Quickstart brings tennis to kid level

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Youth basketball leagues usually use goals that are seven or eight feet tall instead of 10 feet. Youth soccer leagues usually play on fields much shorter than 100-110 yards long with youth-sized goals and soccer balls.

So Quickstart Tennis makes sense for introducing kids to tennis with smaller courts and specifically designed equipment.

Old Dominion University’s Folkes-Stevens Indoor Tennis Center is starting Quickstart sessions for kids 10-and-under each Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

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Kids 8-and-under learn and play tennis on courts about a third the size of a regulation, singles tennis court. Kids 10-and-under play on courts a little more than half the size of a full tennis court.

There’s modified, simpler scoring, a slightly lower net, and perhaps most importantly, the equipment is made for smaller athletes. The rackets are smaller and lighter and the balls are designed to be slightly slower, and not bounce as high, compared to regular tennis balls.

“This is a newer program the USTA (United States Tennis Association) does and it’s caught on very well. Basically, it’s a way to get young kids into the sport and in a way they’ll have more success,” said David Weiner, junior tennis coordinator and teaching pro at the Folkes-Stevens Center.

“For a kid who’s six or seven years old, a racket can be really heavy and the court can be huge. Quickstart is designed to help them play more consistently and have more success,” said Weiner.

Quickstart is meant to teach kids the basic fundamentals of the sport, then get them into a game, that is usually more exciting than repeated practice drills, very quickly.

The sessions are designed to be a no-pressure chance for kids to come out and try the program. Each session is $15. Kids are asked to call the Folkes-Stevens Center (683-5312) before each Saturday to sign up so instructors know what to plan for, but kids can come and play as many or as few Saturdays as they want.