Physical Literacy and Tennis Tots
This coming year, you may see some new equipment and try some new activities in your Tennis Tots classes. Over the last few months we’ve been working with education specialists to make the Tennis Tots programme even better! Our aim is to ensure that all children attending our classes not only improve their tennis skills but also work towards becoming physically literate.
What is ‘physical literacy’?
Physical literacy is a simple concept: it’s about developing the fundamental movement skills that all children need, such as running, hopping, throwing, catching and jumping. These movement skills in turn give children the confidence to participate in a variety of physical activities, sports, and games. The sooner children begin to be physically literate the more likely they will be to stay active throughout their lives.
Tennis is a great sport to play at any age. The combination of movements needed to turn, lunge, crouch and swing in order to hit the ball mean that you get a full body workout while you play. To play Tennis successfully takes balance, agility and co-ordination as well as speed, flexibility and endurance.
At Tennis Tots, we’ve broken down these key skills into fun activities and games for you and your child to enjoy in class. Some of these may not seem like a natural fit for Tennis; such as crawling through a tunnel. However, the act of crawling refines left and right bilateral co-ordination; an essential movement skill in Tennis as you move your body forward from a ready position and turn into a backhand swing.
Establishing strong physical literacy also has a positive impact on classroom literacy. The distance from hand to eye, when crawling, is also the ideal hand-eye distance for reading and writing. So, from this early stage, a child’s vision is being trained to focus long and short distances and switch between the two. Which in turn is vital for reading the speed and depth of an incoming tennis ball!
How can I help my child become physically literate?
The benefits of being physically literate are endless so it’s important that children get lots of opportunity to move their bodies.
Here are some simple suggestions to try at home:
1. Practice what you’ve learned in your Tennis Tots classes!
2. Be an active role model. Kids follow by example so get active and show them what you can do.
3. Encourage active play by keeping a supply of sports equipment and toys(balls, skipping ropes, hula hoops etc)
4. Try to make time to be active as a family
5. Introduce children to the fun active games you played as a child
6. Encourage your kids to play outdoors
7. Talk to your kids about the value of being active at every stage of life
We hope you enjoy the new games and activities in your class. If you have any questions please do speak to your class leader.