Serve up a new sport this summer. Tennis is not only accessible and affordable, it’s an ace with the playground set, especially following a few lessons designed for mini-racqueteers (yes, we coined that term) aptly nicknamed mini tennis (otherwise known as Progressive Tennis).
It’s the norm across the pond, and Tennis Canada began endorsing the new teaching methods a couple of years ago. Progressive tennis is now bouncing its way from club to club in Canada, with camps and lessons designed for kids starting at age four.
Richard Danielson, longtime Calgary tennis pro, took the time to instruct us on why mini tennis is such a smash hit.
Essentially, the goal is to get kids in touch with the ball (as in 300 to 500 times in one hour). Kids juggle, dribble and pass the ball back and forth in a non-competitive fashion (with no net). Later, Danielson adds a net and children hone their volleys and serves on a half or three-quarter sized court, depending on their age.
Also, think big balls and short racquets. Kids from the four to seven age group use large foam balls and racquets designed to make contact, while older children graduate to smaller equipment. Even young children rally (for positive reinforcement) and the result is accelerated skill progression in a fun, relaxed environment.