Tennis, anyone? Or maybe it should be tennis, everyone, because that’s the philosophy of coach Greg Kyle, who is teaching youngsters at Evergreen Park & Recreation District camps the basics of …
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Or maybe it should be tennis, everyone, because that’s the philosophy of coach Greg Kyle, who is teaching youngsters at Evergreen Park & Recreation District camps the basics of the sport. His goal is not to create the next Serena Williams or Roger Federer but to teach kids to enjoy playing the game.
“My real goal,” he said between camps at the Wulf Recreation Center tennis courts on July 14, “is 20 years from now, they might pick up the game again because they’re not afraid of it. I want to instill in them that this is fun.”
Kyle, a retired physical education teacher, uses positive reinforcement with the players, ages 5 to 10, no matter what their skill level. During the camps last week, compliments included “Good hustle,” “Great job following the ball” and “You’ve hit the ball five times, make it six.” All participants gets complimented for their efforts.
“Coach Greg is so wonderful,” said parent Kesha Robitaille of Evergreen, whose sons Matt and Eli are in the program. “He is calm, patient and kind.”
Her son Matt, 9, said he was learning how to do a forehand and backhand.
“It really is quite fun,” he said.
Sofie Nelson, 10, who attends Marshdale Elementary, said the tennis clinic has been fun, and her favorite part is serving.
Parents were happy that their children were away from their electronic devices and outside getting exercise while learning a new sport.
Joni Castorino of Genesee brought Bodhi, 5, to learn to play tennis because he was starting to be interested in sports.
“This looked like a good fit,” she added.
Rhonda Kemmis watched her grandsons Calvin, 7, and Connor, 5, during the clinic. In fact, she gave them tennis rackets as Christmas gifts. Also a retired physical education teacher, Kemmis understands the importance of getting kids involved in sports.
“It’s such a phenomenal cardio sport and a social sport,” she said of tennis. “I can’t wait until I get to play with them.”
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