For Assistant Coaches and Volunteers

Context: AK volunteers are asked to donate their time at one or more of our tennis programs during the year. Often volunteers are filling in for an Assistant Coach who is ill or otherwise unable to make the session. Or we may need an extra volunteer or two because we are breaking the kids up into smaller groups. While we try to avoid it, sometimes we need to call for volunteers at the last minute, and w deeply appreciate your help in these situations. It makes a big difference in the quality of our program. One of the nice things we’ve witnessed is that nearly all volunteers have a positive experience helping the kids. Do your best to have fun and make it a fun experience for the kids.

Functions: Volunteers can help Coaches and Assistant Coaches in many ways. Here are just a few ways they can help:

  • Arrive a few minutes early to help assemble pop-up nets, take attendance, distribute racquets, and get quickly briefed by the Coach about where and how you can help with any number of court assignments.
  • Stay a few minutes after the lesson to help break down nets and clean up.
  • Help lead small group warm-up exercises.

Some Basic Tennis Technique: (Ask your Head Coach is you don’t understand any of the following techniques.

  • Review and demonstrate grips.
  • Work without the ball: critiquing/correcting forehand and backhand shadow stroking.
    • Demonstrate grip changes
    • Demonstrate the unit turn/shoulder turn
    • Demonstrate a low to high stroke trajectory on the forehand & backhand.
    • Demonstrate a complete follow-through
    • Demonstrate stepping into the ball off a neutral stance.
    • Demonstrating the open, neutral, closed stances (for students who are more advanced)
  • Demonstrate and critique how to drop a ball and put it into play. For younger beginners, this is also a serve
  • Demonstrate the service:
    • The service ready position… pointing front shoulder at opponent.
    • The correct form on the service toss… arm and head up
    • The importance of hitting up on the serve.
  • Working without the ball, demonstrate the Return of Serve
    • The ready position.
    • The short or abbreviated swing against fast serves
    • The “meet the ball” approach
    • The split step
    • Moving the weight forward approach
  • Working with the ball: progressions on proper ways to feed a ball: hand drop, hand bounce, feed off your racquet from just a few feet away, etc.

Some Important Safety Issues

  • Promoting safety: keeping participants properly spaced apart
  • Promoting safety: hugging your racquet when not playing
  • Promoting safety: limiting the number of balls on the court
  • Promoting safety: stopping play whenever a ball presents a danger
  • Promoting safety: keeping things moving in a fun but organized way
  • Promoting safety: making sure participants have safe footwear

Moving is a big part of tennis: Some Footwork Issues

  • Proper movement without the ball: the split step on ground strokes
  • Proper movement without the ball: moving into a neutral forehand stroke
  • Proper movement without the ball: moving into a neutral backhand stroke
  • Proper movement at net without the ball: stepping into the forehand volley
  • Proper movement at net without the ball: stepping into the backhand volley
  • Proper movement at net without the ball: getting sideways on the overhead