What balls and racket to use when learning to play tennis.
As a professional tennis coach and a former professional WTA player I make sure to have the right balls when teaching girls.
When a young girl under the age of 5 starts to play tennis their bodies are very small and muscles and bones are growing and are still developing naturally. Using the regular tennis ball is quite heavy and makes it very difficult for young girls to learn to hit a ball.
What are foam balls and low compression balls?
Foam balls are slightly larger than a regular ball and lighter for easy visibility and contact for your daughter. You can purchase any of these products through any tennis shops, department sports stores or your coach. Low compression balls are the same size as a regular ball but have less air in them and are made of a lighter material making it easier for the ball to move and fly through the air.
This makes it easier for a young girl to connect with the ball and get an immediate response with little effort. Along with the right size racket and a low compression ball it makes it a fantastic fun way to learn how to play tennis.
How many balls do I need?
Especially as they are young and have little skills at this stage it is a good idea to invest in at least 20 balls or if you can afford more anywhere up to 60 balls is excellent.
It will make it fun for everyone especially when you don’t have to run after every ball when it goes past you or away from you. It is also good to have a bucket or a basket to put them in. otherwise a plastic bag will do.
As a parent you can toss the ball gently to your daughter – the coach will help you to do this exercise. Or if you ask your coach they will be happy to demonstrate.
Or you would be best to purchase the GTA video to learn what the progressions are so you can teach your daughter the best way to get Quick Wins-Fast Results-Love tennis! At the beginning stages you may not need to have a racket yourself.
Do I need to go on a tennis court?
If you have access to a tennis court either a local club, council court, next door neighbours court then that will be good but it’s not totally important in the beginning stages.
With the low compression balls and a piece of string, 2 chairs or poles, trees or something that is stable you can start in the back yard, on the driveway or somewhere where your not going to lose all the balls or have to spend hours finding them.
With foam balls they don’t travel fast allowing you and your daughter time to track the ball and hit it back. It’s a lot easier to maintain a rally with foam balls.
Here is an easy option – blowing up a balloon and rolling up a piece of paper is a FANTASTIC way to start girls tracking the ball. You can then have the string tied between 2 chairs and play in the lounge room or wherever is suitable. You could even have fun teaching them how to score.
I will have a video blog post on how to teach girls to score – I will make an announcement.
Does my daughter need a racket to start with to play tennis?
YES! Girls love having their own racket. They feel apart of the sport and they own it for themselves. Of course you would be able to loan, hire or borrow a racket from your coach or local tennis club to see if they like it.
But I can honestly say that if you can afford to spend $20-$25 for a racket its well worth the investment to your daughter. In a very subtle way it also validates her and she feels you’re supportive of her actions and encourages her to give it a really good go.
There are many different racket sizes. Starting at 19’, which is for 3-4yr olds, 21’ for 4-6 yrs old, 23’ 6-8 yr olds, 25’ 8-10 yr olds, then it goes into 26’ and adult size is 27’.
Of course this also depends on your daughters height and strength as to what size will suit her. Your coach will be able to assist you with this. For you as a parent, uncle, auntie, grandparent, you can play with your daughter with a racket or just throwing the ball out of your hand.
You can see these exercises in my video that you can purchase online at Girls tennis Academy. It gives you a very clear step-by-step process on how to teach your daughter. The lessons are done in real time over an 8-week period with a 6yr old girl. So make sure to join up to Girls Tennis Academy and get all the information on coaching girls, including health, fitness, video tips, blog posts and expert interviews.
Come and join a community of like minded people and share your own experiences, ask questions and get support on teaching your daughter or girls how to play this great sport and lets have them continue to play for a lifetime.
Sign up below with your name and email address and I look forward to meeting you at Girls Tennis Academy.