With several children close in age, I struggled with finding them an extracurricular activity that did not consume a lot of time or gas. Recently, the US Tennis Association (USTA) started a special program for children under the age of 10 to teach them the basics in an easy environment and get them excited about tennis.
Montgomery County offers an extensive tennis program for kids. I enrolled my 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter in a 6-week session at Montgomery County’s Wheaton Indoor Tennis.
The lessons lasted one hour and racquets could be borrowed. Class sizes are kept small and there were no more than 6 children in my younger son’s class and 8 children in my daughter’s class. I was impressed with the instructors. They clearly had experience teaching children and geared the activities and expectations accordingly.
The Wheaton Indoor facility has six courts with central air and heating. There is a very comfortable waiting room with a television for parents. Parents are also welcome to sit on the benches along the edges of the courts. Our session just ended but we look forward to continuing lessons. Please see www.ParkPASS.org for a complete listing of tennis lessons.
Besides lessons and summer camps, Wheaton Indoor Tennis hosts Tennis Play Days about one Saturday afternoon a month (see website for schedule). Tennis Play Days are geared for children from 4 to 8-years-old with little or no experience. They cost $8.00 per child and last two hours. Drinks and snacks are provided mid-way through the session and racquets can be borrowed. There is a limit of 30 children and spots fill-up quickly.
Before the action began, the Director of the Wheaton Indoor Tennis facility asked by a show of hands if anyone had played tennis or held a racquet. The kids started with a warm-up consisting of several fun and easy obstacle courses. Then, children were divided into two age groups for more challenging skill exercises such as rolling a tennis ball with their racquet to the net and bouncing a ball on their racquets. Then, the kids were broken down into even smaller groups of 6 to 8 children and did court activities similar to what my kids learned during their lessons including forehand, backhand and self toss and catch.
On the day we attended, there were about 25 kids mostly 5 through 8-years-old. I have to give kudos to the 4 instructors and 2 teen tennis player volunteers for being able to assess the skill levels of a large group of kids and tailor the activities to those levels.
Once everyone was checked-in, the staff kept the kids moving all the way until the end. They constantly rotated through providing direction as needed. Tennis Play Day at Wheaton Indoor Tennis was well organized and the staff were genuinely interested in getting kids excited about tennis.
Parents can stay the entire time or return before the end. Keep in mind that there is not a lot of seating on the edges of the courts or in the lobby. I stood almost the entire time but kept myself busy by helping to pick up tennis balls.
Tennis Play Day at Wheaton Indoor Tennis is an inexpensive opportunity to expose your child to tennis or fine tune some skills of a novice player.
Good to Know
- Wheaton Indoor Tennis facility is large and sounds can get lost. If your child has difficulty hearing, this might be a challenging environment. I suggest alerting your instructor for lessons or for Tennis Play Day, contact the Director of the facility.
- To see a complete list of classes and register, visit www.ParkPASS.org. Registration can also be done in person at Wheaton Indoor Tennis.
- Tennis racquets are available to borrow during lessons and on Tennis Play Days.
- Spot court time is available; visit www.ParkPASS.org (click on the “Rental Info & Booking” tab up top) to check availability. Seasonal court time is also available.
- Professional on-site racquet restringing and re-gripping is available on-site.