Junior players learn about tennis, a little about life

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, June 7, 2007

NATCHEZ —The Natchez National Junior Tennis League, a branch of the U. S. Tennis League is serving up fun for the summer.

“It is a good way to learn discipline and learn tennis skills,” participant Adam Blackwell said.

Participants learn how to properly hit serves, forehands, backhands, volleys and ground strokes. They play games to help practice their newly learned skills.

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“It is fun because we get to play with our friends and have a good time,” Taylor Beesley said.

The league meets four days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. Kids learn correct form, and set up doubles and singles matches against each other. It is geared toward beginners through advanced beginners, and it is the first year the National Junior Tennis League has existed in Natchez.

The coaches are teaching all components of the game. Strategy and teamwork are important aspects of the matches.

“They play designated matches in order to get a feel for the game,” coach Frankie Spence said.

The objective for the National Junior Tennis League is to allow the kids to have a good time and learn a life sport, Spence said.

Natchez High, Cathedral, ACCS, Huntington and WCCA all have participants in the program. About 35 participants are enrolled in the program throughout the summer.

“This helps kids who do not have the opportunity to play each other have that chance,” coach Henry Harris said. “It helps them to see what kind of playing styles other people have.”

Some of the kids are using their newly learned skills to help them next spring.

“I am trying out for the Cathedral High School tennis team, and we have learned how to work hard and fix our mistakes,” Sarah Beth Willard said.

In addition to playing games, the kids are able to play singles and doubles matches.

“I can tell that I am getting better,” Willard said.

The Natchez National Junior Tennis League was invited to play tournaments in Birmingham, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta.

The coaches are still unsure of plans, but it is not being written off.

“We will just have to see where we are when it gets closer to that time,” Spence said.

The summer program is part of a broader scheme Harris said.

“This is mostly about life- sharing, great diversity and working together,” Harris said.

There is one week left to sign up for the program. Contact Frankie Spence at the Duncan Park Tennis Courts.