of a tennis player, hiker, writer
|Earlier this week, the United States Tennis Association passed rules administering competition for 10-and-under tennis tournaments using the QuickStart tennis format.
Now, children 10-and-under can compete on smaller tennis courts with lower bouncing, slower balls and lighter racquets made for their little hands.
QuickStart made its way to Macon two years ago during a pilot program when Carl Hodge, Macon’s tennis manager, began offering drills and play format adapting QuickStart recommendations. A year ago, the John Drew Smith Tennis Center offered the QuickStart tournaments. Sarah Witherspoon, the tournament director of this weekend’s 10-and-under event, is an advocate for the QuickStart method.
Hannah Purvis a 10-year-old from Warner Robins, trains at JDS under Hodge. Purvis was 8 when she picked up the game after she attended one of the center’s summer camp sessions. This weekend marks her first tournament.
“I’m sorta nervous,” she said.
Another first-time tournament player, 9-year-old Nailah Ramos, also trains at JDS.
“I like the orange balls better because I can hit them better than the other ones,” Ramos said.
Ramos began playing because her parents were players.
“The orange and yellow low compression balls are ideal for 10-and-under children,” Witherspoon said. “They make training easier. I can have a 30-ball rally with children as young as 8. There’s no way I could do that with the traditional yellow ball. I can’t even do that with some of my older students.”
“My dad and I spent our Labor Day weekend practicing with the orange balls,” said Bowie, who said she is glad she’s in a round-robin event in which she can play everyone and not worry about results. “I’m glad I’m not just playing one match, where I’m just eliminated. I get a chance to play (all the players).”
And the younger players get a chance to enjoy the game and grow their love for the sport.
“Scaling tennis down to the size of children will promote greater participation and ensure that young kids will be able to play tennis much more quickly,” says Kurt Kamperman, the chief executive for community tennis for the USTA. “This rule change to the competition format for kids 10-and-under is critical to the long-term growth of our sport, and ultimately will help us develop new generations of players and champions.”
All that doesn’t matter to players like Bowie, Purvis and Ramos; they just know they can’t get enough. QuickStart competitive tennis has opened up the court to young players. “It’s fun,” said Ramos. “No matter what, if you win or not, you’re still a winner to yourself. I love it!”
Read more: http://www.macon.com/2010/09/11/1259783/young-players-get-a-taste-for.html#ixzz0...