Developing tennis tasks


Standard methods of all these exercises include PRESENTING or TELLING what a person has to do OR how the task has to be made. I think that implementation of thinking skills in each task can change the motivation of a kid, quality of doing the task and the whole view on situations. I use it as private or group lesson plan.

1. Running different distances around the cones to beat the result.

For tennis skills: modified exercise to increase and develop speed and reaction.

For thinking skills: to be able to improve the result, using thinking skills.

Goal with this exercise:  to be able to see running distance as a system that is divided to some sub-systems.

Very useful, when there’s no physics problem to beat the result.

Step 1: Kids start to divide the long distance to many different shortcuts.

Step 2: Kids write or draw the distance and fill the list with as many possible options to cross the distance as they can imagine. (Brainstorm)

Step 3: Usually follows the discussion (better for groups)

Step 4: Kids choose new strategy how to improve them and the whole distance result.

Start competing to improve the result.

 2. Collecting balls. Usually boring task.

For tennis skills: every tennis player has to collect the balls after the exercise. Usually there’s no system how to do it effective and fun. In the world there are specific balls-collecting machines, but they’re big and expensive, so many students just collect balls using their racquets.

For thinking skills: To be able to build methods, analyzing ENV model.

Goal with this exercise:  to be able to collect the balls with the most effective and well suited method.

Step 1: Bank collecting. To be able to use (find) as many methods of balls collection as possible.

Step 2: Sorting. To be able to explain the parts of each method.  Split the process to parts. Move closer to ENV model – make a description of each step.

Step 3: Decision building: To be able to make a decision which method suits better, in terms of the goal.  

3. Hitting the balls from the basket. (as there are very many variations on this task, depending on level of a player, season’s part etc, I will write about specific goal for the period)

For tennis skills: to develop feeling, approach to the ball, timing, swing, shots etc.

For thinking skills: to develop natural feeling in decision making procedure.

Goal with this exercise: to improve the depth and placing of the forehand

Step 1: feed 1-2 baskets to see, how the player is dealing with the balls

Step 2: ask player to analyze what he’s doing, just in words

Step 3: ask to change a bit elements leg placement, swing, follow-through (in terms of possible technique options etc) from time to time (usually 2 series with 8 balls then change) and analyze what is changing.

Step 4: make a short discussion and give a home task to write bank-sort the decisions and find situations why the choice has to be made like this.

Step 5: find exactly the method which suits to the player and is more natural and practice it his way. 

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