Ace Tennis Camp serves up serious fun

POULSBO — The sound of racquets smashing tennis balls was music to the ears of tennis instructors Kearney Bangs and Joseph McBurney on a sizzling, sunny Tuesday afternoon.

This is the second consecutive year they have been instructors during Poulsbo Parks and Recreation’s tennis camp for children which crashed the nets at North Kitsap High School earlier this week.

“We’re out here to teach them the basics. We want them to focus on using their forehand, backhand and serving strokes,” said Bangs, a 2006 NKHS grad who is now a sophomore at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. “We also introduce them to the rules of the game and teach everyone how to keep score.”

The key to success in tennis is repetition, Bangs said.

“We show them how to do a stroke and then we will have them do it over and over again,” she said. “After a while they get it and understand how to do that particular skill.”

McBurney hopes the young players develop a love for the sport.

“The most important thing is that they have fun,” the incoming NKHS senior said. “We want them to continue playing in the future. We hope they stick with it.”

The camp is divided into beginner and advanced sessions, maximizing the effectiveness of each.

“They’re all having fun but the older kids seem to be a bit more patient and the younger kids are always really excited and restless,” Bangs observed. “Both groups seem to catch on to everything pretty quick though. At the end of the week, they were hitting the ball pretty good.”

Ricky Knight, 11, was among those attending the camp and said it gave him a chance to burn off some unspent summertime energy.

“I like it because I am actually outside instead of sitting inside playing video games,” he said. “I like being active. Tennis gives me a chance to jump up and down.”

The July 9-13 camp is just the beginning, Bangs said. Two others are slated for July 24-28 and Aug. 13-17. The cost is $79 per player. For information, call Poulsbo Parks and Recreation at (360) 779-9898.

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