I mentioned a little while ago that T is taking tennis this summer, and though it’s hard to believe but we are already halfway through the class session to date! While each 30-minute class aren’t lessons per se, given the largest class he’s had to date has had about eight kids in it, it is more of a semi-private group lesson than just a coach teaching a group of kids. Because of the lower class enrollment, there has been a bit of time for Coach Richard to guide each child one-on-one at least once during the class each week.
Tennis for Tots is a 10-week session each Monday afternoon, and we are now in week six. I have to say (as does his grandma who got to see his class last week) that T has made some awesome progress so far! Given that he’d never really picked up a racquet before this class and during the first two classes T could barely make contact with the ball, I’d say he’s come a long, long way. I’d heard during our first class that Coach Richard has quite the reputation in Long Beach for teaching kids to play tennis, and now I see why based on T’s progress.
T has gone from starting out as a not-so-successful lefty in his first week to a much stronger right-handed player since week two. Since week three, he’s been making contact with the ball almost every time he has the opportunity to do so, and most hits are going over the net and into the green of the court! In week four, they started learning about net volleys, and last week, they did a lot more drills without marked spots on the ground to learn more about moving to the ball to hit.
I’ll admit that the first couple of weeks that I wasn’t so sure about Coach Richard and his approach with the kids, but I can see from the kids’ reception to his instruction and their progress overall that his matter-of-fact style works wonders with kids this age. Just like we parents need to repeat things over and over (and over!) again, so do our children’s teachers and coaches. While each class the last few weeks has appeared to be the same to us adults, to the kids it’s a nice routine where they can continue to learn and improve on their newly acquired tennis skills. And sprinkled in for good measure are a few fun games – and clean-up exercises – to break up the class (sometimes I think the kids like these parts best!).
I am still surprised T chose tennis as his summer class activity through parks and rec, but I am happy he did. It’s given him exposure to something new that neither C nor I really do on a regular basis, and to me that’s telling about his own personality development and sense of independence; it also is proof positive that we’re doing our darndest NOT to force our own interests on T as well. Seriously, we just do not want to be “those parents” if you know what I mean RMT’ers. In fact, because T chose this class, it sort-of forced C and I to dig out our own 20-year-old racquets just in case T wants to practice on non-class days (PS – Did you know that tennis racquets have changed a lot in the last 20 years?!). That self-motivation hasn’t come to be quite yet, but C and I are ready to play if T asks and wants to.
Hope we can keep this nice rally going through August!