As an instructor and coach, I always like to try to get my students to learn tennis from a hands-on experience. When I discovered that this years Sony Ericsson Tennis Tournament in Key Biscayne was being played during spring break, I looked into the possibility of offering a field trip to the tournament for the kids in our City Kids Tennis Juniors program.
With the support of the Parks and Recreation Department, we were able to offer this fantastic opportunity to not only the City Kids, but to all the kids on the island that wanted to experience first hand a professional tennis tournament.
I know that bus trips for adults date back to when it was called the Lipton, but no one had ever offered one specifically for kids so I gave the folks at the Sony a call and found out that March 22 was Kids Day at the tournament.
Our day started early, as the bus pulled out of the City Racquet Center at 6:30 am. The 20 kids were fired up and ready for some big time tennis, so were the 17 parents that joined in. Even with our early start, we still got caught in Miami’s dreaded freeway gridlock (I promise to never complain about traffic on Marco during season again), but our bus driver Fred, got us there 10 minutes early.
As soon as we stepped off the bus, the Sony Ericsson staff did a fabulous job of giving us the red carpet treatment, escorting us to the Grandstand Court, offering plenty of on court activities and a backpack full of gifts for all of my kids. After the kids had a chance to hit some balls with the Pro’s for Prizes, we were on our own.
There was activity on every court and the kids began scouting for their favorite players, heading for the practice courts in hopes of autographs and photo-ops. They soon found out that one of the best places to get autographs was at the entrance to the players lounge. All of the concessions were open and a wide variety of foods were plentiful and affordable. Many of the top tennis clothing and equipment vendors, Nike, Adidas and Wilson, were also open and some parents went on a shopping spree, taking advantage of great prices on their favorite items.
My good friend and supportive tennis parent Paul Meyer, stepped up to the plate and provided drinks and snacks for the bus trip, as well as T-shirts with the Racquet Center name on the front of the shirts for all the kids. The shirts provided the perfect background for kids to get their autographs on.
A fun day was had by all, but our day passed too quickly and by 3 p.m. we were on the road again, headed back to Marco. This was the first time for all of my kids and parents to experience a professional tennis event and we had such a great time, we are already planning next year’s trip.
The City of Marco Island Racquet Center is offering City Kids Summer Camp Juniors Tennis, Monday through Friday, beginning June 13. We are also excited about introducing the new concepts of “Quickstart” tennis for the kids under 10.
The Future Stars group is for players 4 to 6 years old and is a great introduction to the sport of tennis. Players will learn stroke production and a variety of games will provide a fun environment for players to improve their skills. Monday through Friday, 9 to 9:45, at $5 per day for residents and $10 per day for non residents.
Tennis Camp is for player’s ages 7 and up, and fun on the courts is guaranteed. Players will learn stroke production along with playing challenging games like jail, scramble, skyball and tennis baseball. The day also includes a round of Wallyball on the racquetball courts and a healthy mid-day snack. Times, Monday through Friday, are 10 a.m. to noon, at $10. per day for residents, $20 per day for non residents.
You may register in advance for as many days or weeks as fits your summer schedule. Call the Pro Shop at 394-5454.