Saturday, April 7, 2012

Caterpillar

Caterpillar - Not!
Insanely colorful birds. Not sure
but they might be tanagers??
If you dig around in the USTA's playbooks for 10U tennis, you will find a couple of different drills called Caterpillar. I have used both. This one is my favorite and my younger students always enjoy doing it.

  • Line up players single file, feet at least shoulder width apart. I like for them to be pretty close to the player in front of them. 
  • Coach stands 5-10 feet away, facing them. 
  • Coach rolls tennis ball along ground. 
  • Players must move together (preferably using their shuffle step!) so that ball rolls between their feet from front of line all the way to the end of the line without touching anyone.
  •  If it touches anyone, that player moves to end of line. It is much easier to move and adjust your position correctly at the front of the line, so you def don't want to be sent to the rear.

I start out rolling the ball straight at them until I see they understand the activity. Then I start rolling the ball further away from them to make it a little more difficult. Variation: let one of the kids roll the ball.

Click here to see a video of the Caterpillar drill, thanks to webtennis24.com. These kids are bigger but no worries - my young players (5-7) are able to do this drill just as well (maybe better).