Youth Foundation Debuts K-8 Tennis Program

Members of the Anthony Wayne High School girls tennis team will help teach K-8 boys and girls participating in the new Anthony Wayne Youth Tennis summer program. Sign-ups are underway at awyf.sportngin.com. PHOTO COURTESY OF JILL FELTNER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — The Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation is serving up a new summer program for K-8 boys and girls interested in playing tennis.

The Anthony Wayne Youth Tennis (AWYT) summer program will hit the courts in June, said AWYT president Kate Blake.

“Interest in tennis has grown in the Anthony Wayne and surrounding areas, as indicated in a community survey,” Blake said. 

High school coaches will work with high school tennis players to teach the program using a curriculum adapted from the United States Tennis Association – the American Development Model. The lesson plans focus on teaching the fundamentals of tennis, building confidence and practicing game play.

“The high school coaches and players are ready to show how fun the game can be while teaching the skills necessary to begin basic match play,” Blake said.

Kids are ready for match play when they can consistently keep their serves in, rally for several shots and know how to keep score. This can happen at various ages.

“The goal for kids at any level is to work on their technical, tactical and performance tennis skills,” Blake said. “Game play is incorporated in different ways depending on the age and ability of these skills.”

Each of the AWYT board members has extensive tennis experience and enjoys taking lessons and playing on USTA adult competitive teams. 

Jill Feltner, who volunteered with the high school girls team for the past two years, was recently named head coach of that program and will be among the coaches leading the AWYT summer program.

The success of the high school teams certainly has sparked interest in the sport.

“Any time you have a successful high school player who demonstrates incredible tennis talent, leadership abilities and community involvement, it sparks the interest of younger kids,” Blake said. 

“We happen to be lucky to have many of these types of players on our high school tennis teams.”

Measuring the success of the program will be based on five metrics: introducing the sport to kids who have never tried it before; giving nontraditional athletes an opportunity to participate in youth sports; filling 50 percent of the available spots for the first year; providing high school athletes an opportunity to give back to the community; and sharing the joy of tennis with the community.

This new program will divide lessons by age and ability:

• Red Ball is for beginning players in grades K-2 or ages 6-8. The six-week program meets for 45 minutes twice a week: on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. from June 11 through July 23 except on July 2; and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. June 13 through July 24, off on July 4.

• Orange, Yellow and Green Ball programs are for ages 9-13 with beginner to intermediate players – their placement will be determined after the first session. Options include Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. June 11 through July 23, except July 2, or Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. June 13 through 24, except July 4. 

The registration cost is $80.00 per player and includes a racket and tennis balls. The registration deadline is Monday, May 17. For additional information, visit awyf.sportngin.com.

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