Thursday, June 23, 2011

QuickStart Tennis League

It's time to ditch the model of tennis lessons and clinics, especially for little kids.  This summer we started a QuickStart tennis league in our area.  We have three clubs participating and we've divided the league into three divisions: red, orange, and green.  The red plays on the red court (36') with the red balls and smallest racquets.  These kids tend to be age 7 or younger.  The orange plays on the orange court (60') with small racquets.  These kids are roughly 8 and 9 years old.  The green plays on the green court (78') with the green (75%) balls.

The league has been a huge success.  The kids love it.  They move from club to club each week, with one division at each club.  The kids wear the t-shirts of their club.

At the same time, we've struggled with our QS lesson groups at our club.  The kids in those groups are not doing the league, for the most part.  The kids in the lessons are motivated about like you'd expect kids to be in lessons.  Not.  We do the best we can to keep things fun and lively, but the kids like the lively games, not tennis.  They have no desire to learn to play tennis because they're just in lessons, without the carrot of matches or tournaments.  That's no way to run a junior program.

All other sports, well the popular ones, have leagues.  Kids sign up for a baseball league.  They sign up for a basketball, hockey, football, or soccer league.  They get put on a team.  The teams have practices and games.  That's the model we need for U10 tennis.

Scrap the b.s. "lessons".  Lessons suck.  They kill the joy of any activity.

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