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Striking a Ball with a Racket

Striking a Ball with a Racket

Children will learn how to strike a tennis ball using a top-spin forehand motion

Activity 1:

Tennis Racket Grip

5 mins


  1. Each child should be given a tennis racket

  2. Explain and demonstrate the grip you wish the children to use

  3. Children should copy the demonstration

  4. Go around each child and ensure they are using the grip you have shown

  5. When children can hold it correctly, give them a ball each and progress to racket skills

Teaching Points:

1.Start by holding the racket handle with your non-dominant hand, ensuring that the base knuckle of your index finger rests against the third bevel of the grip.

2.Wrap your fingers around the handle, maintaining a relaxed grip, allowing for flexibility and control.

3.Position your thumb comfortably against the back bevel of the grip, creating a V-shape between your thumb and index finger.

4.Maintain a slight space between your fingers and the palm of your hand, promoting flexibility and preventing a tight grip.

5.Ensure that the racket handle rests diagonally across your palm, allowing for easy maneuverability.

6.With your dominant hand, place it on the handle so that the base knuckle of your index finger aligns with the third bevel of the grip.

7.Wrap your fingers around the handle, interlocking them with the spaces between your non-dominant hand fingers.

8.Keep a relaxed grip with both hands, allowing for quick adjustments and responsiveness during play.

9.Check that the V-shape formed by the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand mirrors the V-shape of your non-dominant hand.

10.Practice your grip to ensure comfort and familiarity, adjusting as needed to find the optimal balance between control and flexibility.


Tennis Racket

Top Spin Rolling Race - Tennis Drill

Activity 2:

10 mins


  1. Set up 2 cones approximately 10m apart
  2. You'll need a tennis racket and tennis ball for the group (group of approx 3 or 4)
  3. Place the ball on the floor and the racket should be held low to the ground, with the strings pressing the ball down into the ground
  4. The racket head should be facing out to the side (not in the direction the ball is travelling) and should be tilted at approximately a 45 degree angle
  5. Use gentle strokes to brush the back/top of the tennis ball to roll it forwards. Remembering that the ball should be pressed into the ground by the strings at all times
  6. The ball should stay under control as it is rolled from the starting cone to the cone 10m away and then back again
  7. When you get back, give the equipment to the next person in your team

Teaching Points:

  • Apply pressure to the top of the ball as you brush the racket over the top/back of the ball
  • The racket should be held in one hand and the head of the racket should be facing out to your strong side (the side of the hand that is holding the racket)


Tennis racket, tennis ball, cones

Activity 3:

Top-Spin Forehand Ball Strike Off Tee

15 mins


  1. You'll need a tennis ball, tennis racket, plastic cricket stump in a base and a cricket tee - place the tee on top of the cricket stump
  2. Place a goal or some cones to make a target to hit the ball into, you'll want this to be a safe enough distance away to have children stood in the target to stop the ball
  3. The hitter should stand to the side of the ball, far enough away from the ball that their arm needs to be almost at full stretch in order to reach the ball with the racket
  4. Anyone else in the group (small groups of approx 4 children) should be stood in the target to try and gather the ball after it has been hit
  5. The hitter should use an upward swing with the racket head pointing down at almost a 45 degree angle to create the top spin as the racket brushes up the back of the ball
  6. The outcome will be that the ball is likely to go downward rather than over where a net wouldve been due to the fact that the ball is stationary when it is struck. This is fine.
  7. Have 3 hits each and then rotate round with another playher taking their turn to hit.
  8. Repeat for desired duration.

Teaching Points:

  • Brush up the back of the ball with the strings of the racket (racket angled downward, swing direction upward)
  • Line your front foot up to be parallel to the ball so that the strike will go straight when struck. Your body weight transfer through the swing ensures this, otherwise the ball will be hooked off to the side
  • Strike the ball with a powerful swing, you are aiming to play with power and the top spin ensures that the ball would drop into the opponents side of the court in a match


Tennis rackets, tennis balls, cones, plastic cricket stumps, cricket batting tee

Activity 4:

Underarm Tennis Serve Target Game

15 mins


  1. You'll need a tennis racket and a tennis ball, its useful to use a tennis net or similar to have to go over and a target such as a hoop, mark out a tennis court as well if you don't have lines to go off
  2. Place the hoop on the opposite side of the net - to start with, the hitter and the hoop should be around 5m back from the net on opposite sides
  3. The hitter aims to strike the ball using an underarm drop feed serve over the net and to bounce in the target
  4. All other players should be stood as ball collecters at the other side of the net behind the target
  5. Players get 10 points for hitting the target and 5 points for landing their serve in the other half
  6. Swap server after 3 turns and repeat until everyone has had plenty of turns

Teaching Points:

  • Extend your dropping arm (the one dropping the ball) as far as you can out in front of you and slightly to the side that you will strike from
  • Allow the ball to drop to the floor - it can bounce multiple times if needed - then remember to take a backswing (not having a backswing will likely result in rushing and inevitably missing the ball entirely
  • Before you drop it, check out the target and consider how hard you'll need to strike it and the position you'll need to drop the ball in order to get it to go straight


Tennis racket, tennis balls, hoops, tennis net, cones

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