Marina Middle School serves up tennis clinic to students

By: Staff Report
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Coaches from Broadstone Racquet Club and Oak Ridge High School recently visited Marina Middle School to introduce tennis and encourage kids to try out for the Oak Ridge High School tennis team. More than 200 kids packed into the gymnasium for a brief tennis demonstration and then were invited to participate in some drills on a “short court tennis,” a model introduced by the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) QuickStart program. Nearly everyone got involved taking turns hitting foam balls with undersized racquets on four makeshift mini-courts. On both sides of the courts, students also ran through a ladder exercise meant to increase foot speed, balance and agility. The program took just under an hour but was talked about for the entire day in the halls of Marina. Doug Atkinson, Director of Tennis at Broadstone and the Spare Time Junior Tennis Academy, was accompanied by Pat Ryan and Ralph Clark, the Oak Ridge boys’ and girls’ tennis coaches, Zel Sperry, assistant boys’ coach, and Courtney Atkinson, former captain of the Oak Ridge girls’ tennis team. The group hopes that the demonstration will spark an interest in Oak Ridge’s accomplished tennis teams among the middle school students. Atkinson also pointed out the advantages of playing a varsity sport in terms of “points added” to college admissions applications. Atkinson has been teaching tennis in Sacramento for 30 years. Among his many notable local pupils is Sam Warburg, a four-time All-American tennis player for Stanford, NCAA doubles champion in 2004 and PAC-10 singles champion in 2004 and 2005. Warburg played professional tennis for four years before retiring this year. Atkinson can be contacted at 983-9180 or if you are interested in bringing a tennis demonstration to your school.