I‘m really big on co-ordination. It’s crucial for all ball sports, especially tennis, and is best described as the synchronization of arms and legs so that they function together, co-ordination is closely linked to mental organizational ability and exercises to develop this skill can be as simple and as complex as the child requires.
The key with developing co-ordination is to keep challenging your kids so that as soon as they can
do an activity easily, make it tougher so they really have to work hard mentally in order to be able to do
Remember when teachers used to ask you to pat the top of your head with your left hand while
making circle movements with your right foot? Wasn’t easy, was it?
Here’s a hand-eye co-ordination exercise which starts off simple but becomes more and more complex as you add to it. All you need is a couple of tennis balls. Toss a ball up with one hand and catch it with the same hand. Toss it up again and make a complete circle round the ball with your hand and catch it, palm facing down. Now try it with your other hand. And then try it with both hands at the same time. Can you do the circle catch with one ball while passing the other ball from one foot to the other with a mini kick? You can make this up as you go along depending on the child’s ability. It’s best to start very simple and add as much or as little to it as you want, whenever you want or when the child is ready for a tougher challenge.
One of my favourite games is good old fashioned skipping. It’s a great way to develop co-ordination of upper and lower limbs. It helps to develop rhythm and timing too. So find a jump rope and get cracking. Just make sure the rope is the right length for the child. If it’s too long, tie knots in it!
Ask the kids to experiment with different types of skips. Both feet, on one foot and on the move forwards, sideways and backwards. Get involved yourself… especially if your kids are struggling to turn the rope. Tie the rope to a tree or the washing line and turn the rope so they can jump.