Radley Run kids get a ‘quick start’ at tennis

Matthew Scott gets set to play “King of the Hill” on the abbreviated Quick Start court.

BIRMINGHAM — Most youth sports make allowances for children.  Baseball leagues begin with t-ball, basketball lowers the baskets and uses smaller balls, soccer is played on smaller fields with smaller balls, etc.  Until recently two sports, tennis and golf, did not make any concessions for children learning the game until now.  Radley Run Country Club ( www.radleyruncountryclub.com) is the only country club in the area that employs the Family Course golf tees with total 18 hole yardage of 2200 and 3800 yards and the Quick Start Tennis program in its Junior Tennis Academy.

Quick Start, or 10 and Under Tennis, takes a new and better approach to introducing kids to the game.  Balls are lower in compression, they bounce lower and don’t move as fast so they are easier to hit giving kids time to get to the ball and helps them develop optimal swing patterns.  Racquets are smaller and lighter and the courts are abbreviated.  A full sized tennis court is reconfigured in minutes to create up to 4 smaller courts thus allowing for real play action in the Radley Junior Academy tennis clinics.  As is often quoted, “the world of tennis has been turned sideways with 10 and Under tennis.”

Blake Williams with 4 girls from the 7&8 year old group: Becca Ryan, Lindsey Butler, Lily Thompson and Bryce Young.

Radley’s Junior Tennis Academy is run by Blake Williams.  Blake’s approach to introducing young girls and boys to tennis is utilizing the Quick Start program so that in short order the kids are able to rally easily and for several times over the net.  The Radley Run program encourages these rallying skills while 90% of the drills incorporate sending and receiving skills.  Kids learn how to move to the ball as well as control their shots.  “Because kids can rally from the beginning of their development, it encourages them to enjoy the game at a very young age.  We think we can develop some local superstar tennis players at Radley,” says Blake.

The Quick Start Radley Run Junior Tennis Academy program started in 2010 and has grown to approximately 130 participates.  As Radley expands its tennis facility in 2011 with 4 new Har-Tru courts and 2 paddle tennis courts we anticipate even more children joining the Academy.  For more information call Radley Run’s tennis center at 610-793-2114.

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