Future Wimbledon Champion? Start 'em young says Sports Commentator James Burridge
BBC Sports commentator and father of two James Burridge shares his tips on getting kids into tennis this summer:
I’m lucky enough to have two young, energetic children (five and two) who enjoy mucking about with a tennis racket and a ball. I’ve been hooked on the game since I was five and alongside playing competitively, I commentate on tennis too, meeting the players and their coaches. This is what I’ve picked up along the way:
- It’s never too young to start. Buy soft, squidgy, low compression red and yellow tennis balls from any sport shop (they’re cheap) and just let your children play with them, throw them, squeeze them, feel their weight. The more familiar it becomes the easier it gets.
- With young kids it’s all about increasing hand-eye coordination. Playball classes are a terrific place to start but you can also arrange little games with them at home, either indoor or out. Get them to throw a ball at a tin from a few yards out, bounce the ball and catch it, throw a ball at a wall and catch it….the list of things you can do with a ball is endless.
- Make it fun, make it short. The last thing you should be doing is forcing them to do any ball or sporting based drill for prolonged periods of time. If they look fed up, stop! You want them to keep coming back, not scarring them for life.
- When you decide to buy their first junior racket, don’t head straight to a tennis court. Just let your kids get used to swinging it, hitting balls on the floor and having fun.
- A final note for parents. Show an interest but go with the flow! They won’t be world beaters this young. At this stage it is all about encouragement. Once they’re 5 they can start in coaching camps at your local tennis club. That’s where the journey really begins.
Thanks James, great tips! Have you seen our sport inspired tees - have a look here
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