The purpose of the game is to score more points than your opponent by hitting the tennis ball to strategic locations on the opposite side of the court so that your opponent is not able to return the shot. Explaining this concept to kids may be difficult so you must keep it as simple as possible.
Inform kids about the two types of courts that exist. The quick-start court measures about 36 feet, and then there is the standard court. The difference between the two is that the quick-start courts do not have doubles alleys, so boundaries are different. The quick-start courts are usually used by kids under the age of eight. The standard court can be used for older kids where traditional scoring applies.
In order to put the ball in play one person must serve the ball, from behind the baseline, this person is called the “server,” the person on the opposite side of the net who is receiving the ball is called the “receiver.” Demonstrate that when you serve the ball you get two attempts to put the ball in play. After the second failed attempt, a point is awarded to your opponent.
If the server steps on the line while serving this is considered a foot fault and the server must try again. If the foot fault comes during the second attempt, the point is awarded to your opponent. If the ball touches any part of the boundary line it is considered a fair ball.
Be sure to remind your kids to call out the score prior to each service attempt.
The scoring system is like no other, and at the beginning it takes time for kids to grasp the concept. Explain the scoring system before playing tennis, while you are watching a match on television and while you are playing a set. Explain to kids that tennis players play a match, which is comprised of sets, which consist of games, which are made up of points. The more you review the concept the faster your kids will comprehend it.
For the quick-start court the player who earns seven points first wins the game. The player, who wins two sets, wins the match. In this type of scoring, kids do not use the traditional 15-love scoring method that is used in adult play. Kids use a simple 1-2-3 point pattern for every serve.
The first player serves for two points, then his opponent serves for two points, they then switch sides. They keep alternating until one player reaches seven points. In quick-start tennis there is no deuce and players do not need to win a game by two points.
This type of scoring system is used for kids 10-and-under. However, children 8-and-under use the quick-start court, and children 9- or 10-years-old use a 60-foot court, children ages 11-and-older use the traditional-size court. Children, ages 9 and 10 use the same scoring system, but they play the first two sets up to four points, and the third set if necessary is played up to seven points.
Children 11-and-over use the traditional 15-love scoring method, where points are added in increments of 15.
You can lose a point if the ball hits the net or you serve it out of bounds. You can also lose a point if you hit the ball more than once during a rally.