By Rob Kiser
After her experience coaching the Piqua High School girls tennis team and being around the boys program, longtime Piqua tennis enthusiast and supporter Bonnie Davis knew there was a need to get Piqua kids involved in tennis at a younger age.
She is taking a step in that direction this summer, with a QuickStart tennis camp at Fountain Park.
The camp is sponsored by Midwest Youth Tennis, a division of the United States Tennis Association.
“Bud Schroeder (of Schroeder’s Tennis in Piqua) suggested it,” Davis said. “Midwest Youth Tennis got a hold of me and Jim Amick (from Midwest Youth Tennis) came out and showed me what to do.
It is a six-week program that will be wrapping up soon and is designed to make tennis fun for youngsters who want to get in the game.The court sizes, racquet sizes, balls and scoring system are age specific and even the net height has been adjusted for younger players entry into the sport.
It also stresses, like other popular sports with youth versions, the importance of play and team competition.
And since kids love team sports, the new format is now part of the USTA Junior Team Tennis league, which gives kids the opportunity to play with their friends while developing their skills.
Davis is very pleased with the turnout this summer.
“I am thrilled to have 18 kids from the ages of six to 11,” Davis said.
And the smiles on their faces make it all worthwhile for Davis.
“It is really great to see,” she said. “These kids are really enjoying themselves. When you watch our program, you will see that there is not a lot of instruction. This is designed to introduce the kids to the game and allow them to have fun with it.”
Davis knows that can only benefit the high school programs down the road.
“Having been a high school coach, we got a lot of kids that didn’t know a lot about the game,” she said. “Hopefully, if we can gets involved (in the sport) earlier, by the time they get to high school, they will know something about the game.”
Davis hopes to continue the program in the future.
“They tried this program a few years ago and it really didn’t take off,” Davis said. “Hopefully, we can (keep the program going in the future). These kids are just having a blast.”
And being introduced to a game that they can — like Davis — enjoy for a lifetime.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Piqua Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.