Tennis isn’t just an individual sport — it takes pieces to create a whole and succeed as a group.
The tennis camp hosted at Seymour High School this week focused on the team aspect of the game while also improving each netters’ skills.
Seymour girls head coach Jennifer Miller ran the camp with the help of athletes from both the girls and the boys teams.
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Miller said this was her third year in charge of the camp and that the attendance has slightly risen each year.
There were two 90-minute slots that were broken up between 1st through 4th grades and followed by 5th to 8th.
In the early session, the younger players worked on the little things.
“We worked on basic fundamentals,” Miller said. “From ground strokes to volleys and a little serving. With the younger group, we’re really focusing on hand-eye coordination and making the game fun.”
In the drills, Miller would pair kids together so they could learn together.
“We did a lot of doubles play,” Miller said. “Playing with a teammate, you’re not out there by yourself. When we separate into games, we make sure there are always teams. That way you’re winning with your team and not on your own.”
Miller said that working on hand-eye coordination is important for the younger students.
“There are so many things kids can do at a young age as a first or second grader to develop tennis at a later age,” she said. “Hopefully some of the stuff we teach at camp, they will take and go out and play with friends.”
Immanuel Lutheran fifth-grader Emma Woodard said she learned a lot from the coaches.
“I thought it would be fun to go to tennis camp,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot of stuff. I want to learn so I can play with my mom and dad. They know how to play tennis. I learned how to keep score and stuff. I now know where you’re supposed to go during a match.”
Madalyn Barule, an incoming eighth-grader at Seymour Middle School, said she wanted to improve her skills all around.
“I wanted to learn more and get out and hit more and get practice,” she said. “We learned how to better hit forehand, backhands and volleys. The games are my favorite part.”
For the high-schoolers, the camp offers a chance to give back to the sport.
“I like helping out the kids and seeing them get better,” Seymour senior Ty McCory said. “Whenever I was their age, I looked up to the high school players. I try to be a good role model for them.”
The camp also allows for the high school team to give future students a taste of what it’s like at the next level.
“We bring in the high school players so that the kids know what the program is about,” Miller said. “We make sure that the kids know that we play as a team even though it takes individual skills.”
As the camp continues to grow, Miller said that many athletes keep coming back.
“I have a lot of repeat campers from the past couple years,” Miller said. “My first year, we had 23 and this year we have 31. We are definitely expanding. Between this and the ‘Tots to Teens’ program that Sharon and Emma Wood are doing, we’re getting a lot more kids involved in the community.”