Catch Your Way In – A Fun Kids’ Tennis Game

This game is a bit of an oldie – but keep reading for some ways to adapt it for very young children. And keep in mind, these kind of games are a bit of fun for the last few minutes of the lesson, not the main content of the lesson. 

Kids line up – if you have more than about 5 kids, put them in 2 lines and double-line feed, or get an assistant to feed one line, or get one of the kids to ‘be coach’ and feed a line.
If a kid misses, they come round to the coaches’ side and become a catcher – if they catch a ball, they are back in and whoever hit that ball is out instead.
When it gets down to one player, 3 things can happen:

  1. if they get the ball in without being caught, they win the game
  2. if someone catches them, they are back in and have a chance to win the game
  3. if the player misses their shot, everyone is back in and it starts all over again.

A fun variation

Another way we do it is if the last person misses their shot, the rest of the group get a 'question' to decide who goes back in. Something silly like 'how old is the coach?' or 'how many text messages have I got on my phone?'. Silly but kids seem to find this fun.

So that’s the basic game, but how can we vary it?
  • I suggest using soft balls even with good players – in fact particularly with good players as they like to smack it.
  • Vary your feeding – make it easier or harder according to the players’ levels.
  • Change the rules on catching – one bounce, no bounce, one-hand-one-bounce, unlimited bounces. Or you can have all the catchers standing still, not allowed to move, but they only have to touch the ball to get back in.

How to play this game with very young children (i.e. 4 year olds)

  • Let them hit a very easy volley
  • Give them unlimited bounces to catch the ball – as long as it doesn’t start to roll
  • Let them use nets to catch the ball – like the Zsig net below – these nets are SO useful by the way – for a variety of exercises and for ball-collecting by the

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