Yesterday was the christening of our brand new permanent QuickStart courts.  It also marked the last day of our first 3 week session of QuickStart instruction.  In these first three weeks, I followed the suggested QuickStart manual, practice by practice, tweaking it to fit my personality, teaching style, and my kids’ general ability.  In our first 5 and 6 yr old class, I found it difficult to manage a mere 2 kids of two very different skill levels.  One of these children had limited coordination, and found it difficult to catch, throw, and balance.  The other child, a 4 yr old, could already hit back and forth over the net!  My plan was to incorporate both easy activities and more difficult ones to accommodate both levels of players.  It didn’t go as well as planned in my first couple practices.  My inexperienced player struggled and got frustrated quickly with lack of success, and my more experienced player loved every second of hitting the ball and doing more coordinated moves.  After the second practice, I switched game plans.  I treated the 5 and 6 year old class just as it is suggested to be taught.  We did lots of coordination activities including tossing and catching, balancing, and learning the lines of the court.  I found that my highly coordinated 4 yr old had great hand-eye coordination, but struggled with balance and attention, as any 4 yr old does.  They enjoyed doing the activities together, and finding success at different activities.  As a side note, I find it hard to evaluate success at that age.  Did they catch the ball better than the first day?  I’m not so sure.  They both had a good enough time to join me for a second session.  I am interested to see their success evolve over the next three weeks.

My 8 & under class went well.  We started our first class with 6 kids out of the gate.   I spoke with every parent after the session.  My goal was to find out their opinion of the program, where they planning to continue, and most importantly, did the kids enjoy themselves?  I had one parent come up to me and tell me that her 8 yr old felt that the court was too small for him.  He couldn’t follow through on his strokes because he felt like that was what made him miss.  I completely agreed with her, and understood why he thought that.  I found that the activities and games for the 7 and 8 yr olds are great fun and successful, but I want to also incorporate a couple classes that include more detailed instruction steps on the foundation of strokes.  One thing that I really took from the QuickStart workshop was that a QuickStart instructor is much like a sculptor.  You start with a general mold of what you want and then as you go along you continue to add detail until it is extremely intricate.    I want these kids that are coming back to get the great experience with the activities and games, and I want to add a little bit of detail each time they come.  Hopefully, they will become my masterpieces 🙂