December 2011 -- As tennis pros, one of our primary responsibilities is to spread our passion and excitement for the game of tennis. One of the best opportunities to do this is in conducting an amazingly fun, high-energy, exciting Cardio Tennis class for a large, diverse group.
By now, I hope many of you are experienced and successful at coaching Cardio Tennis classes with six to 10 students on a court (the ideal and suggested number). Now is the time to s-t-r-e-t-c-h yourself by embracing the idea that you can handle 24 or more folks on one court and have everyone enjoy heart-pumping fun and fitness!
This can be a daunting challenge, no doubt, especially when you factor in age, ability and fitness differences, various arrival times, unknown numbers of participants, as well as physical-space limitations. But it is doable with the innovations and creative methods of Cardio Tennis.
The use of 10-and-under equipment can create magic on one court for up to 36 players (six per red court). Red balls and junior racquets keep the class safe, and you'll want mini-nets and/or caution tape, a couple dozen "spots," a sound system with a microphone, and three dynamic professionals.
At the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center we have used the Cardio Tennis format for school field trips (90 participants on three courts); family fun days, in conjunction with Tennis Night in America, blending parents and their children on the same court; employee clinics/wellness programs; and evaluation sessions to assess class placement.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on your super-sized cardio class:
- Set up one traditional court so you have six red courts running perpendicular to the net (typical 36-foot-court/10-and-under setup). Caution tape works as well, if not better than, mini-nets for this event. Also, you do not need to place the lines for competition courts; this
- Use spots for positioning by placing them in the alley areas. This way, when players arrive you can just say, "Go find a spot." This will easily position them so they are opposite one another in doubles alleys, utilizing the entire court. Racquets at this point are behind players and not in use.
- As the coach and conductor you enthusiastically call out the instructions as your two assistants demonstrate the exercise (one time close to the net so all can see). This is Cardio Tennis, so it is important that players keep moving throughout the entire class.
- Start with dynamic warm-ups before one side of the court picks up a racquet. Foam ball and racquet exchanges can follow. From there all players can utilize racquets as you progress to rallying and games-based challenges. Players can rotate one position to the left or right to enjoy the variety of experiences.
The benefits of this class structure are amazing and include the following:
- Players are burning calories similar to original Cardio Tennis (with six to eight players on one traditional court).
- Players are "in their cardio zones" for the recommended time of 30 to 50 minutes in a 60-minute workout. This format works well as a 45- or 60-minute class.
- The pro never feeds a ball; everything is live with lots of partner activities and games.
- This format can work with 16 to 36 players.
- The number of touches on the ball by the individual is off the charts.
- Just like original Cardio Tennis, it works great for all fitness and ability levels.
The goal is for the participants to experience tennis in a fun, active and exciting group dynamic - beginners and experienced players, children and parents on the same court. It's you and your imagination on display as you conduct this high-octane and tennis-contagious event!
Done right, this class provides all participants with a great workout, hundreds of ball touches/strikes, and improved tennis skills as they learn footwork patterns, ball control, singles and doubles tactics and technique - all in a fun, safe and social environment.
For more information on the Super Size Cardio Tennis class visit www.cardiotennis.com.