The Shafter Recreation and Parks District's annual Summer Tennis Camp has attracted a full roster of campers eager to learn the love of the sport.
Headed up by director Nelson Salinas, the camp is teaching the kids the basics of the sport, including the different strokes, as well as the other components of the game that are often overlooked.
Before the campers even hit a ball on the Shafter High courts, Salinas taught them the importance of proper footwork, as well as fitness for the game. The kids spent the first half of each session working on exercises, such as jumping jacks, wind sprints, and drills intent on teaching them proper technique when it comes to how and where to approach the ball.
The campers spent several drills practicing how to shuffle sideways, enabling them to correctly be in the proper position to approach the ball. This phase of the game is often overlooked, with eager players wanting to get out there and hit the ball immediately. "A lot of the kids we have haven't played the game before," Salina said. "So, we want to teach them how to play the correct way, while also having a lot of fun."
Salinas and his staff taught the kids proper stroke technique, including the forehand, backhand, serve, as well as the volley and the return. The majority of the kids were beginners, eager to learn how to play the game. They also will benefit from the fitness that the game brings when played properly, lending them positive experience in other sports as well.
The camp will go until Thursday, Aug. 24, with the players being able to play a full match by the end of the sessions. This teaching of proper technique also will help those kids who wish to pursue tennis in junior play, as well as when they get into high school and can be a part of a competitive team, Salinas explained.