City Kids tennis a smash hit

Collin McMullen was all smiles as he received his Wimbledon Division Winner Award.

Stephanie Alvarez did the same after winning the U. S. Open Division.

All part of the City Kids Tennis Program at the Marco Island Racquet Center.

Wayne Clark, head teaching professional and assistant Leslee Van Boven, taught 64 kids, over six weeks, the fundamentals, the rules and how to properly stroke the ball in an after-school program, sponsored by the Marco Community Bank.

“With the bank funding most of the program, kids only paid $40 each for the six-week sessions,” Clark said. There were three sessions in each school semester.

The players were divided into four groups. The Green Group for 4- to 6-year-olds, Red for 6 to 8, White, 7 to 9 and Blue for 8 to 13 who showed more skills in the game.

The younger kids started with fundamentals and the level of education developed as to how the groups developed.

“It wasn’t just about striking the ball, it was about balance, about knowing lines on a court and how to keep score,” Clark said.

The Red Group stepped up to a more aggressive form of tennis, with players doing drills and knowing more about the fundamentals.

The White Group played a modified tennis game, allowing bounces or using pressure-less balls. King of the Court was used to have one player be the King or Queen and the court being players trying to beat them in a form of volleying. They also learned how to play doubles.

“The Blue Group was pretty much-full blown tennis, playing in round robins or junior tennis tournaments,” Clark said. They also took part in King of the Court competition.

The Racquet Center will have a junior tennis program, beginning today and running through summer. Beginners, or younger players, 4 to 6, participate from 9 to 9:45 a.m., with the cost being $5 per day. The older age group, 7 and up, participates from 10 to noon. The daily fee is $15 per day. The rate is based on a daily fee so that kids can participate whenever they have time as the summer months usually see families going on vacations.

For more information call the Racquet Center, 394-5454.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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