Tennis: RTHS hosts annual youth summer camp

The Rochelle Township High School tennis program hosted its annual four-day summer youth camp this week, with players ranging from third grade through eighth grade taking the court to learn the fundamentals of tennis and sharpen their skills for the future. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Grade-school and middle-school players learning fundamental skills

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Township High School tennis program hosted its annual four-day summer youth camp this week, with players ranging from third grade through eighth grade taking the court to learn the fundamentals of tennis and sharpen their skills for the future. 

The camp began on Monday and concluded on Thursday, with sessions running from 8-9:30 a.m. for third, fourth and fifth-graders while sixth, seventh and eighth-graders played from 9:30-11 a.m. The camp is run by current high school players as well as head coaches Lizzie Cartwright and Kristy Eckardt, who was pleased with the numbers of attendants this year.

“The kids are so eager to learn because a lot of them have never played tennis before,” Eckardt said. “It’s great to see them pick up the sport and to see the light bulbs flash above their heads when they hit a good shot. We introduce the kids to tennis and we make it as fun for them as we can. It’s not about being the best on the court. It’s all about making friends and having fun.”

The camp teaches players the fundamentals of tennis, which include volleys, forehand shots and backhand shots as well as serves, footwork, scorekeeping and movement. More experienced campers focus on skills including control, power and strategy through competitive drills. The experience helps prepare players for a possible future with the RTHS tennis program.

“We’ve had the most players out here than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here,” Eckardt said. “Anytime the kids can get a racket in their hands and learn about tennis ahead of time gives them a head start on possibly playing tennis at the high school level. It makes a big difference.”

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