USTA holds workshop for P.E. teachers to teach tennis curriculum

Published 2:30 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

The tables were turned Wednesday when local elementary school P.E. coaches became the students.

The United States Tennis Association visited Bainbridge to teach their school curriculum in the hopes that it would be picked up by the teachers. After a two-hour session of volleying foam balls with rackets, control exercises and passing to each other, coaches jumped on board to bring tennis into their gym.

Amanda Tobin, the junior recreation coordinator for USTA, introduced all the fun activities teachers and coaches can bring into their P.E. class with a simple racket and foam ball.

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“It’s not your typical sport you would learn in elementary school,” Tobin said. “A lot of kids don’t get to learn it unless their parents play or they have a family member that plays.  It’s a way for us to introduce kids to tennis who may not normally ever be on a tennis court, so hopefully we can maybe get some more tennis players in our pipeline.”

The teachers had a blast in the gym at Jones-Wheat Elementary as they put themselves in the students’ shoes while Tobin showcased the games, station rotations and exercises that make kids not just better tennis players, but better athletes overall.

Babs Coyle, executive director of the Bainbridge Tennis Association, was thrilled to see the P.E. teachers using a racket. She was also adamant about bringing the sport into elementary schools.

“I think it teaches them more than just tennis,” Coyle said. “It’s going to teach them some lifelong skills as well. To be getting with the schools and partnering with BTA, it’s a way to get more kids involved and get more kids active.”

Coyle said there are tennis players in Bainbridge who are competitive well into their 80s. Developing these lifelong skills early can get more kids on the tennis court and playing for years to come.

“Tennis is a lifetime sport, so you can play it from when you’re four years old to when your 84 years old,” Tobin said.

As for Tobins’ “students,” she thought they did an excellent job, especially for some who don’t play the sport.

“The participants were fantastic,” Tobin said with a smile. “They stuck with their activities.”