H.I.T.S. Youth Tennis In Antelope
by Mark Shahan
Free 6 weeks of junior tennis lessons with a life skills session was the theme this summer at the Antelope Community Park’s tennis courts. This 1st ever youth program called H.I.T.S was a beginner-level summer session for 22 underserved children ages 7 to 10 from June 14th to July 19th. H.I.T.S. stands for Honesty, Inspiration, Teamwork, and Sportsmanship and is a new tennis program only done in Northern California for ages 10 and under. Tennis can teach many great life lessons while on the court, but more important than the fundamentals of tennis, H.I.T.S. focuses on growing a child’s core values as well as the athlete. With this 6 week free program the use of “right-sized” equipment (in regards to weight, length, speed and size) allows young players to learn and play more effectively. At the end of each weekly tennis lesson, children participated in a life skills session. One week the life skills’ theme was honesty & goal setting, another week was health & nutrition, and another teamwork & sportsmanship.
Spending time with kids is always great fun, but teaching them real life skills is even better. It made them realize that there was more to learn in this program besides the actual game of tennis. The H.I.T.S. program was conducted for free by the Sacramento Community Tennis Association (SCTA) in conjunction with the NorCal United States Tennis Association (USTA). SCTA board members, Rod Glover, Sherman Whitney, and Mark Shahan performed as volunteer coaches. Local high school tennis players from Antelope HS, Ana Muntean, Cameron Yuki, and Nick Brusa performed as volunteer assistant coaches. Local elementary school teachers and tennis players, Vonnie Vo and Carla Rucker conducted the life skills sessions. Lionel Seals, from Antelope, said “This is the first time I’ve seen a kids summer sport’s program that includes life skills class at the end. I like it a lot and my kids really like it.” Barbara Whittaker, from Citrus Heights, said “I like that the coaches actually play the sport and can connect with the kids.” For more picture and activities, please join our Facebook at www.sacramentotennis.net.
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