As a youth I was involved in many sports — baseball, football, basketball, soccer, track and field and tennis. Ultimately, tennis was my choice of sports. As tennis professional for the Racquet Center’s Junior Program, I see all sports as interrelated. I also believe that participating in as many sports as you can when you are young will only make you better at all of them.
Let’s go through the list of my sports.
Baseball: Floridian and former World No. 1-ranked tennis player Jim Courier grew up playing baseball. The skills he developed, hitting, throwing and catching as a baseball player, translated perfectly into the sport of tennis.
Football: Once again, throwing a football requires the same motion as hitting a serve, and developing the timing of catching a football on the run, translates into movement to the ball in tennis.
How about soccer? Rafael Nadal, currently the World No. 2-ranked player, enjoys soccer. Running in many different directions, and quickly having to change speed and direction, all translate to movement and footwork on the tennis court.
Basketball: Many of the standard drills I remember doing at basketball practice require the same type of footwork used in tennis. Shooting a free throw in basketball requires the same focus and routine as preparing to hit a serve.
Track and field: Before moving to Marco, I was living in Houston and I saw on the local TV news sports broadcast one evening that Andre Agassi was in town. Not to play tennis, but to train with the University of Houston track team in order to become a better runner on the tennis court.
On Marco Island this summer there are many opportunities for children to play in sports, through teams and camps. I recommend you let your child experience as many of these activities as possible. The pitcher or basketball forward of today might eventually turn out to be the No. 1 ranked tennis player of tomorrow.
Wayne Clark is the Junior Program Tennis Professional at the Racquet Center. He is a certified United States Profession Tennis Association professional with more than 25 years of experience teaching tennis in Texas and Florida.
We would like to hear from you on the courts and also will answer questions submitted to Van Glabek at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Racquet Center 394-5454.