2 min read
Oct 22, 2021 12:43:10 PM

For many players starting out at LifeTime Tennis, Junior Pro Development is their first stop before transitioning into our Junior Pro and Senior Pro Tennis Programs. This article will contain our aims when developing younger players as well as an explanation about the different equipment we use for these players.

Fundamentals of Junior Pro Development
1. Racquet alignment

The skill of racquet alignment involves the kids being able to match their racquet face to the depth and width of the ball. Once kids have acquired the skill of racquet face alignment, their ability to create and maintain rallies, as well as develop technique goes through the roof

2. Low-to-high swing
First and foremost, tennis is a lifting game. Before you can beat opponents, you need to beat the net; lift the ball over the net. Once kids have a solid foundation of racquet face alignment to the ball, the next step will be incorporating a low to high swing. 

3. Positioning of body and feet
It doesn't matter how good your swings are, if you aren't at the ball, you can't hit it. Teaching children the importance of their feet in the game of tennis is a skill that will create a quality foundation for their games going forward. Where their body needs to be at the time of contact is also crucial at this stage of development.

4. Topspin
Once young tennis players have a base of a low to high swing and can align their racquet to an appropriate contact point the next teaching point is topspin. Without the skill of topspin, the ball cannot be controlled. Teaching the concept of topspin early is vital to the holistic development of anyone's strokes. To be able to manipulate topspin will allow for depth, width and movement of the ball to be achieved.

5. Cognitive Skills
Skills such as depth perception, personal feedback and resilience are also incredibly important to the development of young children, not just tennis players. We aim to teach these skills through various activities which build into and support the activities which are more traditionally seen as 'tennis' drills.

The three different equipment modifications seen in our Junior Pro Development programs are the colour of the ball, the size of the court and the height of the net.

1. Colour of the ball used 
Across our Junior Pro Development squads we use red, orange and green balls. What the colour of the ball signifies is the level of compression, and sometimes size, of the ball.
- Red balls are 25% compression of a yellow ball and nearly twice the size
- Orange balls are 50% compression of a yellow ball
- Green balls are 75% compression of a yellow ball

What the colour of the ball does not signify is the athlete's ability. When choosing what colour ball a child should use our coaches look at height, strength and coordination. As the lesser compressed a ball is, the lower it bounces and is thus easier to handle for smaller players.

2. Size of the court
When placing a 8 year old kid on a full size tennis court, it can often be a daunting experience. The area is often way too big to cover for athlete's who are not close to their full physical development. Our Junior Pro Development Squads play on a three quarter size court.

3. Height of the net
Similar to altering the size of the court, young, under-sized player's development is inhibited by using a full height net. Lowering the height of the net allows the player's to engage in tactics such as the use of angle and slice. 

For any further information regarding the Junior Pro Development squads please feel free to contact us at admin@lifetimetennis.com.au.

Barty Gravity


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