Tennis lessons taught on dilapidated courts

USTA Executive Director for Utah Laurie Lambert works with local kids at the 6th Street tennis courts. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Laurie Lambert, Utah’s executive director for the United States Tennis Association (USTA), was recently in Evanston at the local tennis courts to give local tennis instructor Chris Weiss tips on teaching children of all ages.

Weiss has been teaching tennis in Evanston for years. He had invited his kindergarten students, his tennis students, and their parents to attend, watch and participate. A large number of children of all ages attended.

“Tennis is a lifetime sport,” Lambert said. “Even if children never go on to participate in competition, they gain balance and coordination by learning tennis and it keeps them active and involved in athletics.”

Lambert said she has been teaching tennis for 35 years, since she was 16 years old. She played in junior competitions her whole life. Currently, she assists other instructors and helps communities build their tennis programs, and she said there are grants available from USTA for programming.

During the hour that Lambert and Weiss played tennis with the children, the students had them practice sending the tennis ball back and forth while Lambert provided support and instructions. Periodically she would talk to the parents sitting on the sidelines and explain the different techniques and tips she was giving the children.

Lambert said, “There are at least 780 drills in tennis, but most people get only 10 in their heads.”

Toward the end of the hour Lambert and Weiss asked all of the children to come onto the tennis court.  They were divided into two teams and played a game of balancing the ball on the racket and passing it to another player and then the third player to receive the ball would send it over the net to the other team.  Even the smallest child was able to participate and have fun while learning the basics of tennis.

“The tennis courts are in bad shape and need to be resurfaced,” Weiss said. “We hope to apply for some grants and work with the city and the recreation department to get them done. My goal is to teach tennis to as many children as I can in a safe and quality environment.”

Weiss teaches five to six days a week in the summer and students can sign up on his Facebook page or email him at [email protected]

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