UPDATE: Jeff Cooper from tennis.about.com has put in the great recommendation “a coach should use foam balls and hit them, not roll them, as a rolling ball would likely cause injury if stepped upon.” Thanks Jeff! – while we’re at it I’d greatly recommend you check out his articles on about.com – his articles on repairing different strokes are my favourite, particularly the forehand repair article.
NOTE: this game should only be played with soft low-compression balls (i.e. 25% compression) – or as Jeff points out above, foam balls (see update above).
Fireball is a fun game that kids love to play. The children should start on one singles line and from there they are required to run to the other singles line while dodging low bouncing balls that the coach is rolling at them.
A good way to do this is to ask questions, and if they answer yes, they must run to the other side, e.g. “if you’re favourite tennis player is Roger Federer run to the other side”. That way it’s also a bit more of a controlled game.
If someone is hit below the knee from the ball, they must run and pick up 3 balls and put it back in the basket to join back into the game.
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This game essentially helps footwork and balance for kids, while improving their overall fitness and adding another dimension of fun into the tennis group lesson.