The concluding statement of the international speakers of the 2nd international kids tennis workshop »COACH THE COACHES« can be summed up easily: „The success of teaching tennis to children depends crucially on the coach’s engagement. He must know exactly his pupils’ individual abilities and stages of development and consequently adapt the corresponding ways of practicing and playing to what the children are able to do at the moment.” This is exactly what was shown to the 73 motivated male and female coaches from all over Europe in an impressive way, giving lots of examples of how you can do this.
Kai Gerber and Reimar Bezzenberger, who were mainly in charge of organizing the event, found the right words in their opening lecture: „We want to impart knowledge about how to teach tennis to children in many ways. We think that an exchange of knowledge between the speakers and the participants is very important und we would like to start networks so that teaching tennis to children will be exciting, motivating and connected with lots of positive experiences.”
Something for everybody
And it was just these networks that made 12 very renowned coaches of kids’ tennis come to Basel and pass their knowledge on to highly motivated colleagues. Thus quite intentionally, the participants were presented with a wide variety of special knowledge. It started with the level ‘white’ for children aged 4 to 5, then there were the Play+Stay levels »red«, »orange« and »green«, followed by practicing with advanced players, so that all levels of teaching tennis to children were presented, following the slogan »From the rolling to the flying ball«.
„In the first place tennis must be fun for children. Many different competitions with varied ways of playing must be included and it is not the most important aspect that they are always associated with playing tennis”, says Martin Rocca, top speaker from Spain. And this is true for all the other presentations. Patrick Simon (France) fascinated the participants in his presentation on techniques with children’s rackets and foam balls. „The exercises I’m going to show you now are exactly what I did with Amelie Mauresmo at the beginning of each practice. She always warmed up using children’s rackets and foam balls.”
Andy Dowsett (England) concentrated on how to improve children’s ability to play in his vivid presentation and he surprised everybody by showing how children are able to put tactical goals into practice easily. There were also aspects of how to practise coordination in varied ways on each level , having the children’s age on your mind. At the end of two very interesting days of the workshop Tamas Boggy (Hungary) and Rodolphe Handschin (Switzerland) impressively demonstrated how to pass on to practicing with children on an advanced level.