Tennis activities for children Ages 7 – 8 modified: 2013-4-12
Dynamic Warm-up - The following activities are a perfect way to warm up and also give players an opportunity to toss, catch and learn about the flight of the ball.
Use some or all of these with the coach leading the activities:
- Jog in place while juggling ball from right hand to left hand and back
- Slow jog and fast juggle
- Fast feet and slow juggle
- Regular jog and regular juggle
- Skip and regular juggle
- High knees and regular juggle
- Heel kicks and regular juggle
- Toss one ball with a partner while shuffling through the group
- Bounce pass one ball with partner while shuffling through group
Instant Rally Progression – Forehand - Each child will have a racquet and ball. Follow this sequence in order and young players will develop rally skills in just a few minutes. To keep kids engaged, move through these activities quickly. For example, the coach might say, “Let’s see how many you can do in 30 seconds.”
1. Tap up, bounce and catch - Players will tap the ball up about head-level height, let the ball bounce and catch it.
Jacks.The player tosses the ball up and lets it bounce and bumps it up with the racquet and catches it and announces, “onesies.” The player then attempts to tap it up twice, “twosies” and so on until they reach “fivesies.”
2.Self rally. This time, rather than catching the ball after the first bounce, continue to tap the ball up after one bounce to about head-level height.
Lobster Trap. Players work with a partner, one player holding two racquets and one player with a foam ball. The feeder (player with the ball) makes an underhand toss and bounces the ball to the other player, who traps the ball between two racquets (lobster claws). The player then turns sideways, drops the ball from the racquets and gently hits the ball back to the feeder, who catches it after one bounce. Increase the challenge by having both players with two racquets and have both do the sequence: turn sideways, drop, hit, bounce and trap. Include a large target area so players have a visual of where to aim their drop-hit or underhand toss.
3.Rally with a partner to a target. Find a partner and alternate tapping the ball up to about head level. After the bounce, the partner taps up and lets the ball bounce. See how many consecutive tap ups each pair can get in a row. To help them focus on hitting up rather than out, place a poly spot, donut or draw a chalk circle as a target between the two players. Players should try to hit every ball up to head level.
4.Rally over line with partner. Draw a line or find a line and place each player on either side. Have them match up racquet faces forehand to forehand and move back two to three steps. Have them rally so the ball bounces over the line. The ball should be hit about head high. See how many they can get in a row, hitting all balls on the forehand side.
5.Rally over a net. This is similar to the above, but the players will rally over a net or barrier. Start at the net and have players match up racquet faces forehand to forehand and move 3-4 feet away from the net and play all shots on the forehand side. To assist them with control and direction, add a target about three feet from the net (poly spot, donut or chalk circle).
6.Game—Step-back forehands. Players are on either side of the net and match up racquet faces forehand to forehand, then take two steps back. The player with the ball drops and hits it to the partner, and they rally for two shots on the forehand side. After two successful consecutive hits, both players take one step back and try again for another two-ball rally. After each successful two-ball rally, they move back. If they miss, they must both move forward one step. Try this again with a three-ball rally before the players can step back and eventually get to a four-ball rally.
Introduction to the Underhand Serve:
Players will begin with a racquet facing up and a ball in their opposite hand. Each player will drop the ball on the strings and tap it up. Players will catch the ball after the bounce (self serve).
Players will underhand serve over a line and to a partner. The partner will trap the ball on her strings with the racquet and hand and then serve it back. Players should be positioned about 6-8 feet apart and be standing with their feet at a 45-degree angle to the line.
Players move back so they are 10 feet apart. The server will hit an underhand serve over the net and into the court. The partner will return the ball back to the server, who will then trap the ball on his strings. Each pair will do five serve-and return sequences and change servers and returners.
Step-back serves - This activity starts with the previous formation and distance away from the net. Every time the server hits the serve into the court, the partner returns the ball and the server traps the ball on her racquet, the team can move back one step each. If they miss, they must move forward one step. Change servers after every five serves. You can elect to have the players let the ball bounce three times before the trap, then progress to two and, finally, one bounce before the trap.
Serve, return and trap - Both players will be 10-12 feet away from the net. The first player begins with an underhand serve. The second player returns the ball back to the server and the server traps the ball with her hand and racquet. Do this sequence, but have targets for the server and the returner so they can concentrate on an aiming point for each shot.
Tag Team Singles. A minimum of four players are needed for this game.Divide players into two groups, with each group forming a line behind the middle of each baseline. One player is up on each side (A1 and B1). The first player from side A (A1) drop-hits the ball over the net and moves to the back of her line. The first player on B (B1) returns the ball and goes to the back of the line on his side. From there, each subsequent player hits one ball and moves to the back of the line, keeping the point going until one side misses.
This can be a cooperative game and the team (players in both lines are on the same team) attempts to get 10 consecutive rallies. For safety, make sure you use a waiting spot for those players not hitting.
Wipe Out. Divide the group into two teams (A and B) of at least four players each. Each team stands in a line along the back fence on opposite ends of the court. To begin, one person from each team plays a singles point beginning with a drop-hit. After the point, the winner (A1) stays on the court and adds a second person (A2) to her side of the court. The player who loses the point (B1) goes to the end of her line (side B) and the next player (B2) begins the point with a drop-hit to the two people On the opposite side.
The team that wins the point keeps adding an additional player until all players are on the court and that team wins the point. When multiple players are playing against one player, the lone player can use the doubles boundaries, and the multiple players must use the singles court. The game ends when one side has all its players on the court and wins the point.
Slamma-Jamma: Players stand on either side of the alley facing each other. Players side shuffle from the net to the baseline tossing underhand (or bounce pass) to a partner with a QS ball or beach ball
Simon Sez - using the lines of the Court. Use this activity to learn the areas and lines of the court. The coach calls out a line or area of the court and a movement. For example: “Hop on one foot, skip, tip-toe, little mouse steps, monster steps, etc.” After all players have gone to their line or part of the court, the coach goes to the correct area so everyone learns the correct line or area.
Fall Asleep - Have players line up on one side of the court. Toss a ball to the first player to hit. If the player hits the ball over the net and in-bounds, she can return to the back of the line. If a player misses a shot, she gets one level closer to falling asleep. On the first miss, a player yawns. On the second miss, they feel very tired. On the third miss, they must go to bed, and on the fourth miss, they fall asleep. Keep track of the number of misses each child has and call out the stage they have reached. When a player falls asleep, he must run to the other side of the court and try to catch another player's shot in the air or after one bounce in order to wake up and return to the other side of the court.