It's definitely an exciting time when your child first starts taking tennis lessons, but if you don't consider yourself to be a "tennis parent" yet, how can you know whether or not your child is receiving quality instruction? Below are some key fundamentals that your child should be learning during their first tennis lessons.
1. Fundamental Strokes
During the first few months of your child's tennis lessons, their coach will focus on teaching fundamental strokes such as the forehand, backhand and serve. Your child will learn correct form and technique through working on key basics such as the path of swing and proper follow-through (e.g., hitting from low to high, finishing the stroke across the opposite shoulder, etc.). This will help your child gain a greater sense of control with their ground strokes, so they can begin to work on other elements later down the road such as speed and placement.
2. Tennis Stances
There are four basic stances used in tennis today: Open, semi-open, squared, and closed. Each of these stances should be learned in order for your child to be a well-rounded tennis player, but the most commonly taught stances in modern tennis instruction--especially for kids--are the open and semi-open stances.
The reason why is because these two stances keep your child facing straight toward the net, so they can see the ball easily without having to rotate their head. If your child's instructor uses a more traditional approach, he or she may teach your child to learn the closed or squared stance first, which can benefit them in terms of helping them to understand how to rotate their shoulders and upper body as they move into their strokes.
3. Grip Styles
Debates continue as far as what the "right" way to hold a tennis racquet looks like, but the truth is that there's no one official grip style that everyone must follow. More than likely your child's tennis instructor will at least expose them to the following six most common grip styles:
- Full Western
- Two-Handed Backhand
The one-handed backhand grip seems to be somewhat of an endangered species in today's tennis instruction, so there may not be a lot of emphasis placed on it during your child's tennis lessons. The most popular grip being taught in instructional circles today is the semi-western, but more than likely your child's instructor will cover the other grip styles as well, since different grips are used for different types of strokes, such as serves and volleys.
Without learning proper footwork, your child won't be able to get around the court during match play. Your child's tennis coach will teach them important fundamentals such as split steps, side shuffles, and other footwork techniques to help them increase their agility, mobility, and body control as they learn how to efficiently move around on the tennis court.
Knowing the above information will help you gain a better grasp of what your child will be learning during their first tennis lessons. With enough time, instruction, and practice, your child will be equipped with all of the fundamental skills necessary to become a successful tennis player.