Control or Power?
The two boys are four and seven years old and usually only do anything with a tennis racquet when they visit with me in New Hampshire or Florida. We have the kid-sized racquets and foam balls to use; and I had them down in my basement hitting against the wall.
They were taking turns to see how many balls in a row they could hit against the wall (the seven year old on one bounce and the four year old was OK just scraping it along the floor anyway he could).
At first, they just whacked the ball and it bounced all around the basement. But when they accepted the goal of beating their personal records each time they had a turn, they became much more controlled in their hitting.
But is that the right way to teach little kids?
In Andre Agassi’s autobiography (and supported by other tennis teachers I have heard), he was told to “just hit the ball as hard as he could, and it would eventually go in.” So which way is the better way to teach the Under Ten crowd… hit the ball hard, with no rallies at all; or under control, with very little power in the stroke?
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