Whether they are just slightly taller than their tennis racket or building skills to play on their high school team, players of all ages will find opportunities to hone their skills and have some fun with the St. Charles Park District’s tennis program at Norris Recreation Center.
Recently, the Junior Group Tennis program for ages 4 to 18 was reconstructed to provide more clarity to parents and participants about where to start and how to progress through the ranks.
Bill Dahm, Tennis Pro Supervisor for the St. Charles Park District said it was time to give a fresh look to the program and provide a clearer description of classes and skills achieved in each course. The youngest of players progress with beginner skills of working on hand-eye coordination, understanding tennis terminology and participating in fun, age-appropriate fundamentals.
The next level for ages 5-14 with explores stroke development and an introduces rally drills and games. Dahm said once players start to put the learned motions in a sequence of shots, they soon become hooked on the game, enjoying the challenges.
As students achieve skills, they can proceed through the next level of play. Free pro evaluations are available to assist students and parents see the best program placement for each player.
The Junior Tennis Group has a large number of students from 5th through 8th grades. Dahn said introducing youth children to the sport of tennis is very beneficial, especially for the camaraderie and sportsmanship aspects of the sport.
“I will tell everybody that tennis is a lifetime sport,” Dahm said. “It is something that can be learned by anybody at different ages and starting points.”
Dahm has seen several young athletes start their tennis career in the middle school years, and through hard work and practice achieving goals, they become part of the high school tennis team.
Tennis is a great sport to hone skills from other sports. Baseball and softball players will see their hitting and throwing skills can transfer to strong strokes and great coordination at serving, Dahm add. And tennis is a sport that really depends on an individual’s skill and progression, providing a different feel than that of other team sports.
Those who’ve enjoyed gymnastics and swimming may also find enjoyment with tennis, Dahm said. Those sports focus on repetition and movement, and players can find those attributes as they work on stroke skills and volleys.
“Once players can rally, they see how much fun there is with tennis,” Dahm said.
And there’s plenty of fun events offered on the court. The popular Pizza & Play Fridays is a great way for those ages 12-18 to enjoy a little competition and time with friends. And there’s even a few prizes based on drills and games.
Dahm and his team create tournaments throughout the year to allow players some friendly competitive opportunities. Coming up on Dec. 17, the newest competition on the docket is the Ugly Sweater In-House Double-Elimination Tournament for ages 8-18. So check out all the fun planned for this fall and winter. It’s a great time to get on the court work on skills and have fun with friends.