Instructional tennis program for kids about to launch

Troy Shantz

An innovative and affordable program that teaches children the game of tennis is about to start in Sarnia.

‘Tennis for Kids’ is tailored to players aged five to 10 and offers a step-by-step progression to learn the skills and rules.

The first of two, five-week sessions starts Jan. 26.

“They get immediate success, literally in their first lesson,” said Brian Clarke, a certified Tennis Canada instructor and program co-ordinator.

Brian Clarke

“This is a relatively new concept. This all came out of Europe and is still relatively new to North America.”

The program launch follows a trial event in Sarnia last April that proved successful.

Young players are introduced to the game by using smaller rackets, softer tennis balls and shorter courts. As they improve and grow, the playing surface is increased and larger equipment used.

The program is headed by Clarke and local tennis pro Justin Bourassa, also a Tennis Canada instructor, with help from top-ranked high school players.

Many beginners who try the game for the first time on a large outdoor court get frustrated and give up quickly. Tennis for Kids highlights how to work with an opponent, striving to achieve a back-and-forth rally, Clarke said.

It also stresses tennis etiquette and playing fair.

“The purpose of this program is not to create future Roger Federers, it’s to introduce these kids to a game that’s inexpensive… and one you can play the rest of your life,” he said.

A five-week program for children ages five to 10 costs $25 and takes place at St. Matthew Catholic School, where the gym will be divided into four courts.

The first session begins Jan. 26 and the second five weeks starts March 2. Classes are 75 minutes each and begin at 9 a.m.

A fun tournament for all participants is scheduled for April 6.

All equipment is provided but players need to bring running shoes.

To register, email t4ktennisforkids@gmail.com.