I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow up playing tennis. I feel like I learned so much in terms of the fundamentals and strategy. I learned a lot about how to be a good athlete and how to also just be a good person in general! Now I’ve been able to share that knowledge with young players trying out tennis and I feel so overjoyed with the entire experience! Who knew teaching tennis could be so fun?!
In Fort Collins, there’s this wonderful facility I’ve been playing tournaments at since I was like twelve, and a little over a month ago, I became one of the instructors for their Saturday classes. Since that first day, teaching tennis on Saturdays has become a highlight of my week.
Lessons start at 10 for the first group, which includes 4-6 year olds and their class goes for forty-five minutes. Being with the little littles is so cute and so fun. They’re all so excited to tell you about the new dinosaur toy they got or that they went to the park this past summer. And the littles are always so curious about tennis, or at least the ones I coach are. They really want to try and get good and I love it!
The next class I teach on Saturdays starts at 11 and goes for an hour and a half. That group is the 10U class. We have from 2nd-5th graders in that class and that’s a pretty good group too. With this class, there’s a lot more variety in the skill even though I would still classify all of my players in that class as beginners. It’s challenging, but I enjoy finding different ways to help different players. Getting to share little tips and tricks that have helped me is always a lot of fun. This group LOVES to play games and I love their excitement for that, but I’ve really learned that you have to lay down the law and establish the fact that you’re the coach and you’re going to do things in a certain order. If you don’t lay down the rules and set out a schedule, you’re going to get trampled by those 3rd graders, let me tell ya.
After that class finishes, I have a short lunch break and then I’m back on the courts for two hours with the middle school and high school kids. Once again, a majority of the players are just getting into tennis, but this group can understand more of the terminology I’m used to hearing so I feel like this class is where the fun really is and where the potential really exists. It exists with the younger kids too but it’s amazing how vocabulary and just being a bit older makes such a difference when trying to explain something! We hit a lot of groundstrokes and do a lot of feeding with this group because most of them can’t hold a rally but that’s ok! Teaching tennis is about tailoring to the needs of the players and also the coaches, as I’ve found out.
With all of my classes, I’ve really enjoyed getting to see players progress throughout the weeks I’ve worked with them. There’s this one little girl in my 10U class, and when I first started working with her, she could barely get the ball to the net. Two weeks ago, she hit her first tennis ball over the net and I was THRILLED for her. I don’t think she got what all my excitement was about but it’s fine. 🙂 Today, she hit at least five balls over the net and her strokes are looking much better and stronger in general and I LOVE THE PROCESS AND PROGRESS I GET TO SEE AND BE A PART OF!
Being in the teaching position now, I really have to thank my dad for his patience and ability to work with my sister and I. Now I know what it really feels like! To sum it all up in three points, I’ve learned that:
- It’s better to break things down so the kids can follow some basic steps and I’m not spending a majority of the lessons talking.
- It’s important to spend a little bit of time with each kid, helping them find one or two things to focus on.
- City Park isn’t nearly as fun as the park at Fossil Creek in Fort Collins after going to the Denver Zoo. (Thanks to one of the kids in my little lobbers class for letting me know!)
I know that teaching tennis won’t always be easy and fun but I’ve really enjoyed my introduction to the teaching world so far. We’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks and months!
I hope you all have a wonderful week. If you’re in organic chemistry, physics, or both (like unfortunate me), stay strong and good luck with any exams you have coming up. I have both exams Tuesday, back-to-back, so we’ll see how that goes. See ya next Sunday!