Selma summer tennis promotes fun, skills

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

Two weeks ago, 7-year-old Ben Davies picked up a tennis racket for the first time.

Wednesday, under the watchful eye of Selma High tennis coach, Louis Hill, he gave his older sisters, Jennifer and Megan, fits.

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This is the sixth year Hill has run Selma&8217;s summer tennis program at the public tennis courts behind Memorial Stadium. The free program operates twice a day, Monday through Thursday.

About 40 kids participate in the morning and another 15 attend in the afternoon.

The first hour of each session is spent sitting, listening and paying attention to basic strokes. Hill then matches the players by ability level &8212; beginner, intermediate, somewhat advanced, advanced &8212; and play begins.

The players play about three or four games, and then switch opponents. During breaks, they discuss the positives, negatives and fundamentals of their matches.

Sometimes children are not Hill&8217;s only students.

Maggie Davies, mother of three of the program&8217;s students, is a participant. She uses the program for summer exercise and its tiring effect on children.

Hill&8217;s summer program affects more than the participants&8217; tennis skills. Several teachers have told Hill the program is calming for participants and increases their focus.

Hill oversees the program to give Selma children another summer activity option, but he has also reaped its benefits. Each of Hill&8217;s tennis players at Selma High was a participant in an earlier summer camp, giving him the opportunity to work with them at a younger age.

Regardless of their potential, the program&8217;s purpose is simple.