Tennis clinic begins Sunday, June 22

Published 8:26 am Friday, June 20, 2014

The annual Peach Festival Tennis Development Clinic will allow children to learn the basics of tennis or polish their skills on the court.

The clinic, organized by the Chilton Tennis Association, is open to beginner, intermediate and advanced players.

It will take place at the Clanton city tennis courts from Sunday, June 22 to Wednesday, June 25, and will be open to children age 6-17.

United States Tennis Association pro Hermon Washington will be joining efforts with tennis instructors Ada Ruth Huntley and Conner Morgan to coach the participants.

The Sunday night session from 7-8:30 p.m. will serve as an introduction to tennis and the camp itself.

Monday and Tuesday will have a morning session, lasting from 7-11:30 a.m., and a night session from 7-9 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to attend as many sessions as they’d like, although they are not obligated to be at all sessions.

Washington said that even if someone is unable to come to the introduction on Sunday night, they can register at any point during the clinic.

The $25 registration fee covers all four days of instruction.

On Monday and Tuesday, participants will be put into either a beginner, intermediate, or advanced group depending on their experience and skills.

USTA pro Glenn Phanelli will join the clinic on Wednesday to instruct the participants.

The clinic will switch gears on Wednesday, as participants will have the opportunity to learn from Phanelli from 9-11:30 a.m.

A “super group” will be announced around noon so that a few participants will have the chance to work one-on-one with Phanelli for the remainder of the afternoon.

Washington said the clinic is designed to have a lenient time schedule so that if people have to work or be somewhere else, they could come by to learn and practice whenever they are able to.

“They get on to me for being an early bird,” Washington said, laughingly. “We [the instructors] will be at the courts by 7 a.m. every day for the ones who want to come out early. We will have several courts going at a time with different groups and some one-on-one instruction.”

The event has had anywhere from 12 to 30 participants in the past, and Washington expects it to be a good turnout this year.

The courts underwent significant damage resulting from the abnormal snow and prolonged freezing temperatures in February.

The city of Clanton has been working with Lower Construction Company of Birmingham to repair the courts, and they have finished restoring four of seven courts in time for the clinic.

The basic tennis skills covered will include serving, approach and specialty shots, and forehand, backhand and overhead strikes.

Intermediate and advanced participants will have the opportunity to use a tennis ball machine to work on ground strokes and other challenging techniques.

In a county where football and baseball are among the top sports, Washington and his fellow instructors strive to introduce young people to the competitive sport of tennis.

Washington shared that he would like to not only coach aspiring tennis players, but also help kids develop a love and understanding of the game.

“If they’ve never hit a ball, we’d still like to have them,” Washington said. “We like to say that we are ‘growing the game of tennis.’”

The registration fee is $25 and sign-up sheets can be picked up at the YMCA of Chilton County.

If anyone is unable to get a sign-up sheet, they are welcome to come to Clanton city courts and register at any point during the clinic.

Water will be provided by the Chilton Tennis Association, and rackets and age-appropriate tennis balls will be provided by the USTA of Birmingham.

For more information on the clinic, contact Monica Cooper at 205-646-3738 or Herman Washington at 205-646-5836.