Brendan Young, a 12-year-old Bath student is the type of person the Lima Area Tennis Association (LATA) was hoping to attract.
Young, who has never played tennis, was participating in the annual tennis clinics sponsored by LATA and the Lima Parks and Recreation Department. More than 20 pee wee participants and 65 juniorss showed up on the first day of the two-week event to learn and play the sport.
“I came out here to do tennis,” said Young who was getting exposed to the sport and might consider playing in high school. “I want to learn and do more tennis.”
Monday was the beginning of the two-week program and organizer Jeff Brown said he is excited about the turn out of eager campers and expects the numbers to grow.
“I expect the numbers to grow,” Brown said. “The first day are usually small but as the week goes on the classes will get better.”
In order to gain more consistency from the campers, Brown said the format for the clinic has changed this year. Instead of meeting twice a week over the course of the summer, the camp will go four days a week for two weeks dedicating two hours to the juniors and 45 minutes to the pee wee participants.
“I wanted to keep it where all the kids are on the court consistently and not bouncing around week to week not where they come back and forget what they learned last week, “Brown said. “Now I have them day after day. We are getting these habits down of what we want them to learn on a daily basis.”
The LATA camp emphasizes the basic fundamentals such proper grip, forehand, backhand, ground strokes, volleys, overheads, and serving. But it also teaches them consistency as well as court etiquette and scoring.
In addition to his wife, Andrea Arango-Brown, helping with the camp, Brown has a host of high school volunteers who have been through the clinic. High school standouts such as Lima Central Catholic’s Ben Brinkman are on hand to give advice and aid the future netters.
In the end, Brown is hoping, like with Young, that these campers go out on their own and continue to pursue the sport.
“We want to build a foundation for the player to encourage them to play tennis and hopefully they pick it up and enjoy it and by the time they get to high school they have the basics down so they don’t have that big learning curve. Our goal here is to build tennis players and build the area.”
Brown added that he has seen the number of netters growing in the area and points to a winter clinic that was held and some of those same players have shown up for the summer event.
“Overall, Andrea are happy with the over development of the players and I think this is a great building block for the future,” Brown said. “We enjoy it a lot and that is the main things this year.”