Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Three Teaching Aids I Want (and Three I Don't)

The latest Oncourt Offcourt tennis supply catalog arrived recently. Lots of goodies for 10 and Under Tennis. Here are my top three, and three I will pass on for now.

#1: Hoop Target Set
As you may know from some of my other blog posts, hula hoops are high on my list of next teaching aid acquisition. When I saw these in the catalog, I liked having the bricks to double their use - vertical as well as horizontal. Has anyone tried these? Are they worthwhile or should I just buy some regular hoops? It says these hoops are only 27" in diameter. Regular hoops are quite a bit bigger.

#2: Smart Squares
These are square spots with inspiring words printed on them such as 'Dream' and 'Respect'. I like the positive encouragement aspect but am trying to get away from using spots. Too many students think they have to stay on the spots! Thoughts??

#3: Pocket Radar
Nothing gets players fired up about working on their serves like a radar readout. At my previous club, we used to invite the local law enforcement personnel to our big events so they would bring their radar guns and clock serves for our serving contest. Then we bought the SpeedTrac product which wasn't bad - easy to read, simple to use, relatively affordable. But I see in this new catalog there is a Pocket Radar . For the same price as the SpeedTrac ($199) it is about the size of a large cell phone and works off two AAA batteries. It also has the ability to track player data over time. Too bad the player can't see it from across the net, like you can the SpeedTrac. But the size and data features might make it worthwhile.

Nice Try - But Not For Me
QuickStart Multi Cart - a trim profile lightweight cart with four interchangeable color coded baskets. Red basket for red balls, orange basket for orange balls, etc. Love the concept, neatness, organization. This may work for you at your club, but here's my issue. Our facility is huge, 30 courts. I have a loooooong walk from the main clubhouse (and supply closet) to the QuickStart courts, then a shorter walk from the QS to the 60 foot courts for back-to-back lessons. This cart would be great if a) I only needed two types of balls for back-to-back lessons, or b) my club was smaller or storage was closer to my courts and I had time to swap out baskets depending on the lesson. As it is now, I sometimes teach a foam ball or a green ball class before or after the red and orange classes, so most days I am going to need a third or fourth type of ball and don't have time to run back to the storage area to get them - I need to bring everything with me the first time around. Rumor has it an additional storage building closer to the QS courts is in my future. When this comes to pass, I will revisit this idea.

Nice Try #2
Oncourt Offcourt's new portable net system comes with a built-in scorekeeper. It is a simple set of plastic clips that slide up and down some numbers printed on the vertical edge of the net binding. For those of you who do not have permanent QuickStart courts (like I do - brag) and need some portable mini-nets, this is a cool feature. Couldn't help wondering what happens when the plastic clips break or get lost. Back to the clothes pins, I guess!

Gonna Pass On These
Knockdown Targets - we had these at another facility where I worked. The kids loved them. But they are pain in the posterior to store and transport from storage to court. Unless you have plenty of storage room adjacent to your QuickStart courts, or are willing to wrestle them back and forth between lessons, I would pass on these.