Tennis Tots

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-Hi. I'm Whitney Kraft, the doctor of tennis of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, the world's largest public tennis facility and home of the U.S. Open. If you're looking to get your child involved in tennis, we're here today to give you tips on how to get started. Tennis is one of the few sports that you can play from womb to the tomb. -This is the time when they are like 3 and 5-year-olds that you can make sure that they have to create motion of what they have to do to be best at tennis. -Playing tennis is so much fun. It's an active sport instead of being lazy, it's a fun sport also and it centers as an easy game. -Equipment necessary for youngsters to start tennis again are simply a tennis racket. Now that racket needs to be correctly sized for the individual. Today we're gonna show parents how to properly size up a youth racket. Christopher is 8 years old, so I'm thinking that maybe a 25 or 23-inch would be right for him. Now if you'll notice the racket is touching the ground and then some. So, Christopher, we're gonna bump you into a 23-inch racket. There we go. You see? So Christopher would be best suited for a 23-inch racket. As important is the length of a tennis racket, so too is the grip size and the ball that youngsters are learning with. When they hold the racket comfortably, you'd like for there to be one space, your index finger space between where his middle finger ends and where the pad of his thumb begins. So here we can clearly see that the 25-inch racket is demonstratively too big for Christopher. So we got back to the 23-inch racket that we felt was better suited for Christopher, then sure enough he has an easier time handling it with less space between one of the finger and the thumb pad begins. A standard tennis ball is like a cannon ball for a youngster under 11, it's too heavy, it's too fast. So thus alternative balls, many manufacturers make them. They're low compression. They're lighter. They slow down the game and breed more success. The good news too, Christopher, as you know when you get hit with this-- -It doesn't hurt. -So, Christopher, happy hitting, buddy, and good luck at the home of the U.S. Open. -It's good in these targets so it's a bit more gentle. Well done, getting better. -Turn, make sure you rotate. That's good, come on. Turn. Nice and easy, just pop it in there and nice try. -When you're looking for a tennis facility for your youngsters, look for one that's close to your house. From there, inquire amongst friends and neighbors as to who has the reputation of a facility that works well with youngsters. -We take some of the classes with Marilyn. She's a really fun teacher. You know she gets the kids motivated. She plays music during the class. -It's a good format to teach kids the right way of moving, the right way of listening, the right way of learning math, science, any kind of educational programs that they have outside there because some of the little kids when they learn things at school, they come here and implement it into their tennis. -All right. Everybody is gonna get 3 turns so how many balls is that? How many balls you gonna get? Three 2's are, three 2's are-- -6. -6, exactly. Good. -Public parks absolutely are an option and one that I highly recommend. First of all they tend to be much less cost-prohibitive and had embraced tennis as a loose sport that starts in the parks, and many of the greatest players in the world have started in public parks. -In the spring or summer, I practice in the park. I play with my mom and dad and brother. -When I'm not taking lessons, I usually play with my dad and some of his friends. -The USTA in March is rolling out a tennis format called QuickStart. It'll be a national rollout but localized to each market. There will be an opportunity for you to find a program close to home to get started with this great initiative. -A lot of times people don't do a lot of technical stuff, and I like a lot of rhythm and the technical stuff helps me to do that. On QuickStart here is like a nice little format that will put that in place so it'll give me a little bit of time and energy to put to watch the little kids. -And QuickStart is taking the very best that we've learned from the other youth sports, and that is practices versus lessons, changing the size of the courts, changing the ball, and changing the length of the racket to match the youngster's size and strength. -Good fellow. Well done. Well done. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.