Your forearm should thrust forward slightly at the same time. To put backspin on the ball and give it height, take the racquet head back higher than the intended contact point and lead with the bottom edge of your racquet.

Follow-through on the volley is minimal. In fact, a good volley will have the racquet face more-or-less parallel to the net throughout the stroke. This is best accomplished by keeping the wrist firm from start to finish.

Once you are able to hit balls into your target consistently, start adding variety to the practice. Hit from different positions on the court. Hit balls higher and lower in the air (bending your knees to get down to a low ball). Try to hit your target with less arc and with more arc. Hit soft volleys and hard ones. This variety will add to your feel for the stroke and your mastery of the technique and give you confidence to execute a perfect volley during real match play. give it a try


Quick tip for kids

Which racquet to get

Tennis racquets come in a wider variety of shapes, lengths, weights, materials, head sizes, thicknesses, and stringing patterns than anyone could have ever imagined thirty years ago in the age of the woodies. Making a choice amidst all of these options can be a real challenge, but the first step in narrowing down your choices is clear: You need to decide on the correct length, which will be our focus here. In future articles, I'll address the other factors you need to consider.

The question of length has become considerably more complicated than it was just a few years ago. Virtually all adult tennis racquets used to be 27" long, but now lengths are available up to 32", although lengths greater than 29" are illegal in most competition. Whether to choose an "extra long" or standard length adult racquet is a complicated question, involving the player's stroking style at least as much as her physical traits. We'll take that up in another discussion. For this article, we will focus on choosing between the various junior lengths on the one hand and any adult length on the other.

As a general principle, a junior should use as long a racquet as she can comfortably handle. This will encourage her to develop smooth strokes that utilize good weight transfer and her larger muscles. Too small a racquet encourages excessive wrist and elbow action, which, in the long run, will harm both her strokes and her arm. Once a junior weighs at least 85 pounds or so, she is usually ready for an adult racquet.