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Middle School Tennis in Hernando County

June 11, 2008 10:24 AM

--- Cheryl Paradis, School Tennis Organizer for Hernando County Schools and
Nature Coast Tennis Foundation member, catches us up on middle
and elementary school tennis happenings in Hernando County

West Hernando Middle School (WHMS)
offered an exciting after school club for students that wanted to learn more about tennis, enjoy social time with other kids and desired to play tennis matches.  The format was simple:

After school, students met in a classroom and talked about tennis etiquette, rules of the game and expectations on the court.  After a quick snack, club members proceeded to the four tennis courts for two hours of fun.  We started with warm ups and cardio games.  We used foam balls, low compression balls and even tennis balls.  We used many of the drills from QuickStart Tennis and students felt confident to play games before the end of the first club meeting. 

Those students told other students and before the first month was over, there were forty-plus club members!  To join the club, students had to have a signed permission slip and plan to have fun.  After each session, students formed a circle and gave each other compliments about their skills or their attitude.  Every student received a compliment and it gave students an opportunity to socialize in a positive way. 

At the end of each club meeting, students would be saying things like, "I can't wait until next week," or, "I'm going to play with my dad this weekend at the park," and, "I wish tennis club was everyday!"  With these positive responses, we continued to have tennis club for twelve weeks.  If students attended six or more tennis club gatherings, they received a t-shirt to wear on Fridays that said "WHMS Tennis" which were donated by the school.

Once students could successfully serve the ball and play out points using different strokes, they were encouraged to play on the competitive tennis team for the school.  The school tennis team is a "no cut" team and a total of eighteen students from the club joined the competitive team while the other students continued to play for fun in the club.  An end of the year, a celebration was held for all players.

Other middle schools, including Floyd K-8, Challenger K-8, Powell, Parrott and Fox Chapel, have "no-cut" tennis teams which consist of no more than 30 players per school.   

The elementary schools in Hernando County have also had huge success in turning kids onto tennis.  Teachers used tennis equipment supplied by USTA Florida for recess throughout the year.  

Thank you for all you do to promote tennis with our young people in Florida.  Your support and equipment grants have made tennis happen for our students in Hernando County.  When I play at the local public park and see my students playing tennis, I know that together we have made a difference in their lives.  This wonderful game can be enjoyed for many years to come! 






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