Lily Pad is a great fun little warmup. It is a tried and true basic, def belongs in your toolbox. I first learned it years ago at a USTA QuickStart Workshop.
You will need some spots. Two for each player is ideal, but if you don't have enough, you can restructure the activity into a relay and still make things work.
I like to do this activity in two phases: first as a partner activity and second as an individual activity. You'll see why I do it in this order in a minute.
Objective: 'Frogs' (players) move from one sideline to the other by advancing the 'lily pads' (spots) in a straight line across the court. Frog may not step off lily pad or he/she will fall into the 'swamp' and dire consequences will ensue.
- Pair up players (see Team Formation for some ideas on how to do this).
- Place two spots straddling one of the court sidelines; one spot outside the court, one inside.
- Designate one of each pair of players as 'Froggie'; the other as 'Froggie Helper'.
- Froggie starts on spot inside court. Helper's job is to move the other spot ahead of Froggie as quickly as possible but within stepping or hopping distance.
- Remember, Frog must stay on spot at all times. If he/she falls into swamp, he/she starts over.
- When each pair gets all the way across the court, they switch roles. Froggie is now Froggie Helper and vice versa, and they work their way back to the starting point.
- First team to return is the winner.
Now that they have this figured out, or so they think, transition to an individual competition. If you don't have enough spots to give each player two, divide them into teams with only one player per team racing at a time. That way you will only need a total of four spots.
Repeat the above activity, with the big difference now being there is no 'helper'. Player must squat, twist, pick up spot, toss it, hop to it, and repeat, all on their own. They will soon discover the perils of tossing the spot too far! If they fall into the swamp, back to the starting line they go. It is interesting to see which players figure out it is better to toss it closer and move quickly than to toss far. They may be able to hop or leap far, but it is pretty much impossible to turn back and retrieve the other spot once you have leaped too far ahead. At this point they will really miss their Helper! First Froggie or Froggie Team to make it across the court and back, wins.
This is a great activity to videotape for your club website - lots of giggles. Froggie sound effects strongly encouraged!