10 and Under Tennis – Day 3 (Plus Instructing Lobs)

Group Dynamics

As younger tennis players acquire skills at different rates, it is possible that a player become discouraged if a friend is progressing faster or if a friend becomes frustrated during an exercise or drill.  This is a situation in which an instructor must project positivity to the young tennis player.  It is important to instill the idea that tennis is an activity in which one tries to better his or her previous performance rather than turning the practices into a race to the top.  At these ages, coordination and body control are not near what they will become so a player should not read too much into one’s rate of improvement as compared to a friend in the clinic and rather focus on improvement itself.  That perspective is not easy to instill in young people under the age of 10 so the instructors must project authentic positivity.

Lob Instruction for Older Junior Players

I am a teacher and have been one since 2002.  I have taught in many different settings and formats as well as taught many different age groups.  Teaching an academic competency or an athletic skill is pretty similar.  I find that teaching something I know well can be more difficult than would be expected because I might go too fast/skip steps or conversely inundate a student with minute details.  I find the issues of teaching something that is more difficult for me to outweigh any difficulties surrounding an abundance of experience and knowledge.

These are Great Tips on the Defensive Lob

One area of my own tennis game that has never been a strength is hitting lobs.  I am not sure if as a junior I was infused with some sort of foolish machismo, but I generally attempted to pass my opponent if he came to the net at the age when I learned the bulk of my tennis skills. Over time, I have added a nice defensive lob to my repertoire.  However, teaching an offensive lob complete with a good amount of topspin is daunting.  In the early 1990s, I hit with some topspin, but I used more slice and flat shots than many of my peers.  Today’s average topspin would have been considered excessive during the years in which I played junior tennis.

Luckily for me, I am helping someone with multiple USPTA and USPTR certifications teach clinics.  My first move is to listen to what he says intently as he knows how to convey the information about this shot in an effective manner.  I try to reiterate what he is saying and remind students of what he has said if they have forgotten or did not understand his instructions the first time through.  Second, if a problem arises that is beyond my abilities as an instructor, I know that he is a court or two away and can call for his help.  Finally, I have no issues teaching a two-handed backhand even though I hit a one-handed backhand, so I have to know that I can teach an offensive lob even if I rarely hit an offensive lob.

Research and Youtube Can’t Hurt Either

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