Palmer Park Tennis Academy
Palmer Park Tennis Academy
10 & Under Jr. Development Program &
New Adult Classes
Presented by People for Palmer Park with support from the U.S. Tennis Association
The 10 & Under Program: A ten week session
Want your child to learn to play tennis? Excellent instruction for young people 10 years of age and younger. Click here for the Summer 2014 registration form. The 10-week session begins June 17 and ends Aug. 21.
The class meets on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays at the Palmer Park Tennis Courts (Woodward north of 6 Mile), from 6-7 pm.
TUESDAYS: 6 – 7 pm, beginners • 7 – 8 pm, advanced beginners
THURSDAYS: 6 – 7 pm, beginners • 7 – 8 pm, advanced beginners Cost: $25. for entire ten-week session (one class) or $50 for two classes per week. Rackets and balls will be provided. Tennis shoes are required.
ADULTS: Our tennis program has expanded to adults! Call Leonora King at 313-828-8847
Free lessons will lead to coordination, fun, tournaments
The next Venus Williams is learning to control her volley in a summer of free tennis lessons at Palmer Park.She’s one of 35 Detroit area children, who received the chance of a lifetime – practically free tennis lessons – June 17 through Aug. 21. They are part of the new Palmer Park Tennis Academy (PPTA) 10 & Under Jr. Development Program presented by People forPalmer Park( PFPP) through a grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and private donors.Bringing the program to the park was the brainchild of PFPP Board Member Leonora King who also assists with instruction. “I want to expose our inner-city kids to tennis, get them outdoors, off the computers and playing sports like we used to. Kids can’t throw balls and lack coordination because sports programs are limited, if they even exist anymore,” said King.The children, aged 5 -10, are learning the basic skills of tennis and movement and were selected through recommendations and an email blast to the PFPP mailing list. Parents completed an application, paid a $10 processing fee and were selected on a first come, first served basis. Tennis shoes are the only requirement. Rackets, balls and all other equipment costs are covered by the USTA and private donors.The USTA modeled this new program after a similar one in Spain where a standard sized court is re-configured into 6 smaller courts to accommodate play for 12 children. The program uses instruction without a net to enable greater continuation of play because the likelihood of a ball hitting the net and interrupting play is removed. Children learn the game faster because of the smaller courts and as a result are able to play in tournaments sooner. The USTA 10 and under program encourages tournament play and will sponsor children that qualify.
“10 and Under Tennis follows the same logic as other youth sports like baseball or soccer, which use kid-sized courts and kid-sized equipment,“ according to the United States Tennis Association website. “Now with 10 and Under Tennis, balls bounce lower, don’t move as fast through the air and are easier to hit. Kids tennis racquets are sized for small hands and courts are smaller and easier to cover. By using this format, the benefits are immediate and within a short time kids are rallying, playing, and excited to keep playing. That means kids will have more fun and less frustration. They’re playing real tennis and having real fun—and that’s what is most important.”
King started playing tennis after getting knocked by one of the neighborhood boys playing street football. “I saw Billie Jean King play Bobby Riggs and I thought that was cool.” said King, who also serves on the PFPP Fundraising and Recreation Committees. Her natural affinity for racket sports like badminton and table tennis began as a child playing with the paddle with the attached string and ball for hours on end. She attended Mumford High School, which had the best young tennis players around at the time, became enchanted with the game and learned it very quickly. She became a member of the girls team and started going to Palmer because she’d heard that was where the good players went.Later, King became the first African American tennis player at Western Michigan University, where she played doubles and singles. She added, “You can go anywhere in the world and even if you don’t speak the language, if there’s a tennis court, you can play. It’s healthy for you and it’s a lifelong sport, a world class sport. To me, it is the best game.”Melvin Foreman of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is the head instructor providing lessons every Monday evening from 6–7pm. Foreman has taught and coached tennis at the Coleman Young Community Center, offered private lessons and run tennis workshops for physical education teachers. He’s worked for the Detroit Recreation Department on junior and adult team tennis programs.The Academy is currently seeking a second grant for an indoor program. The tennis courts are located on the Woodward side of the Park just north of McNichols. Plans are underway to restore the courts in 2014.People for Palmer Park is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation, reinvention, and revitalization of Palmer Park, for the good of all. Palmer Park is comprised of 296 acres of lawns and historic woodlands, a public golf course, hiking and biking trails, Lake Frances, a historic log cabin, and more. Located between 6 and 7 Mile Roads and west of Woodward Avenue in Detroit, it has been a treasured nature park and recreation site for more than 100 years.PPTA CONTACT: Leonora King: (313) 685-1972
Head Instructor: Melvin Foreman • Assistant Instructors: Leonora King