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Frequently asked Junior Program questions

The Junior Winter Program is a fun place for kids to work on their tennis skills. It will run from January 20 thru March 28, 2014. Classes are offered at various times and skill levels throughout the week. The flexible program is designed to allow for your summer plans. Your schedule can vary from week to week according to your summer plans.

Nikki’s Tennis Crew Junior programs are designed for your children to learn tennis in a fun supportive group. The staff is energetic and they love teaching tennis We not only focus on tennis skills but your child learns the importance of team work and great sportsmanship.

What does my child need to bring to tennis?
Your child needs to be wearing comfortable cloths. Running shoes and crocs are not permitted. They should have water or gatorade, a hat and sunscreen are recommended. For the older kids who are playing more hours, a change of socks, t-shirt and a towel is recommended.

Are parents allowed to stay and watch?
Parents are more than welcome to stay especially for the 4 year old class. Please make sure that all cell phone conversations are kept to a minimum and at low levels. When a group of parents stay to watch, sometimes their conversations get a bit loud. Please keep group discussions at a low level too.

Does my child have to come on the same day each week?
No it can vary each week. For example, the Junior Clinics is offered throughout the week at various afternoon hours (see flyer or Home page). One week your child can come Monday and Wednesday. The following week they can play Tuesday and Friday. I ask that you sign up ahead of time.

What if I sign up for a class and realize my child can not make it?
If you sign up for a class and realize your summer plans have changed just let me know and you can reschedule for another day. Likewise you did not sign up for a class and your child wants to play, just let me know ahead of time. You will pay only for the classes you sign your child up for

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Can I help pick up balls?
Yes and no. Kids have a short attention span and when you start picking up balls in the middle of the drill, they will watch you and not pay attention to what is going on. You are more than welcome to help collect balls. Just make sure the drill is over or they are having a water break.

I see my child isn't doing what you instructed them to do last week?
I ask that parents only offer encouragement not instruction during the class. When parents tell their kids what to do it undermines my authority as the teacher on the court. Plus your child will listen to you and not me so I will not have control of the class. I see your child might be doing several things wrong and I am only focusing on one at that moment and you see what we were working on last week. I will revisit the problem but am working on something else this week

How many kids per instructor?
The class size varies from 4-6 kids per instructor. Because of the flexibility sometimes the class size for the day is slightly larger and some times there are only two kids per teacher. I try my best to keep the class size small.

What are the different classes?
The classes are broken into age and ability. Peanuts is a thirty minute fun intro class to tennis for 4 year olds. The kids learn the basic shots. My goal is for them to know the difference between a backhand and a forehand, a volley, groundstroke and an overhead. Junior Star's class is an hour class for 5-7 year olds where the kids learn more of the strokes. The serve is introduced as well as scoring. Fun games are played to work on the different shots. Junior Clinic is a 90 minute class for 7-9 that works on all the basics. This class is for the kids who have a really good attention span. Doubles and Match play is introduced. Junior Touring Pros is for student who knows the basics and is ready for match play. This class works on all aspects of tennis as well as conditioning.

What is the format of the class?
Peanuts (30 minutes) the kids will stay on the same court throughout the class. The first 5 or so minutes is a warm-up where we stretch and do a little running. The next 10 minutes they will work on volleys. They will have a water break and then ground strokes. Those who listen really well and do their best will great a treat.
Junior Stars (60 minutes) and Junior Clinic (90 minutes) start the same with a 5 minute or so warm up. They will be broken up into different courts where they will work on ground strokes. They will rotate courts at 30 minutes into the lesson. On their new court they will do volley drills and/or serves. The last 10 minutes for the Junior Stars, a game will be played. The Junior Clinic will then focus on some doubles for about 20 minutes followed by a game.
Junior Touring Pros (120 minutes) starts with a warm-up and some conditioning. The first hour they will cover the basics with drills. The next forty five minutes will be specialty shots and doubles play. Some kids will be put on their own court to play individual matches. The last 10 to 15 minutes a huge group game will be played with all the students on one court.

My child is 4 can they come to the Junior Stars?
It depends on your child's attention span. The Peanuts (30 minutes) and the Junior Star (60 minutes) class is offered at the same time so kids who can pay attention for a longer time can just stay longer in the class.

My child is 7 which class is better for them?
Once again it depends on your child's attention span. I know some 7 year olds who pay much better attention than 9 year olds. It really will vary from child to child. I don't have an exact age cut off because of how different kids are. Junior Stars and Junior Clinic classes do over lap so if one is better, the switch can happen easy.

Why do you have the kids switch courts?
Kids pay attention for about 20 minutes or so. By switching courts it allows them to refocus. Each teacher offers their own spice to life so the kids get to work with everyone.

Why do you have high school students teaching?
Kids love teenagers! They look up to them. They want to be like them. Teenagers have unlimited energy and they relate really well to younger kids. The junior assistants are all players in the Junior Touring Pro class who have asked to help. They spend a semester teaching with me before they are on their own. More importantly it gives younger kids a goal. Kids in the junior clinic are asking if one day they can help. "Of course" I say "But you really need to focus on your tennis skills." I started teaching when I was 12 and it taught me so much. It is a great opportunity for all involved.

How much tennis will my kids learn?
We will do our best to teach your kids as much as they can learn. This is a group class so individual attention is difficult to give. The goal of a clinic is to give your child plenty of balls to hit. I recommend if your child wants to be a serious tennis player that they supplement the group classes with a private lesson every so often. I have found kids who supplement privates with the clinics get the most out of the clinic.

Rally Ball Clarification
There has been some confusion with the use of Rally balls and I just wanted to clarify the purpose of the Rally ball. The USTA has implemented a new format of play for all juniors in the 10 and under division and below. They have done much study about "our" methods of instruction and have found we are behind in the game. Europe has been using these low pressure balls for many years. Starting this coming year all tournaments for 10 and under will be using a form of these balls with a smaller court. Trying to follow along with what the USTA deems the "best" way to teach our youth, my program is using their new method. Some parents feel their child is missing out by not using the "yellow" ball and being demoted by having their children use the rally ball the whole class. Have no worries!! Your children are NOT being demoted and are actually getting ahead of the game! Here is why... By using the rally balls, children learn how to construct points. They learn how to hit through the balls. They are able to work on serve and volleys where before the net was to far away and if they did go to the net and get hit with a ball, it hurt and they NEVER wanted to go to the net again. The low bounce of the balls allows the kids to hold the proper grip keeping their stroke production to a high level. Plus the higher level of success really gets the kids excited about the game. Tennis is the only sport that kids were using adult size field. Can you imagine a kids running around on an adult size soccer field to score goals. Or trying to shoot a basketball in adult height hoops. US tennis is finally catching on. I am learning to get out of the old mentality about kids playing with adult equipment means they are better and hoping to educate all my students parent's as well. I still use the yellow balls but am finding kids really are improving so much quicker by using the rally ball. So please don't f eel your kids are behind by not using the "adult" yellow tennis balls. The transition is easy and when the time is right, their strokes/technique will be solid, their ability to construct points fantastic, their serve and volley game amazing and their enjoyment of the game a lifetime. Thanks and I hope this clears up any misconception about your kids perhaps falling behind because my teachers are using the rally balls the whole class. I welcome any comments regarding this. I am here to serve your children the best I can!

Nikki Robbins


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