The key to enjoying anything is to first find a way of loving what it is you are doing.
Andrew Bates, Supervisor and Head Tennis Pro at Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort, began playing the game at five years old. He said that his father used to play with a group of very competitive guys in Cambridge and introduced him to the game. He said the biggest change in his own game has been consistency; he has learned to set up and finish his points without trying to rush the shot. He says that you first love the game before you begin to play competitively.
“If you don’t practise and play the game, you will end up giving it up before you even have the chance to get better. You should learn to love it before you throw yourself into it,”
Chicopee offers young players the chance
to grow into the game, by offering full and half days of Tennis training. Bates said that at Chicopee, they offer fun activities as well as the chance to play one-on-one games.
“We have kind of a multilayer training offer here. We start with fun activities. We have a ball machine and targets, and if players feel like they are enjoying the experience they can sign up for either group or private lessons.”
If players want to continue after they take the lessons, Chicopee also has something known as a “Junior Tennis Academy,” which meets for three hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays and features one hour of cardio training and two hours of on-court workouts.
Bates said that the biggest draw for Chicopee at the moment is that there is a ratio of three students to each coach,
allowing more time to practise and helping players with their individual skills. Bates said the toughest challenge when training a young player is trying to give them many different shots to add to the repertoires such as a lob and volley.
Bates goes on to describe Chicopee as a “goldmine” as well as saying that Chicopee has five true clay-surfaced courts, and that everyone at Chicopee working within the Tennis program hopes the Academy can grow significantly come July.
By Kenneth Belliveau