Home' Teacher : Jan-Feb 2011 Contents fe ature – health, wellbein g & spo rt 47
A fun and easy way for
kids to play tennis
Sports can help to improve children’s fitness
and coordination – but sometimes, especially
when kids are just starting to learn , some of
the skills required can be a little tricky.
To address this, Tennis Australia has
developed an official kid’s starter program
– MLC Tennis Hot Shots.
MLC Tennis Hot Shots is conducted
at more than 800 official venues around
Australia, and during 2009/10 more than
193,000 children participated in the pro-
This int roductory program is designed
for children aged five to 12 years and pro-
vides a fun, friendly environ ment where
children ca n get involved in tennis, emulate
their favourite stars a nd make new friends
in their community.
The International Tennis Federation has
recommended the M LC Tennis Hot Shots
progra m as a n ideal development pathway
that enables children who are not yet able
to play tennis on a full-size court to com-
pete against others at a similar standard
while learni ng new skills and developing
The program is based on a ‘learning
through play’ philosophy where children
develop their technical and tactical skills
while learning to serve, rally and score.
Low compression red, ora nge and green
modified tennis balls, a nd smaller racquets
and courts are used to help promote an
immediate sense of fun and achievement
because the equipment is scaled especially for
children, therefore enhancing their potential.
The program aims to get children
involved in sports, and to help them to pro-
gress to playing tennis on a full-size court,
and eventually to produce the next genera-
tion of Australian tennis stars.
Former world number 8 and Australian
favourite Alicia Molik is the ambassador of
the MLC Tennis Hot Shots program.
‘One of the most important things for
kids is trying new sports and having fun
right from the word go,’ Molik said.
‘The M LC Tennis Hot Shots program lets
kids learn the sport quickly and easily, build
their confidence and also gets them active
through playing sport. Using the modified
equipment makes it easier for beginners to
start playing the game, and it is a great way
to int roduce kids to tennis,’ she said.
‘I wish MLC Tennis Hot Shots was
around when I was starting out, and I have
no doubt it will help inspire our tennis stars
of the future.’
Schools are now introducing the MLC
Tennis Hot Shots program to their curricu-
lum. More than 1,000 schools Australia-
wide participated in the MLC Tennis Hots
programs in terms three and four in 2010.
There are two different programs that
schools can get involved in: the MLC
Tennis Hot Shots in Schools program and
the MLC Tennis Hot Shots Active After-
school Commu nities progra m.
The MLC Tennis Hot Shots in Schools
program is aimed at children in Years 3 and
4, but can be delivered to all primary ages.
The program introduces children to tennis
through fun and engaging lessons which
contribute to the achievement of physical
education a nd health curriculum outcomes.
Children are guided through tennis
basics in an introductory session with a
local professional coach. This is followed by
a four-week progra m, which can be deliv-
ered by the coach or the school’s physical
education teacher with the aid of a Tennis
Australia DVD resource.
Each lesson ex tends the development of
fundamental motor skills and builds upon
perceptual motor skills that are central to
playing net and wall sports. The lessons pro-
mote activity and are easily modified to suit
the needs of each individual.
For teachers who are interested in deliver-
ing the MLC Tennis Hot Shots program,
Tennis Australia offers an int roductory
coaching course, which is supported by the
Australian Sports Commission. The course
provides an introduction and orientation to
the field of coaching. You won’t receive a
qualification on completing this course , but
you’ll walk away with the knowledge and
confidence to deliver the progra m.
Course content is directed at children’s
tennis and covers basic sport skills, group
organisation , planning , child development,
safety aspects, modified games and activi-
ties as well as administration of junior pro-
Sarah-Lucy Rice is a media executive for
Image courtesy of Tennis Australia.
To find an MLC Tennis Hots Shots deliv-
erer from your local area, or to learn more
about the program or coaching course,
contact your state tennis association via
www.tennis.com .au If your school is
already involved in the Active After-school
Communities program and you would like
to choose MLC Tennis Hot Shots as your
activity, please advise your regional coor-
dinator or visit www.ausport.gov.au/aasc
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