5 Reasons Quick Start Tennis Can Cause Bad Habits in Young Tennis Players

5 Reasons Quick Start Tennis Can Cause Bad Habits in Young Tennis Players

My opinion on the use of quick start tennis balls is that they are a great tool for tennis coaches to use in developing junior players.

Mini Tennis must be used in creating the correct habits for tennis on a full size court. However there are certain aspects that fill me with apprehension with the Short Game System that is currently being promoted.

As we all know once a habit becomes instinctive a blueprint of behaviour is automatically established and becomes very hard to alter.

We all know how hard it is to alter an ingrained habit like smoking. So why are the tennis federations insisting that tennis be taught this way?

Here are 5 bad habits I have witnessed junior players developing with this method.

#1. Serve Up Not Down

The adolescent player has to hit their serve down in order to get it into the quick start tennis court, which in actuality is the opposite of what you have to do in the real game on a full size court. Even Top Pro player John Isner, a mountain of man at 6 foot 10 inches has to hit his serves up to get the ball into court. Tennis is a vertical game!

#2. Serving And Volleying With The Wrong Grip

To get early success the serve and forehand volley is taught with a forehand grip. This is fundamentally wrong as the junior player will not develop spin or control on the ball and will find it hard when they progress to the bigger court with heavier balls. The continental grip must be used on these shots to create the habit of striking the ball with spin and control from the beginning of their development!

These grips are easy to implement with our simple Tennis in Minutes techniques which allow players to master and discover these shots with the right grips in next to no time.

#3. Regimented Posture and Restricted Movement for the Forehand

Young players are told to stand in 3/4 open stance for the forehand. This confine natural movement whilst starting in a natural ‘square on’ position, encourages natural movement to help them discover the ball. With beginners, the key thing is to develop automatic reception skills.

A partially open stance encourages balance when driving the ball because it allows the dominant hip to ‘torque’ and produce power, but young players can only do this when the ball is in a certain position in relation to the player. So to wrap up, this is but one posture out of many! Tennis has to be a game of flexibility and natural movement not dictatorial restrictive sequences.

#4. The nets in Mini Tennis are too low!

Adolescent players can get away with whacking across the ball using poor technique, instead of hitting up like you have to on a full court. There is no sense of pushing up in their ball striking, whereas tennis is now very much a vertical game with racquets hitting up the back of the ball with topspin and players moving up as they hit.

#5. The Forgotten Shot in Quick Start Tennis

When did you last see a one handed backhand being taught in a mini tennis lesson? This is not taught because its thought of as a hard shot for junior players to master and that the player will not have the power to hit it yet. If a player is developing with lighter and slower quick start tennis balls there is very little danger of injury so there is no reason for not teaching this shot. After all not all players are natural two handers!

It’s my belief that both one-handed and two-handed backhands should be taught at this stage and the junior player is then able to discover which works best for him or her. Our Tennis in Minutes methodology has junior players as young as 4 years of age hitting amazing single handed backhands. The simple progressions make the grip change a very simple habit to master.

To wrap up we are fans of Quick Start Tennis and use the varying low compression balls but we are also very sensitive of the dangers of teaching bad habits at the start of the young tennis players career.