Functional Variations of Tennis Teaching Styles
(Tennis article by Randy Lynn Rutledge - a former USPTA tennis teaching professional)
This article discusses functional tennis education style variations.
Tennis teaching and learning situations require that a teaching professional have a keen sense of awareness about when and how to combine and deliver spoken words, be precise in tennis action modeling, and understand how students must combine feel with movement in each progression of every tennis skill being taught.
A tennis student's rate of tennis input absorption can vary during a learning session. The tennis teacher is responsible for varying teaching styles and methods according to what combinations work best with each student.
Individual tennis students respond uniquely to certain teaching styles. Responses can change during the course of a single teaching and learning session. Over the years, I have learned to apply functional variations in my styles of teaching according to the learning styles of each student, as a teaching and learning session progresses.
Tennis Teaching Using Spoken Words
An experienced tennis teacher uses hand and body movements, visual contact, facial expression, and voice fluctuation to capture and keep the focused attention of each tennis student when using the spoken word as a style of information delivery.
Some tennis students respond favorably to spoken words. Tennis students with superior listening skills have an advantage over other tennis students. Many students learn well with only the spoken word, if they verbally repeat the information. Hearing their own voice aids the processing of information and increases the likelihood of retention.
Tennis Teaching by Modeling a Desired Action
Teachers, model the actions of each progressive part of a complete tennis skill for your students. Modeling can involve visual aids, such as videos or pictures. Couple slow-motion modeling with a spoken description of each progressive tennis skill part.
Create Mental Pictures to Aid Student Learning
Experienced tennis teachers converse with their students to find existing knowledge of previous experiences to help create mental pictures to enhance their words during demonstrations of the progressive parts of whole tennis skills. A tennis-related analogy with familiar language and concepts can help paint a mental picture to clarify certain progressive parts of a new tennis skill.
Tennis Teaching Using Movement and Feel
A tennis student who learns primarily using modeling needs to quickly attempt to carry out each complete tennis action. When these students make tennis errors, an experienced tennis teacher begins working on the progressive part of the complete tennis skill which was the most to blame for each error that occurs.
Couple trial and error attempts with error over-correction (teach the opposite mistake) until this student experiences the necessary movement for a desired tennis skill or action. Typically, a student is taught to purposely make an opposite error for each tennis error he or she commits until a desired skill or action is found somewhere between the two errors that feels correct and has a desired outcome.