WENATCHEE — Even the best of tennis players had to start somewhere. Roger Federer was not naturally born with a killer forehand. Tennis camp provides a way for beginners to learn the game while having a bit of fun.
Eastmont Tennis Coach Jamie Carter is holding a tennis camp this week at the Wenatchee Racket and Athletic Club or WRAC. The camp, which is mostly for beginners, is Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m.
There are 14 kids in attendance this year, ages 6-to-13, according to Carter.
“Mostly we work on skill building and success. If you are doing an introductory tennis camp, you want the kids to have fun. All the kids working with me are my high school players that are volunteering,” Carter said.
One of the fun games involves hitting the ball to the kids and having them hit it back over the net to the instructor close enough to catch it. If you can do that, you’ve graduated to another line with an instructor doing the same thing.
It keeps the kids moving and doing something where they can be successful. Finding success is key, Carter said.
“At the point in the week, we’re asking more from the older kids, letting them play out some rallies. Whereas the younger kids, you still try to find stuff for them to be successful and still have fun,” he said. “If you go out there with a tennis ball and whiff 15 times, that is going to be it for tennis.”
Many of the younger kids simply swing too hard. Carter said you have to get them to tap it back with some control. Then, they can start having fun with it and start rallying. As you can imagine, the high winds have made it tough this week.
At the camp, every day has a different focus. Monday was groundstrokes. Tuesday, they worked on volleys.
On Wednesday, they started putting in serves, showing them how to start a point.
“My goal is by Friday that all the kids know how to keep score. You can play little games where you keep score. Tennis has such a weird scoring system with 15, 30, 40 which has no logic. We teach them what ‘love’ and ‘deuce’ means in tennis or they can say zero or 40-40,” Carter said.
The beginners are not playing full court. Carter said that is too much for the beginner. They are playing in the short court in the service boxes, basically just tapping it back and forth.
The goal for the beginner or intermediate kids is that they can go out and play.
“For young kids, that is going to be a challenge. We have some 8-13-year-olds that I’m 100 percent sure they can do that,” Carter said. “They are going to go out with their family and have a good time instead of let’s see how far I can hit it over the fence.”
Carter is hoping to see many of the kids in high school program when they get older. This is only the second year for the camp. There will be other camps over the summer at Eastmont Parks and also at the WRAC, where Carter is an assistant pro.
The Eastmont High tennis players volunteering their time this week have been rewarded with snacks and pizza, he said.
“They have been fantastic. They are such a great group of kids. To give up part of their summer for some pizza and snacks, but none have complained. None have done tennis instruction, so I’ve done a lot of work with them. I’m grateful they volunteer their time,” Carter said of his players helping out. “It’s great after the lessons, they come out and hit. A lot of players put the racket in the closet until the next season. Anytime I can get them out playing, that is a success.”