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USTA SC 10's Camp a Hit

March 26, 2010 04:40 PM

USTA South Carolina’s Player Development Committee offered a high performance camp for players aged 10 and under this past Sunday, March 21, from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Clemson University.

Dr. Sophie Woorons-Johnston together with Jessica Amick, Steve Zalinski, Charly Rasheed and Gary Agardy ran an astounding first camp this year. The first sign of success was how engaged the young kids where for the entire camp, and it was certainly encouraging with a number of parents staying and enjoying the training program.

We started by a series of question to the children: Who can hit 10 balls in a row without missing from the baseline (All the children's hands went up in approval). Who can hit the ball cross court with their backhand top spin. Who can do a one handed backhand slice approach shot down the line? Who is consistent with a second serve with spin using a hammer grip?

It was very cute to see the confidence the children had. However, it was quickly evident that unless we used adapted equipment such as transition (low compression) balls and 60 foot court to develop those skills in the young athlete we were just spinning our wheels. The traditional balls left us witnessing short rallys, kids reaching balls over their heads with extreme grips, not in the least encouraged to develop an all-court type of play. By using the modified equipment and court, the players were able to experience much longer rallies, better ball control, and a more complete game.

From then on, we used the 4 indoor courts at Clemson University. We started developing the children's consistency from the 60 foot court, continued with direction and precision. We then split up into 4 independent courts for 15 minute rotations on a specific footwork technique. Charly took over balance on ground stroke, Gary had recovery, Steve worked on backing up on overhead and Sophie worked on running to the net and split step.

When we broke for lunch the kids were hungry! After lunch, we gathered the kids and worked 30 minutes on their service technique. We then split the players into two groups. Half the children and their parents attended Charly Rasheed's presentation on the path to College Tennis. The other half went on-court to compete. We used some traditional balls in this segment.

The last hour was spent playing Cardio Tennis Kids! The music was blasting. We had a different high energy game on each court. The children loved it!

A big thank you to Chuck McCuen and Nancy Harris the Clemson University Head coaches for their support and to the coaches who did a fantastic job this weekend. There will be an additional Player Development camp for the 8 & 9s in the fall, with additional Competition Training Centers planned for the summer for older players (11-14s).

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