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USTA gives tennis classes to youngsters in Orange Park

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By Lee Wardlaw lee@claytodayonline.com

ORANGE PARK – For the previous seven weeks, 22 youngsters residing in Orange Park have spent the final seven weeks taking part in a particular program funded by a grant supplied by the US Tennis Affiliation by way of Orange Park Excessive.

After practising forehands, backhands, positioning and hand-eye coordination for seven weeks, the crew obtained collectively for one remaining lesson on Wednesday, Nov. 16, for a program-culminating event on the Membership Continental Tennis Membership.

The occasion supplied a family-friendly, community-oriented, and enjoyable manner for student-athletes to indicate off their abilities, all whereas soaking in additional ability coaching from Adam Blackner, the Director of Racquet Sports activities at Membership Continental, and Robert White, Orange Park Excessive instructor and tennis coach, amongst others, who have been all elated to supply native youth extra coaching on the highly-anticipated occasion.

The event concluded a two-month journey of tennis apply that lasted 49 calendar days, starting from the canine days of summer time to the flip of the calendar, commencing the cooler move of autumn winds.

The scholars participated in 13 periods earlier than this system’s de facto “Tremendous Bowl,” which was full with drinks, snacks and a gap presentation from Lauren Pfanestiel, Group Partnership Faculty Director of Orange Park Excessive.


Pfanestiel stated she might instantly detect the impacts that the enjoyable within the solar with associates of Orange Park college students who participated in this system.

“We now have college students who’re extra assured, made associates, and are even planning to affix the varsity tennis workforce this spring. So, we’re actually enthusiastic about this chance as we develop. We need to make our tennis workforce at Orange Park extra aggressive. We offer teaching and further hours through the summer time for tutoring, faculty exploration, and permit them to extend their tennis abilities. So we’re positively enthusiastic about what the long run holds. We won’t wait to proceed,” she stated.

After college students, mother and father, Membership Continental, and group members heard from Pfanestiel, all in attendance made an introduction to their friends, stating title and variety of years of taking part in expertise.

Then, groups of two adults and two college students cut up up, taking cost of the 5 predominant courts consisting of the membership’s house base shaded beneath the gorgeous palmetto bushes and tucked between the streets of the historic neighborhood bordering the St. Johns River.

Pfanestiel additionally stated, “We acquired a grant from the USTA Basis to run tennis packages all year long for our college students. Our objective was to introduce the game of tennis to a various group of younger individuals to make this a lifelong sport for them and enhance the engagement of those that can love this sport after they depart this faculty.”

Expanded studying is the important thing focus of the Group Partnership Faculties Mannequin to enhance pupil attendance, habits, and course efficiency. Orange Park carried out the mannequin in 2019 as a partnership alongside Youngsters’s Residence Society of Florida, Clay County District Faculties, HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital, Palms Medical Group and St. Johns River State School.

Matthew Lovejoy, sophomore and the fifth-ranked student-athlete on the Raiders’ boys’ varsity tennis workforce, stated this system has supplied for indispensable enhancements in his recreation as he shoots for a giant sophomore season at Orange Park within the spring alongside his devoted teammates, Austin, Brandon, Michael and John.

Lovejoy, who’s taking to his second season with the racquet, stated White has already helped him at forehands, backhands, serves and all different parts concerned with the sport.

“I really feel like going to apply within the offseason has actually helped me preserve my ability. I really feel like I will be capable of decide up proper the place I left off within the spring,” he stated.

As for the occasion he, his teammates and his classmates have been flattered. He summed it up: “I feel it was wonderful that we have been capable of pull this all collectively.

“Final 12 months, this was a small workforce that didn’t have a complete lot of expertise. Some have been additionally not skilled at the start of the (partnership) program, they usually’ve already come a great distance. I am actually completely satisfied for Coach White, clearly, and I do know he is actually proud of how the workforce has grown.”

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