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Keep Away Tennis 6v1


  • To encourage players from an early age to appreciate the benefits of passing the ball to a team-mate.

  • To make the possession game directional with penetrating passes.


  • To score more points than the opposing team by good passing and support or by good defending.


  • Mark two grids 15 x 15 yards depending on numbers, 3-yards apart.

  • Assuming there are 10 to 12 players split group in half, say two groups of 6.

  • Use pinnies to distinguish the two groups.

  • One group of 6 goes into the square and just one of the other group also goes into the square. The other five go into the other square.

  • The 6 players try to keep the ball away from the one defender.

  • After three passes they are allowed to pass the ball to the other square. If they do and it is a good pass to the other square they score a point (Coach to act as referee).

  • If defender wins the ball or forces the team in possession to play a poor pass into the other square he/she scores a point for their team.

  • When the ball is passed to the other square the former defender runs across to join his/her team-mates and one of the other team runs over to become a defender.

  • Similarly, if a mistake is made the defender joins his/her team together with the other team's defender and the coach plays in a ball.

  • The defending chores are shared on an equal time basis.

  • The team that scores the most points



  • Coach must assess whether the playing area is too big or too small and make adjustments if necessary.

  • For the first few minutes allow the players to play in a non-competitive way so that when a mistake is made, the coach can recreate the situation and then ask the player who made the mistake what the alternatives are. Praise him or her for coming up with the answers (as they surely will). If they can see what should be done they will learn more quickly to do it when the ball is in play.

  • After a few minutes go into the competition, but tells the players they don't have to play into the other square after three passes unless it is a good time to do so. They can keep possession and pick their time.

  • This practice should be used on a regular basis and progressed when the children are ready. The ways to progress are-

  • Make the space smaller.

  • Reduce the numbers attackers, e.g., 5 vs. 1 and then 4 vs.1.

  • Or increase the number of defenders, e.g., 6 vs. 2.

  • Condition the attackers, e.g., no more then two touches (control and pass).


U12 Progressions

  • Depending on the success of the first Head Tennis session decide which rules are most appropriate for the Head Tennis Tournament later in the season, e.g., one bounce or two bounces.

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