Tennis Lesson Plan KS2: Warm Up
So you need a warm up for your next KS2 tennis lesson? Well in this tennis lesson plan series, I’m not only going to give you a session you can use, but my main aim is far more than that.
Instead of just giving you a lesson plan that you can follow, I am going to show you how to create your very own tennis lesson plan using a simple template.
In this series the template you will be following will use this structure;
Phase #1: Introduction
Phase #2: Warm Up (You Are Here!)
Phase #3: Individual Drill
Phase #4: Paired Drill
Phase #5: Group Activity
Phase #6: Wrap Up
Phase #7: Evaluation
Phase #1: Warm Up
As coaches we should all know the benefits a warm up brings to a child both physically and mentally – and the children should be reminded of that!
Tennis Warm Up: Warm Up the Brain!
A lot of coaches and teachers forget about the psychological factors that go into the session. While it’s obvious you’re not going to be teaching them a unit out of sports psychology book it’s important to get the kids to understand the basics of being in a good mental state before playing.
This would happen right after you have laid down the session ground rules and what you expectations of the class are. To keep it as easy as possible for yourself, I strongly recommend you keep them seated – this just allows you to command the class a little better.
This can be done in a question and answer format, or it could involve them in other games such as color coding games and number sequences.
How many questions and what should you ask?
This is entirely up to you but I normally aim for about four questions. I’ll ask them questions such as;
- How do we warm up?
- Why should we warm up?
- When do we warm up?
- What happens when we warm up?
Of course some of these questions may be a little too easy for KS2, so you would need to adapt the questions accordingly to the group you’re coaching. Try variations such as;
- You will be learning about the forehand technique today, what warm up exercises do you think would be specific to what we’re learning about?
- What happens to our blood when we start to warm up?
This would typically last less than a minute but it’s a great way to get the children engaged from the start.
Structuring Your Tennis Warm Up
Next you need to structure the physical side of your warm up. The best way I have found through a lot of trial and error is splitting the warm up into three sections with an optional fourth based on your group;
- General Warm Up
This would involve using big muscle groups. Lots of circular movements with the arms, high knees, sprints etc.
- Sports Specific
Now you need to get a little bit more specific to tennis. Forward, backward and sideward lunges are a good place to start. You can even add in some forehand movements to the lunges as well.
- Lesson Specific
Now it’s time to get ultra-specific. This would be the time to use either a ball or a racket or even a combination of the two.
Optional Fourth Warm Up Phase: Warm Up Game
Ideally this would be closely related to the topic or technique you’ll be teaching in your main session, however as I have previously mentioned before, warm up’s have different benefits other than physical.
Using a warm up game that may not be that closely related, but requires the class to focus and ticks the FUN box maybe suitable to calm a group down after lunch-time for instance.
Whether you use the game before or after the 3 sections above is entirely up to you.
Example Warm Up Game # 1: Bounce!
This game involves getting the class to bounce the ball in lots of different ways. They can use their hands and racket using various techniques.
To make it more competitive, you can give them a set amount time to complete a certain amount of bounces without losing control of the ball.
Example Warm Up Game #2: Scarecrows
This game focuses more on rotation and balance.
Players stand facing the net – this is north. The baseline is south and the two sidelines are east and west.
When you shout out the command, first the foot and then the direction, players must jump off that foot and rotate to the direction you called.
So for example you may shout out ‘Right – East!’ – Each player would have to jump off their right foot and face the east baseline.
Players that lose balance have to run around the whole court before being allowed to go again.
And that’s it! The length of your warm up will depend on the length of time you have available and the ability, focus levels and other things you will have to read from the group on the day.
So just to recap what we went through;
Split your warm up into 2 Sub Phases:
- Psychological Warm Up
- Physical Warm Up
In the first stage, you can ask them questions to test their knowledge, or have them take part in games that forces them to think.
The physical side of the warm up is split further into three sections with an optional fourth;
- General: Involves large muscle groups
- Tennis Specific:Involves more tennis specific movements
- Lesson Specific:Involves specific exercises and movements mimicking the lesson you are about to teach.
- Optional – Warm Up Game:Optional game to reinforce warm up exercises or to focus class on the lesson.
Once you have these all in the place you ready to move forward and start planning the main part of your session.
As we planning a session for a group of school children, the likely hood of us having 20+ children in one class is high, so we will need to adapt our sessions accordingly which you will learn more about in the next section: Individual.