By Arden Franklyn
Every Thursday, for 90-minutes, Rita, BYSC’s Tennis Coach, leads a group of 10 kids from Ridgeway Elementary through various energizing drills that are focused on the fundamentals of tennis. But the drills themselves aren’t the only reason why improvement has been evident among these young players. Before rackets or balls take to the air, Coach Rita checks in with the kids about their day as they await the arrival of their fellow players.
Once everyone arrives, Coach Rita splits the group into three lines and they practice their hand placement on rackets before shadowing her in forehand and backhand movements. The technique was taught without using balls, so the children used their imagination as they copied the Coach step by step. Then they actually had to hit the ball, using their forehand or backhand. I would like to give extra credit to Coach Rita because not only was she informative, but she showed considerable patience and instilled confidence in the players who were struggling.
Continuing to highlight their newly minted skills, the remainder of Thursday’s program was spent playing games that included a mixture of dodgeball and “Capture the Flag”. With Rita throwing the balls in different directions, each player had to move and hit the ball with a forehand or backhand. If they hit it out of bounds or before the net, they were given a “jail” card and had to wait on the other side of the gym in hopes of catching a fly ball, thereby gaining their freedom. Laughter was contagious at Ridgeway, as the kids learned the sport of tennis and had lots of fun along the way.
The Ridgeway Elementary Afterschool Tennis Program is part of a larger collaboration between Backyard Sports, the White Plains Youth Bureau, and the USTA, which brings introductory tennis to over 400 White Plains students as part of their Afterschool Connections program.
Please join us for our first Backyard Benefit on April 27th and support
athletic programs that make sports accessible to all kids. #Sports4Everyone