In this the final series focusing on Teaching Tots we see Matt Fellingham, Head Coach at Royston Tennis Club sharing his wealth of knowledge to pinpoint what exactly he thinks makes a good coach for this specific age group, and how they should approach the delivery of sessions.
What should the coach do
* provide a safe environment by defining the playing area
* have simple command words for starting and stopping activities
* use markers, spots, cones to define where children stand and return to
* delivering simple tasks on an individual basis until children mature into being able to cooperate
* children learn by copying so excellent demos are vital
* keep instructions clear and simple and get down to their level
* praise is essential… Use appropriate language
* be creative allow them to use their imagination in activities
* use themes for lessons and activities (examples: super heroes, animals…)
* explain What… Where to… How… for each activity
Planning the lesson
* how much space is available?
* what equipment is available?
* what time is available? in the Royston programme it is usually a 45 min session
* parent/carer involvement ? At Royston tots are encouraged to join in alone without parental support. Some may need it and that is fine, but most benefit by being independent from the start
* ratios 3/4 s = 1:4. 5 s = 1:6 nursery assistants make the best helpers
* consider what tots like… Peppa Pig… CBeeBies etc. and use in your lesson planning.
Remember lots of high 5′s with the coach after each game and masses of praise and enthusiasm are essential
Sample lesson structure
the activity set up and progression will very much dependent on age and stage of development
1) Warm up 5 minutes – Follow the leader.
* Walk around following the coach
* move around obstacles change movement pattern
* introduce a bean bag to balance
2) Balance 5 mins
* Lily pads leap across the court like a frog
* try to vary type of jump.
3) Co-ordination 5 minutes
* Volleys – players stand on a spot throw a ball to each in turn
* Aliens are invading and they have to protect the world and not allow balls to go into a hoop placed behind them.
4) Agility 5 minutes
* Run through a ladder and throw the ball over the net over arm. Move back to wait for their next turn
* Introduce the same activity but with hopping, skipping etc.
5) Sending/receiving/hitting 10 minutes
* Floor tennis
* work towards doing this in pairs
6) Game 5 minutes
* Hit balls after the bounce of a drop feed
* All stand on their own spot
* Coach/leader initially to feed, and can make it competitive
All are simple activities but try to relate to tennis and despite young age look for quality and pay attention to detail.
UCoach would like to say thanks to Matt for sharing his insights into just what its like and takes to effectively work with this age group. If you are coaching tots right now or planning to in the future or have in the past and have something to comment. Or have some questions, we would love to hear your views.
Jenny Thomas, Director of UCoach
Master Tutor, AASE Assessor