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Date of Issue: June 24, 2009

Quick Start tennis program motivating, fun for kids

sport pic
Charlotte Pardue lines up a forehand during tennis camp action at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy
sport pic
Tennis instructor Tammy Corby explains the rules of the next game the campers will play during tennis camp action at the Anna Maria Island Community Center. Islander Photo: Kevin Cassidy
sport pic
Karate kid
Instructor Greyson Wallis, 16, recently won the World Karate Championships. From about 800 participants, she took one first place, three second places, and one third place in the championship. Greyson is a student of Kevin Bergquist and teaches at the Island Dojo Martial Arts Academy on Anna Maria Island. She is assisting the operation of Island Dojo's Summer Karate Camp. For more information, call 941-807-1734.y

The Anna Maria Island Community Center’s summer tennis camp is under way with a handful of kids participating last week. The camp, under the direction of Gabriel Ferrer, offers a unique approach to developing young tennis players. Ferrer, who has an extensive resume in tennis instruction, is also the program director at G.T. Bray and has coached several highly ranked professional tennis players during his long career.

Ferrer uses colored tapes that are put onto the developing players’ racquets to indicate their level of achievement. This system is very much like the belts that are earned in martial arts programs. Players start out with a white tape indicating they are beginners. The youngsters use smaller nets and Nerf or low-compression balls to work on acquiring a basic knowledge of how to hit a groundstroke. When the player or players show they have acquired whatever specific skill they are working on, they are tested to assess whether they can move up to another color tape.

During the camp, the instructor puts the players through different drills that work on specific skills using a variety of games such as jail, gladiator, caterpillar, king of the court and match play.

On this particular day, the kids played jail, during which the instructor hits a ball to the player whose goal is to hit a groundstroke over the net and in play. If they are successful, they go back to the end of the line and wait for their next turn. If their groundstroke doesn’t go over the net, they have to go to that side of the net and try and catch another player’s groundstroke in the air or in one bounce. If they manage that, they get to get back into the game. The winner is the last player hitting groundstrokes. Other games such as gladiator, which is a sort of tennis dodge ball, and caterpillar, are drills to improve lateral movement.

After working hard in the hot sun, instructor Tammy Corby offered the kids another motivator — popsicles! While enjoying her favorite colored popsicle, Hailey Grace was asked about her favorite part of the camp. She answered succinctly, “Rallying.”

If you’d like to get your child involved, the tennis camps run weekly from now through Aug. 13, Monday-Thursday. from 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $99 per week for the camp, which is being held at the AMICC tennis courts.

Other camp news

Session one of the Anna Maria Island Community Center’s Driven Basketball camp was cancelled due to a lack of participants. Players can still sign up for session two, which runs from July 13-24. Cost for the camp is $45 for members and $60 for non-members.

The camp will take place at the Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday and Friday and noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For more information, contact Andy Jonatzke or Billy Malfese at 941-778-1908.

Rich Bell and his Youth Sports Training group that brought the very popular beach soccer tournament to Coquina Beach are still accepting registration for his soccer camp for players ages 4-16 at the AMICC soccer fields starting June 29 and continuing until July 10.

The camp will focus on age-appropriate skill development through a variety of games and competitions that are guaranteed to bring out the best in each individual player. Rich Bell stated that he’s got his coaching staff in place, including Manatee High girl’s varsity soccer coach Kevin Cassidy and former star players Lindsey Weaver and Eliza Faillace. In addition, Bell has goal keeping coach extraordinaire Lance Bieker to lend his expertise. He went on to say that registration is going strong, but there are still spots available for interested players.

The 4-6 age group will go from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily, while the 7-16 age group will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Cost for the camp is $80 per week with registration taking place from now until June 19.

Last, but not least, British Soccer Camps will be back Aug. 3-7 at the AMICC soccer fields. Registration is taking place now until Aug. 1. You can register online at www.challengersports.com before June 19 to receive a free jersey.

Cost for two-hour mini camp which takes place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for ages 4-5 is $99 while the half-day mini camp which runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for ages 6-9 is $104. The camp for players ages 8-16 takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. is $104.

Key Royale golf news

The Key Royale Club men played an 18-hole, two best balls of foursome match on June 17. The team of Bob Kral, Vince Mercadante, Greg Spahn and Pieter Thomassen lapped the field with a score of 102 to earn bragging rights for the day. Second place went to the team of Danny Hayes, Bob Dickinson, Jim Thorton and Paul Proxy with what would normally be an impressive 11-under par 117.

The men played a nine-hole, individual low net game on June 15 that produced many ties. First place was shared by Dave Schroer and Omar Tolard after they both carded 4-under-par 28s. Charlie Knopp was one shot back in second place with a 29 while Fred Meyer took third place with a 2-under 30. Chuck Reed, Danny Hayes and Bob Dickinson each carded 34 to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place.

Horseshoe news

Sam Samuels dominated the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits during the past week. On a very hot June 20, Samuels teamed up with Bob Heigher to roll past Tom Skoloda and Jeff Moore 21-11.

Samuels was at it again on June 17, teaming up with Ron Pepka to win first place with an easy 21-8 victory over John Johnson and Jeff Moore.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warm ups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

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