Continuing our series on Teaching Tots this week Matt Fellingham, Head Coach at Royston Tennis Club shares his wealth and knowledge to pinpoint what exactly he thinks Tots aged 3-5 should learn and what exactly is it that they need.
* commands of the coach for starting and stopping
* rules of an activity
* boundaries in/out
* counting… Colours
* cooperation working with a partner
* seeing, copying, listening.
* watching is an important part of learning
Develop motor memory
* simple movement patterns
* repetition of actions
Body image activities / body awareness
* head is large in relationship to body need to learn to control it.
* balance on different parts of the body
* left / right ..”in front/ behind ….small /tall
* twisting and turning
* understand personal space
* understand body .. Simon says
Receiving / sending skills ……all strokes from 3
* controlling the racket
What do tots need
So now it must seem pretty clear what they should be learning at this stage in their young lives, but what do they need to ensure the learning and development experience is as positive an experience as possible?
* Constant praise
Delivered from the very start of the lesson, praise them on everything from the colour of their track suit to their ready position.
* Clear boundaries regarding behaviour.
* Activities that are full of colour, noise, appropriate equipment.
Paying attention to this element will ensure that the young players are constantly engaged as they receive a wide range of visual and audible stimuli to maintain interest and encourage success.
* Routine and repetition
* Finally never ever forget that Fun is the key tool. For any coach the objective is to introduce tots to tennis and retain their interest in the game, ensuring things always have a focus on fun is the predominant way of ensuring these objectives are met.
In next week’s post, and the final post in the series, Matt will focuses on the Coach and discusses what he feels Coaches should do delivering a programme to this age group.
Are you coaching tots right now? planning to in the future or have in the past and have something to comment. We would love to hear your views.
See you next week!
Jenny Thomas, Director of UCoach
Master Tutor, AASE Assessor