Hey Kids – Join the Tennis Fun

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Los Alamos Tennis is Growing – Come Join the Fun!
By Lloyd Wilton

Tennis is the second most popular sport in the world, and for some concrete reasons.

Tennis season is primarily played in the summer and played by all ages and skill levels. Players of all ages chase the summer to compete and have fun. Secondly, the sport is challenging and with anything challenging it is highly rewarding. 

Finally, tennis is life-long, you can start as many professionals and non-professionals do at age 5. This is not necessarily a time you must start and that is the beauty of tennis, particularly the Los Alamos Summer Tennis Program. It welcomes all ages and skill levels and WALK-INS. 

The mission of the tennis community is to simply get more people involved and enjoying a sport that can be played all your life. The benefits of this mission are endless including, the whole family can learn, play, and enjoy time spent with one another. The key idea is “community” which starts and ends with participation. The sport is structured for the competitive player along with the casual participant.

Among the tennis community Bob Nolen, President, of Los Alamos Tennis Club became very instrumental in introducing “10 and Under Tennis” (previously known as Quick Start) [a United States Tennis Association program] to Los Alamos county.  Essential to the acceptance and instruction of tennis in Los Alamos are coaches Bruce Cottrell and Billy Wilton. Along with these three men and the partnership with Los Alamos County Recreation Department tennis is growing in our schools and our community. 10 and Under Tennis became a hit among many of the youth in Los Alamos County over the past year (60 players took the program from the County). This success has led tennis coaches Bruce Cottrell, Ashley Bonner, Billy and Lloyd Wilton to develop other complementary programs.

Here are some of the program options the community has:

Los Alamos Smash Tennis Camp: Runs from June 17–Aug. 2 (Includes 10 and Under Tennis)

Los Alamos County 10 and Under Tennis: Runs from June 17–Aug. 8. Register on the County website here.

The Los Alamos tennis coaches work with kids of all ages throughout the summer and have met many individuals in the community. Lloyd recalls meeting one of his graduating senior tennis player’s grandmother this June. She told him something that really stuck in his mind. “I hung up my racket when I turned 82 years old but not because I chose to but because physically I had to.” She went on to say “I still dream of playing tennis.” The reason this stuck was because even though she had played 60 plus years, she stayed eager to play the sport she loved. 

10 and Under Tennis players will compete and play with smaller rackets, lower nets, smaller courts, slower moving and lower bouncing balls. For example, an adult tennis racket is 27-inches long but in Quick Start, the children’s racket is 2 to 6 inches shorter depending on the age of the child. And a regulation tennis court is 78-feet long. In 10 and Under Tennis, the courts are 36 feet for players 8 and younger, and 60 feet for players 10 and younger.

The nets also are several inches lower. The USTA approved these changes this past fall and all 10 and under tournaments will be played with the new criteria. The LA Smash tennis camp is a great option because it will include 10 and Under and work with kids of all ages and skills every day of the week. 

The tennis Instructors consist of former college tennis players, Ashley Bonner, Billy, Lloyd and Stephanie Wilton, and former state champions Patrick Raichur and Colleen Fitzsimmons.

For more information, contact 505-660-5714 or email lasmashtennis@gmail.com.

Courtsy/LATC

Courtsy/LATC

Courtsy/LATC

Courtsy/LATC

Courtsy/LATC

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