|Tennis Association introduces sport to McFadden kids
|Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2012 5:21 am
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|Ask the kids involved in the summer program at McFadden Community Center what group they look forward to visiting the facility and they will tell you people that teach them tennis.
That group would be the Murfreesboro Tennis Association when they bring their portable nets to the center along with tennis rackets, tennis balls and some volunteers to give the youngsters a chance to serve and volley.
Several low nets were spread the length of the McFadden gym. Tennis rackets were passed out, tennis balls distributed and the kids began to use the wall as a partner or divide up for individual play hitting the ball over the nets.
Bill Neal spearheads the program. They take their portable road show to different locations throughout the city.
"The Murfreesboro Tennis Association is involved in a lot different aspects of tennis throughout the community," said Neal. "We give free clinics to give people in the community that may not have the opportunity to play tennis."
The program has been part of the McFadden Summer series for in the last couple of years and they visit the center several times during the summer.
"Some of the kids are just content to hit off the wall because they know they are can do that and do not need someone to hit it back to them" said Neal. "And we have games they can join in and some do that. So they have choices to participate with others or play by themselves."
With each visit to the community center, Neal and his volunteers have seen improvement and enjoyment.
Charlie Meyers plays on the Oakland High School tennis team and was one of the those volunteers that Neal had at the clinic.
"I like working with the kids and teaching them a new sport," Meyers said. "The kids really do want to get better but they want to have fun at the same time. I like working with them. It makes me feel good and to see them enjoy tennis."
Neal and his volunteers give the children individual instructions and see their improvement with each visit.
"At first they are edgar to learn but they are still stand offish," Neal added. "But as we have come along with the program and the kids have gotten some one on one attention they gained some confidence in what they can do."
Evan Smartt is no stranger to the program. He has been involved last two years.
Since his introduction to the sport, he has taken up hitting tennis balls at home when he has a chance and hopes maybe join the tennis team at his school in the future.
"I didn't know that there was a certain grip to hit certain shots," said Smartt. "I have been hitting balls off my front door at home to build up my reactions but now I know different grips I can hit the ball more solid. I like tennis I hope I can play more in school."
Neal and his crew aren't working with the kids to develop the next Grand Slam of tennis champion. Just introducing tennis to the children and getting them involved is their goal.
"We just want is give the kids an understanding of the game so when they watch it or play it they know what is going on," Neal explained. "And course the main thing is to give them some enjoyment so when they get older and they might take up the game."
"But our objective is not to create great tennis players but to increase their overall knowledge of the sport and if someone takes this somewhere and does something great with tennis, then that is a bonus."
Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department have numerous programs at there facilities and parks in Murfreesboro through out the year. The Summer Program at McFadden is just one of many.
"It is wonderful that Bill and the Murfreesboro Tennis Association volunteer their time each summer for the kids at McFadden," said Gary Arbit, athletic coordinator for McFadden Community Center and Murfreesboro Recreation Department.
"Bill and his staff have conducted a beginning to tennis program the last two summers and the kids have a great time each visit."