Warm-up exercises are a necessary component of any sport, but getting kids to do them properly is a challenge.
Warming up helps relax muscles and prepares your body for the game. The goal is to get the blood rushing to your body’s major muscles and slowly increase your heart rate. Jumping straight into a game can cause muscle soreness and increases the risk of injury.
Many people mistakenly assume children don’t need to warm up because they won’t play a strenuous game. However, after several years of coaching kids, I believe it’s just as crucial for children to warm up before the game as it is for adults.
Not only does it help build better form and avoid injuries, but it also instills healthy, warm-up habits at a young age.
So without further ado, here are five simple tennis games that can get your kids excited about warming up.
1. Target Practice
Get your kids to stand along the doubles sidelines in a row. Be careful to leave some space between each person. Align plastic cones at different distances from the sidelines and challenge them to knock over all the cones.
The kids will have a bit of destructive fun and learn ball skills in the process.
2. Running the Lines
This drill is great for improving overall cardiovascular fitness. Have your players run from one end of the court to the other. You can challenge them by including a version of ‘Simon Says,’ where they have to stop as soon as ‘Simon’ asks them.
It’ll improve concentration as they listen for stop and start instructions while getting their heart rate up at the same time.
3. Hit and Catch
Split them into pairs and have them stand at some distance from each other. One player serves using only their hands while the other hits back with a racket. This will help them gain better control over the racket and improve hand-eye coordination.
Ask players to switch roles after about 20 minutes. The distance between the two players should vary depending on the age and level of the players.
Give each player a tennis ball and a racket and have them stand at the service line.
Younger kids can stay at the service line and practice dribbling in place. Older players can try to move to the net while dribbling for additional practice. To up the difficulty level, you can set a time limit and have them increase their speed.
5. Switch Drills
Switch drills are great for coordination and agility and help engage all the muscles in the body. Take eight disc cones and space four at one end of the service box and the other four at the other end of the service box.
Place tennis balls on alternating discs and get your player to pick up tennis balls from one disc and place them on the opposing empty disc. Once again, you can up the ante by timing the drill.
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