Tennis

KEY STAGE 1

BEGINNER

Movement

In tennis, it is important that players are able to move side to side across the area to return a ball to an opponent. This section focuses on this type of movement.

Introduction
Explain to players that you are going to ask them to move like an animal. For example, ask them to hop like a rabbit, run like a dog or walk side to side like a crab. To make it more difficult, you could use a coloured cone to represent the particular animal, for example a red cone for a crab. Then when you hold up that cone, the players will need to move in that way.

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Game: Cups and Saucers
Place lots of cones on the area floor. Half of them need to be placed on the floor in the normal way, and half upside down. This creates the cups and saucers. Divide the group in two, depending on whether they are a cup or a saucer, and ask the players to turn the flexi cones over for their team. The team with the most cones turned over within a set time wins. The game can be repeated by increasing the time or travelling in a specific way, for example side to side.

INTERMEDIATE

Throwing and Catching

The players need to be able to throw and catch a tennis ball before they can begin using a racket. This section focuses on this skill.

Introduction
Give each player a tennis ball. Ask the players to throw the tennis ball up in the air and catch it again. Ask them to use two hands at first, then move on to using one hand. Initially, ask them to remain still while doing this, then progress to doing this while walking forwards or backwards, running etc.

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Game: Don't Drop it!
Split the group so that each team only has five players. Each team will only need one tennis ball. Ask the players to call a player’s name, then throw the ball to that player. If that player drops it, then they are out (you could give the players more than one try). The player remaining at the end is the winner. To make it more difficult, the players can take a step back to increase the distance or use only their weaker hand.

ADVANCED

Using a Bat or Racket

It is essential that the players are comfortable with a tennis racket and have developed the hand–eye co-ordination they need to be able to hit a ball. This section helps improve hand–eye co-ordination.

Introduction
Give each player a beanbag and a bat. Ask the players to move around the area and throw the beanbag in the air and catch it using only the bat. Ask the players to do this while remaining still initially, then while walking forwards or backwards, side to side and jogging.

Tennis - advanced Key Stage 1

Game: Bounce the Ball
Give each player a ball and a tennis racket or a bat. Mark out an area with cones that the players must stay within. Ask the players to move around the area, bouncing the tennis ball in the air with the racket. Ensure the players keep control of the ball at all times. Ask the players to do this while remaining still initially, then while walking forwards or backwards, side to side and jogging. The player who can do this the longest is the winner.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.

Reduce the size of the court for players with mobility difficulties.
Lower the net, if necessary.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
If a player finds it difficult to throw/catch/bounce a tennis ball, use a bigger ball or beach ball or balloon to help them.
If a player has difficulty with movement, then perhaps this player can be the server.
Pair up players who find it difficult to throw or catch with another player of a similar level so they can use same ball type.
Pair up players who have mobility difficulties against each other so that the game has suitable conditions, for example ball type, net or court size.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide the player with hearing difficulties.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. that the ball is out.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Place the ball on a holder for the player to hit ball off and use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) for those children who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the court using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Ulster Tennis ulstertennis.co.uk/players/wheelchair

KEY STAGE 2

BEGINNER

Using a bat/racket

It is essential that the players are comfortable with a tennis racket and have developed the hand–eye co-ordination they need to be able to hit a ball. This section helps improve hand–eye co-ordination.

Introduction
Give each player a beanbag and a bat. Ask the players to move around the area and throw the beanbag in the air and catch it using only the bat. Ask the players to do this while remaining still initially, then while walking forwards or backwards, side to side and jogging.

Tennis - beginner Key Stage 2

Game: Bounce the Ball
Give each player a ball and a tennis racket or a bat. Mark out an area with cones that the players must stay within. Ask the players to move around the area, bouncing the tennis ball up into the air with the racket. Ensure the players keep control of the ball at all times. Ask the players to do this while remaining still initially, then when walking forwards or backwards, side to side and jogging. Any player whose ball touches the ground is out. The player left at the end is the winner.

INTERMEDIATE

Serving

Serving is an integral part of tennis and it is important that a player can throw the ball and hit it to serve.

Introduction
Split the group into pairs. Each player in the pair will have a racket and a ball between them. The pairs will stand apart from each other and attempt to throw the ball up and hit it to the other player. Encourage players to use underarm throw, let it bounce, then underarm hit. This will be the easiest method of hitting the ball.

Tennis - intermediate Key Stage 2

Game: Simplified Rounders
Split the group into two smaller teams. One will be the batting team and the other will be the fielding team. Use a selection of bats and balls to suit the ability level of the players. Set out a home base, then four other bases (you can use a pole, cones or mats for each base). The bowler in the fielding team will throw the ball underarm to serve the ball. The batter hits the ball, then runs to as many posts as possible before the fielders return the ball to touch the post the batter is running towards. To the get batter 'out', the fielding team must catch the ball cleanly or hit the post or cone the batter is running towards. This player cannot run again until the next player in their team has batted and started running. Only one player can remain at a post or cone at a time. Each player in the team will have a go at batting then add up the total amount of full rounders. The batting team and the fielding team will then swap.

