Dozens of youngsters hit the Mast courts in summer clinic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 16, 2002

&uot;You have to reach up with your racket when you serve,&uot; Marianne Carr says to one of her charges at the summer tennis instruction clinic at the Howard Mast Tennis Court. &uot;If you let the ball come down, you’re not going to be able to swing with your arm, and the ball might not get over the net.&uot;

Carr may be only 12, but she’s been helping at the annual clinic for three years. &uot;It’s a lot of fun to come out here and help these people learn to play better,&uot; says the King’s Fork Middle School student.

Difficulty in serving is the most common problem that Carr encounters. &uot;The kids are worried about hitting the ball hard, rather than controlling their racket to hit it straight. We teach them to worry about control, not about power. We try to get them to hit the ball soft and aim at the target.&uot;


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Alex Edick, a King’s Fork classmate of Carr, has been working on his serve for about four years now. &uot;Serving’s hard because you need good hand-eye coordination,&uot; says Edick, 12. &uot;I’ve learned a lot out here. I just want to play tennis when I get to high school.&uot;

Participation in the camp has been steady for the past few years, explains Michelle Grover. &uot;We have an average of about 30 kids,&uot; says Grover, in her third year of instructing at the clinic.

The clinic is divided into three classes separated by skill, she continues. &uot;The munchkins, who are usually about 4 or 5 years old, come out here early in the morning. The beginners get here about 9 a.m., and the advanced beginners and intermediates play from 10:30 a.m. to about noon. The advanced beginners and intermediates are the ones that have the ability to play in tournaments.&uot;

The Local Junior Champ-ionship, open to Suffolk residents, will run Monday through Wednesday of next week at the Mast complex, and the Virginia State Tennis Championships will run from Aug. 5-9.

The camp doesn’t just help the participants. Barbara Schi-mming’s 9-year-old daughter Sarah has been learning the basics of the court sport in the Munchkin class. &uot;Sarah tells me that the clinic is fun. This is her first exposure to tennis, and she really enjoyed it,&uot; says Schimming. &uot;She’s learned the basics of the court, and she’s learning how to serve and volley. She goes to Nansemond Parkway Eleme-ntary School now, and I think she’ll want to play tennis when she gets to Nansemond River.&uot; Sarah’s sister Nicole is

in her second year of playing for the Lady Warrior court team.

&uot;We were at a tournament in Virginia Beach, and about 10 people came up to me and said, ‘If you live in that area, you definitely have to go learn at the Howard Mast Com-plex!’&uot; says Carrolton resident Carrie Veith, whose children Ryley, Karson, and Hannah take part in the clinic. &uot;All of the kids have enjoyed it. The people here are strict, but they’re friendly.&uot;