About Kids' Tennis

The Strategy – a three stage approach

1. Ball and fitness – Introduce ball skills and tennis related exercises and activities

2. Bat – Introduce mini tennis

3. Tennis - Introduce/reintroduce tennis as courts are refurbished and clubs established

Ball

There are many ball activities and games that kids can play individually and together to promote coordination, concentration, balance, fitness and general well being. Where there is a tennis court or hard surface these games can be a prelude and support to the introduction of mini tennis (see below). However where this is not possible the games can be used as a stand alone activity that a primary school teacher/sports teacher can incorporate into a PE curriculum. Some of the ball games can be introduced even to children of kindergarten age as part of the curriculum.

Bat

What is Mini Tennis? Mini Tennis is a portable game of tennis that can be played anywhere by two players as long as there is a flat surface to play on. Two portable stands (targets) with string stretched between them can form a net and the children, or adults, play with wooden bats (larger than a ping pong bat and smaller than a tennis racquet) that can be made from strong plywood, sealed and bought at a cost of several dollars. With used tennis balls this makes mini tennis accessible to children in all sorts of communities anywhere in the world. Mini tennis can be played in the mountains, or a form of beach tennis can be played by the sea. It can be played on a tennis court or a small piece of concrete or hard ground and is easily transported.

Mini tennis is also encouraged by the ITF as a route into tennis for young players. It allows kids to practice tennis strokes on a much smaller court area. Today,in Australia, for instance a new game is emerging called “Beach Tennis”. In Sierra Leone for example, in more remote areas of the country such as Kono, (the fourth largest city and one of the most war affected areas- almost every building was damaged or destroyed during the civil war), a program of mini tennis is currently being introduced into the schools and supported by the local tennis club.

Tennis

Some of the positives of tennis are that it offers both team and individual competition as well as social activity. As a social sport it can bring children and adults from different backgrounds and areas together and its code of conduct encourages children to behave with respect towards each other. Girls are prepared to “have a go” a well.

All young tennis players in countries like East Timor and Sierra Leone regularly participate in training sessions to develop their strength, agility and hand, ball coordination. Where these skill sets are encouraged from an early age it will help those children who have access to a regional or district court to quickly adapt to the game of tennis. Today, for example, the children in Sierra Leone and East Timor who play regularly are becoming strong players and at a young age can compete and enjoy a social game with adult players as well as their peers. In countries such as these, both, with a history of tennis, where there are large numbers of young people and high unemployment rates, sports such as tennis have an important role to play in the community.

The Ethiopian program is being established under Hope for Children Australia . www.hopeforchildren.org.au and South Sudan is also developing its own program. A demonstration was run in early 2011 in Phuket at the SOS centre for children.

Who We Are

Amidu Dumbuya, Program Coordinator and Coach SLKT, Sierra Leone

 

 

 

Armindo da Costa, Program Coordinator and Coach TLKT, Timor-Leste

 

 

 

Meseret Tadege, Program Coordinator EKT, Ethiopia

 

 

 

Asseged Haileslassie Abadina, Coach EKT, Ethiopia

 

 

 

 

Sarah Johnston, International Advisor