ADVANCED

Game

The players now have the skills they need to play a simple tennis match. It is important that the players get lots of time to practise hitting the ball.

Tennis - advanced Key Stage 2

Game: Mini Tennis
The idea of this game is to ensure that the players have maximum attempts at hitting the ball and to encourage a rally to take place between the players. Therefore, modify the rules of tennis to ensure this, for example allow the ball to bounce more than once and perhaps use a tennis ball that is softer and slower. Depending on the size of the group, the game length could be decided on scoring or on a timely basis. Two vs. two could also be useful to encourage a rally to take place and also ensure the waiting time is reduced for the players who are not playing. Use a low net and set out a court using gridlines or flat cones. Decide which player is going to serve first. Encourage the players to attempt to serve diagonally. When the players are serving, ask them to serve with underarm throws and also use underarm hitting to return the ball. If there is more than one court in an area, ensure there is plenty of space between courts.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.

Reduce the size of the court for players with mobility difficulties.
Lower the net, if necessary.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
If a player finds it difficult to throw/catch/bounce a tennis ball, use a bigger ball or beach ball or balloon to help them.
If a player has difficulty with movement, then perhaps this player can be the server.
Pair up players who find it difficult to throw or catch with another player of a similar level so they can use same ball type.
Pair up players who have mobility difficulties against each other so that the game has suitable conditions, for example ball type, net or court size.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide the player with hearing difficulties.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. that the ball is out.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Place the ball on a holder for the player to hit ball off and use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) for those children who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the court using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Ulster Tennis ulstertennis.co.uk/players/wheelchair

KEY STAGE 3

Game Development

Introduction
To develop the skills players need for a game of tennis, it is important that they have lots of opportunities to practise hitting the ball to and returning the ball from an opponent. At this stage, it is important that the rules of tennis are relaxed initially. This will give the players a chance to practise the skills required. The rules can then be applied as the players become more able.

Inclusion and Accessibility
While we would like all pupils to be included in Physical Education along with the others in their class, this is not always possible when it comes to playing the full version of the sport.

If a pupil has physical disabilities that mean they cannot safely take part in the game along with the other pupils in their class, then this pupil should be given the opportunity to take part in other physical activity. For example, a class could be split into groups, with some pupils practising the drills and others playing the game. The smaller group could practise the skills needed for the sport, or for the disabled version of the sport, alongside the rest of the class. These smaller groups would work in rotation, giving everyone an opportunity to play the sport and practise their skills.

Alternatively, some pupils may prefer to do a physical activity that they are particularly interested in, for example practising the drills needed for a sport they play outside of school.

Tennis - Key Stage 3

Tips

  • Emphasise fun initially so the players warm to the sport.
  • Use rackets or bats of appropriate size and length for the ability of the players.
  • Use balls that are slower and softer than tennis balls, until the players have gained some confidence.
  • Use an area and net of appropriate size for the court, depending on the group’s ability.
  • Mark out the court and explain what the different lines are for (but be sure to use flat and non-slip cones if there are no court lines).
  • Use teams of two or three initially. This will ensure some players do not feel singled out and pressured when playing.
  • Ensure players of a similar level are placed against each other.
  • If some players are particularly good, then perhaps do two vs. one or allow the other player more than one bounce.
  • Ensure the players are confident with underarm serves and hits before any other shots.
  • Ensure the time set for each half is suitable for the age and ability of the players.

Make it inclusive!

Use a flat, hard playing surface.
Ensure the adult to player ratio is appropriate so that every player has a chance to be involved.
Allow wheelchair users and those with difficulties and impairments more time.

Reduce the size of the court for players with mobility difficulties.
Lower the net, if necessary.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
If a player finds it difficult to throw/catch/bounce a tennis ball, use a bigger ball or beach ball or balloon to help them.
If a player has difficulty with movement, then perhaps this player can be the server.
Pair up players who find it difficult to throw or catch with another player of a similar level so they can use same ball type.
Pair up players who have mobility difficulties against each other so that the game has suitable conditions, for example ball type, net or court size.

Demonstrate the game using sign language, such as Makaton.
Pair up with a ‘hearing’ player or an adult who will guide the player with hearing difficulties.
Use a large countdown clock or visual sign to show that game time has started or stopped.
Hold up a sign to show the game has started/ended.
Use visual cues to indicate different events during the game, e.g. that the ball is out.

For players with minor visual impairments use a brightly coloured ball that contrasts with the playing surface.
Make sure that cones and equipment marking the boundaries of the playing area are brightly coloured and clearly contrast with the playing surface itself.
Allow the player to use a racket with a shorter handle and bigger faces to help players control the ball.
Place the ball on a holder for the player to hit ball off and use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) for those children who have a serious visual impairment.
Use an audible ball (ball that makes a sound) with players who have a serious visual impairment.
Allow an adult or ‘seeing’ player to guide them around the court using directions or a hand on their shoulder.

Useful Links

Ulster Tennis ulstertennis.co.uk/players/wheelchair