I'm curious to hear from coaches and parents what their experiences have been with this program. I have a fellow coach that wants to start doing this program with me. I am wondering if it is worth it, not for my friend and I, but for the kids.
I did talk to a USTA local rep who showed me the different low compression balls and smaller racquets used. They offered a set of four racquets and a net, plus a website. My friend went to a training seminar. But I kinda balked at the idea. I'm not entirely convinced.
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I can see the value of it for the little kids to keep them interested and motivated. If you played baseball as a kid, you didn't start with 90 foot bases.
My daughter will be 10 in August and she's hitting with a full size Wilson BLX Bold and we're hitting almost full court.
Definitely works, especially if you are working with really young kids and young beginners. I use the foam and red balls for the 4 and 5, 6 year old kids I work with. Moving on to orange and green for the kids up to 10 or so. Depends on the kids, I have a 7 year old that is green ball 10 under tourneys and having fun and doing well. Where they really work well is teaching racket head speed, they can take nice full stroke and not have a heavy ball crashing into their 23in racket. I do feel the kids develop better technique and rally skills earlier. I have also taught young kids with regular balls and they learned well also, can take a little longer for some with these balls. Nothing like having a 20 shot rally with a 6 year old on 60' court to make you smile.
Well, I gotta remember what it was like to be ten again, and what I liked to use. I definitely did not like using my dad's T2000. I had a lightweight wood racquet with a colored foam ball tennis set. My brother and I would use that indoors. When we were outside, we'd hit with a wiffle ball with those wood racquets. So the appeal was to the lighter weight stuff. I was a little boy who was into baseball and football too.
Thanks for the insight, Hal and Harold! I have to think of giving back the same joy of tennis, and not be such a hard up purist.
it does work. the whole purose of the program is to give the young ones the confidence to hit a tennis ball over a net at their height on a court designed for their size. as they grow and mature, then you start little by little raising the net and expanding their court size. you also start upgrading them to the higher compression balls until they are comfortable taking on the real balls. if you teach them right they should be able to take on the real balls in a short time. the emphasis should be the strike point to the follow through not the back swing. (they'll get that on their own)
I was watching a little 6 year old girl hit a whole basket of balls fed by a local coach. She can definitely get them over, but the faster the feed, the less she got them over. She has a nice little two hander and even has a big loop on the forehand. Adorable!
But when she was being shown the serve, that's where I see the problem of the regular balls. She tossed them really high, and couldn't get the balance afterwards.