You will need
- Something to mark lines (for example, chalk, masking tape, or rope)
- Cones (optional)
- Tennis balls
- Small boxes
Before you begin
- Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here.
- In one area of the space mark out one half of a tennis court, as drawn above, using chalk, masking tape, or rope. Make sure it isn’t a trip hazard. This is for the ‘Line time’ drill.
- In another area of the space, create a winding path using cones or chalk. These should be spaced quite closely together so that people have to use good footwork skills to navigate through them. This is for the ‘Weave your way’ drill.
- Split your remaining space in half by marking out a line in the middle using chalk, masking tape, or rope. This is for the ‘Box the bounce’ drill.
- This activity works best when the three bases are run at the same time.
Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk asses your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:
- Set up a handwashing station that you can use throughout the session, especially between using equipment.
- Avoid sharing equipment if you can. If you have to share equipment, clean it between uses.
- Remind everyone to stay at a safe distance apart at all times.
Get ready to play
- Everyone should split into three groups.
- Each group should go to a different base and complete the activity.
- After 5–10 minutes, the person leading the activity should tell everyone when to move on and complete their second and third base.
- Everyone should start the game outside of the half court marked on the ground.
- The person leading the game should explain what each part of the court is called and when it’s used.
- The person leading the game should check that everyone understands the court by standing on different lines or in different spaces and asking everyone to call out the name of the place they’re standing.
- When everyone is confident with how the court is labelled, the person leading the game should call out a line or space name, and everyone should stand on or in it.
- The person leading the game should continuing calling out different lines or spaces until it’s time to move on.
Weave your way
- Everyone should line up behind the first cone or marker.
- The person leading the game should call out a way of moving, such as ‘jogging’, ‘hopping’, ‘walking backwards’ or ‘side shuffling’.
- The first person in line should begin weaving through the path of cones or markers using that movement.
- After the first player has moved at least several metres, the second player start weaving through the path.
- The person leading the game should change the way of moving regularly.
- Everyone should continue playing until they’ve weaved through the path two or three times.
Box the bounce
- Everyone should get into pairs.
- One half of each pair should stand on one side of line, and the other person in the pair should stand opposite them, on the other side of the line.
- Each player should get their own box, such as a shoebox, empty square food packaging, or a plastic container.
- Each pair should get one ball.
- The person leading the activity game should call out different ways for pairs to throw and catch their ball, such as ‘right-handed’, ‘left-handed’, ‘both hands’ or ‘overhead’.
- One member of the pair should throw the ball over the line and the other half of the pair should try to catch it within one bounce.
- The catcher should throw the ball back over the net so their partner can have a turn at catching it in their box.
- Everyone should continue repeating steps five to seven until it’s time to move on.
Get a certificate for your achievement
After completing this activity you can download the certificate, which entitles you to a 10% discount on the LTA Youth Start Programme. Scan the QR code on the certificate to sign up!
Before downloading, we would appreciate if you could answer three short questions to help LTA identify areas and regions where there is high demand for their Youth Programme courses.
At the end of the session, ask what skills each base developed and why these skills are important. You could chat as people do some cool down stretches. People might suggest that:
- Line time helped everyone identify the different areas of a tennis court, and move confidently between them.
- Weave your way helped everyone develop their footwork. Tennis involves lots of small steps (unlike the long strides people use in sports like rounders or football), so it’s important to move quickly while staying balanced and focused on the ball.
- Box the bounce helped everyone practice hand-eye coordination. The one bounce rule in tennis means it’s really important to watch where the ball is travelling – players need to react quickly to return it to their opponent.
Ask everyone to think of some other games they could play to develop these skills. Are there any other sports that use similar skills?
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.