My name is Kelly Parker. Tennis has led me around the world, and now it has led me to a 36 foot court. I think throughout all my experiences, the 36 ft court is just as intimidating to me as anything else I have done on a tennis court. I start this blog in an attempt to document my experiences in the new QuickStart tennis format. My goal is to enjoy the experience with the kids, and have an open mind about this new initiative that is becoming the face of tennis to young people. My hope is to see and learn about how kids react and develop through this new format.
Initially, I had some apprehension to fully buying into this new initiative. It was my husband who originally gave me the full description and the push to have an open mind. How bad could it be? Every other sport in America already embraces the concept of making their sport fit the size and age of the people playing it. Honestly, at first, the tennis snob in me gawked at the idea and claimed it to be crazy. How could kids play a point before they knew how to hit a forehand? I’m still working on that concept, but I am coming around to the idea that this could really work!
As head tennis instructor at Precision Tennis Academy at Bur-Mil Park, I am leading our QuickStart tennis initiative. I have immersed myself completely into this concept. We have built the only permanent QuickStart courts in the Triad. We are teaching every age of QuickStart tennis from 4 years old to 10 years old. I am captaining two Junior Team Tennis teams at 10 & under and 8 & under divisions where we play at our home facility of Bur-Mil Park. As some would say, I am all in.
Two weeks ago, we started our QuickStart classes. I read every book, studied every online video and asked as many questions as I could possibly think of. I have taught every level of player including the very best in college to the beginner ladies league player, but I felt like I was entering the unknown. It was a tennis court that was unfamiliar. That has never really happened to me before. Even when I first started playing as a youngster, both my parents taught tennis.
I was teaching on the fly, and I could not wait until I was able to be a part of a QuickStart Training Workshop. That day finally came last Sunday. I learned a ton of great games, ways to keep kids interacting with a large amount, and ways to teach kids through activities. He taught us ways to have 12 kids playing on one court in an organized fun way. I thought that was amazing. I’m still wondering if it would work if I did that. Check my picture out. You can see how I am flapping my wings like a bird. I love that all inhabitions are left behind when teaching these classes. As an instructor, not only are you often the silliest one on the court, you need to be to make it work.
One thing that I found comforting was within all these ideas of teaching kids, there was a common ground that I found. My dad, Dave McCain and Director of Tennis at Precision Tennis Academy, had always taught me how to teach in a step by step process of each stroke. He has always done this since day one when teaching myself and all his students. It was comforting to know that although QuickStart is a new format, it isn’t as far out of the box as I had originally thought. In fact, it is right up my alley!