As Tiger Tennis Academy goes into its 5th year, I often get the asked by parents “Will the kids be hitting the ball back and forth with each other on their first lesson?” I have to chuckle when parents ask me this, while I do believe that a 3, 4 or 5 year is capable of rallying, the skill takes much time and effort to develop. Tennis is not an easy game to quickly learn because there are many moving parts. Even an adult beginner that has coordination skills in place, will find it very difficult to rally before a few months, therefore it is crucial that hand-eye coordination is developed since it is a learned skill and like any other skill, takes time to develop.
Children of this age still have to focus on their coordination skills. During our classes, especially for our 3-6 year old age group, we work on such skills by catching the ball, rolling the ball to a partner, throwing the ball in a bucket, and even balancing the ball on their racquet while walking across the court. This all may seem simple, but for a 3 to 6 year old these are major tasks and may take weeks to learn. It’s utterly important that children learn these skills right out of the gate in order to begin making contact with the ball. If their coordination skills are not in place, these tasks will be difficult and the child will most likely get discouraged. As teachers, our number one goal after having fun with any beginner is to get them succeeding in the quickest manner possible. When we get them hitting the ball correctly, chances are they will continue with tennis.
In conclusion, when you get you three year old child out on a tennis court for his first group lesson, it’s imperative that they work on their coordinations skills and master them as quick as possible (each child develops differently so let’s hope it doesn’t take too long) This will get them closer to the next step of actually learning how to hit forehands and backhands and that’s when the real fun begins.