This is a specific drill you will often see Tennis pros doing with kids during QuickStart 10 & Under tennis lessons. It’s also a simple drill that parents can do with their children at home. The bounce catch tennis drill consists of three specific steps. Kids learn coordination by bouncing and catching the ball with their hand, a cone, and their racquet.
Saulo Gonzales, director of Quickstart Tennis at Elite Sports Club – Brookfield explains and demonstrates these bounce catch tennis drill variations in the video below.
These exercises will help your child in their tennis development. The drills are easy to do at home, all you need is a tennis ball, a cone, and a tennis racquet. There’s two key points that parents need to remember when working on this drill with their kids. First, make sure the palm of the hand is facing up and that your child is standing sideways/perpendicular to the net—if practicing on a tennis court, to get them used to this habit. Second, that the toss should always be around eye-level high.
Step 1 – bounce catch tennis drill with both hands
Start by holding the ball with the palm facing up as described above. Have your child throw the ball upward to about eye-level high. Then catch the ball with the opposite hand after it bounces off the ground.
Try doing this drill first with the dominant hand, and catch the ball with both hands, which can be easier for younger children. Then try switching hands, eventually working up to tossing the ball with one hand and catching it with one hand.
You may also want to use a target or circle (shown in the video) to help your child focus on trying to toss and bounce the ball in a consistent and controlled manner.
Step 2 – bounce catch tennis drill with a cone
Now try having your child hold the ball in one hand, and toss into the air similar to the step above, however this time they should try catching the ball in a cone held in the opposite hand. Again, make sure they are tossing the ball with their palm up getting it to about eye level, then let it bounce on the ground, and then catch it in the cone.
Often with this particular drill we see the kids losing control pretty quickly because they will often start by tossing the ball with the non-dominant hand and catching it inside the cone can be quite difficult at first for young children. The key here is to have a lot of patience with your child and demonstrate to them how the drill should be done.
Step 3 – bounce catch tennis drill with your racquet
The same basic principles apply to this more advanced step. Your child should hold the racquet in their dominant hand, again with their palm facing up under the grip. The face of the racquet should be tilted a little bit to the side and not totally flat as well. Then, you should have your kid hold the ball against the racquet face, lift it up, and let it fall to the ground to bounce, just like the drills above. However, this time they should then catch the ball between the free hand and the face of the racquet (this is much better explained/demonstrated in the video, so make sure to check it out).
Again, using some sort of target with these drills can be extremely helpful while your child is learning to control the ball. It gives them a visual cue to aim for and will help them stay focused. As you and your child become more comfortable with the above steps and drills you will start to see your child get better at tracking and controlling the ball, which is a very crucial basic skill in tennis.
In more advanced tennis lessons you will often hear tennis pros and coaches say, “keep your eyes on the ball.” Tracking the ball is very important, so for kids ages 3-7 years old these drills can help them grasp that concept and eventually perform better on the court.
Saulo Gonzales, Tennis Pro at Elite Sports Club – Brookfield
Saulo was born in Venezuela and raised in Peru and Brazil. He was introduced to the sport of tennis at 8 years old on a recreational level. After his family immigrated to Brazil he found his love and passion for tennis and competed throughout his junior career. Locally he reached a top 10 ranking in Sao Paulo and top 80 in the Nation. By the time he was 16, Saulo began competing in the ITF circuit where he had the opportunity to train with professional players such as Juan Martin Del Potro and Thomaz Bellucci.
After high school Saulo accepted a full tennis scholarship to Dowling College in New York where he continued playing. Soon after, he was offered a coaching position at NY Sportime Clubs during summer sessions in the Hamptons. His successful summers in the Hamptons gave him the opportunity to become Summer Camp Director at Sportime Harbor Island, Westchester.
He quickly gained success and was recognized for his immense following and program development skills. Saulo moved up the ladder to become an Assistant Manager & Tennis coordinator and responsible for the successful development of Sportime Harbor Island. His last role at Sportime was High-Performance Academy Director where he worked with the John McEnroe Tennis Academy.
Saulo joins the Elite team to apply his experience towards player development in the Wisconsin area towards USTA competition.Get more involved with Tennis!