Future of tennis on display at West Bank park during carnival
|Thelezia Folse/Herald Guide|
Bracie Jones (left) and Katelyn Moore get ready to take a swing as tennis balls come their way during a recent tennis carnival.
More than 100 people showed up for the event despite the dreary weather and 30 people signed up to become USTA members.
The St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation Department and the USTA sponsored the event, which took place at the West Bank Bridge Park. The camp was geared towards those between the ages of 5 and 18.
“The turnout was great considering the look of the weather,” instructor John Hebert said. “We were fortunate that the weather never chased the kids off the court and in all we signed up at least 30 new USTA members.
“I think that the event will reach many more beyond those that showed up for the carnival.”
The event was intended to bring community attention to tennis resources available around the parish and to promote the sport. In attendance were college coaches, high school coaches, tennis professional certified instructors, a USTA representative, area tennis club reps, college level players, high school players and lots of area tennis enthusiasts.
During the carnival, those in attendance got the chance to take part in games and drills that focused on teaching hand-eye coordination.
“In some cases, games used unconventional balls like a Koosh ball to teach younger children how to catch a ball on a tennis racket’s strings,” Hebert said. “Older children learned how to set up footwork for proper strokes.”
Those that joined the USTA received a grab bag with more than $80 in local coupons for area restaurants and tennis shops, a free lunch on Saturday and a chance to be in a drawing with numerous pulls for rackets, balls and home tennis nets.
They also got all the benefits of the USTA membership as well, which include the ability to play in local, regional and national tennis events, a tennis magazine, national discounts and more.
“I know the kids had a great time because it was difficult to get them off the court for the prize drawings,” Hebert said. “Several children stood out as tennis hopefuls...some kids just have a natural-born tennis stroke.
“It’s going to be exciting to watch these children’s tennis games mature.”
The group will hold another event for parents and tennis team coaches at the West Bank Bridge Park on Aug. 24 starting at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in learning how to help a child learn to play tennis is invited and no previous tennis experience is required.
The goal is to start up a junior league tennis team in the parish during September.
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