This is a GREAT game for developing juggling skills and
"first-touch". The best thing is that the kids LOVE IT! We all know
how important it is to be able to quickly control bouncing balls
during a game. Soccer tennis will create hundreds of quality touches
while the players are having fun. Without even trying, they will
learn to receive chest balls, thigh controls, instep volleys and
head touches. Soon they will be sliding sideways to get in front of
the pass instead of poking out with their legs.
Basically it is a tennis game with some sort of improvised "net" (or
real net), that is played with the soccer ball and controlled
volleys and juggles. You can keep score like tennis games with
"love-15-30-deuce" etc... or just play up to any number. (Non-tennis
playing kids don't get the tennis scoring concept.)
When the kids are just learning allow them lots of bounces (on the
ground), between shots over the net. (I let my beginning kids have 3
bounces.) It is more important to keep the point going allowing for
more touches, than it is to adhere to any strict rules. Later, when
they are are pretty good, limit the number of bounces to only 1 or
2. If players have different skill levels, allow more bounces to the
beginning player and they can still participate.
At first we even play that if a player totally "flubs" it into the
net and the ball dies on their side, that player can get one chance
to "rescue" the point by executing a "toe ball-lift" or "heel
rainbow-lift" to keep things going. Make up your own version.
Have fun! The key is keeping points going with lots of quality
You can make a "net" out of several cones, or maybe 2 cones with a
string hung between them. I use a stepladder that I have turned on
it's side, and added a couple of cones at each end and it's really
fun to use one of the little soccer-tennis nets that you can get
from the soccer stores.
This game is easiest to learn on a hard surface, where the bounces
will be "true" and higher. Later, you can play this game on the
field which will require a little more juggling ability.
What to do:
Set up a makeshift "net" out of cones, a ladder or even a row of
soccer bags stacked up, or use one of the very cool soccer tennis
nets. Then cone off a small sized "court" to fit the number of
players and the net. If you are playing on the driveway use some
chalk or just the lines in the pavement. Needless to say, if you
have a real tennis court at your disposal, try it..... (as long as
you don't get yelled at by the tennis coach.)
up teams. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or even 4v4 on a large court.
You can play odd numbers like 2v3, etc.
player serves from deep in their court across the net to the other
team. At first the idea is not to win the point on the serve, but
just get the point started.