Youngsters have spent countless hours shooting baskets in the driveway and playing catch or kicking a soccer ball in the back yard. These kids learn to be creative in that sport and have an opportunity get thousands of repetitions in the spontaneous and fun games they play at home. With recent developments in equipment, playing tennis on a home court set up on a driveway, apartment parking lot, cal-de-sac or playground is now possible.
These home courts will work very well in developing a love of the game and allowing your child to play just for the fun of it. Kids can now play that childhood fantasy of winning match point at the US Open on their own home court.
Setting up a home court is not difficult and courts can be set up based on the space available. It is important to select equipment that best suits your space. Specifications for an 8 and under player include a 36’ x 18’ court, a net height of 2’9”, a 21” or 23” racquet and a red foam or felt covered ball. These specifications work well and using all of these in synch enables players to play a very realistic scaled down version of real tennis. The beauty of the slower balls is that players can hit with full swings and spins and the ball will stay in the court. The slower ball is essential when setting up a smaller court.
Courts can be set up using equipment you probably have around the house. Lines can be drawn using sidewalk chalk. Nets can be a rope or some caution tape tied between two chairs. Placing a ladder on the side works to create a net. Many driveways could use the hard surface for the court and the grass would be out of bounds.
The ultimate court could use a collapsible pop-up net that can be set up quickly and broken down and stored between playing sessions. Many times the width will not exceed 10’ and the length 30’ in a typical driveway or parking lot area. The baselines could be 24’ apart, so the court would be 24’ x 10’. The net could be lowered to a height of 2’6” and a red foam ball would be the best since it will travel the shortest distance, even with a full and fast swing. The racquet should fit the size of the child but a shorter racquet will have less power so the players can use a full stroke with good racquet head speed and keep the ball in the court.
It makes little difference what equipment is used. The baselines and sidelines should be established based on the a space available with the net positioned between the baselines, a red foam or felt covered ball and shorter racquets so your child can play with you or their friends for hours. Players of all ages and ability levels will have fun, hit tons of balls, develop skills and tactics and get a great workout on a home court.