Hoping to serve up future college stars, UI coaches volley tennis tips to campers

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | JUNE 24, 2009 7:21 AM

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Balls were flying all over the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex as the Iowa women’s tennis coaching staff held the annual summer camp on Tuesday.

When asked if there were any future Hawkeyes on the courts, head coach Daryl Greenan said it was a possibility.

“Some of these kids are young enough now that they have plenty of time to work on their games,” he said, adding some of the campers may go on to be future college players.

The camp began Monday and runs through Friday. Players from ages 9 to 18 were welcome, as were all ability levels. However, only eight players signed up for camp this week, the oldest being 13 years old. Greenan had mixed feelings about the low participation.

“Our numbers are a little low, but we have a nice group,” he said. “I think that because we have two separate groups that are around the same age and around the same level, it’s worked out really well. We are having some pretty good competition when we do play.”

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He had originally planned on having two of his Hawkeye athletes help instruct at the camp, but he decided that he and assistant coach Mira Radu could handle it once it was discovered there would only be eight campers.

The positive aspect about the small number is that it allows for a fair share of individual instruction and attention. The coaches said they are focused on teaching fundamentals in an enjoyable environment, and they believe the campers benefit from the small groups.

“We want them to learn something and get better at every part of their game,” Greenan said. “We go through each stroke and talk about the basics. We do drills, but we try to make it fun by incorporating some games at the same time.”

Greenan and Radu planned some fun for today — they will host a pizza party along with games from 7-9 p.m.

Camper Peter Larson Murry said having fun was the main reason he came to camp in the first place.
“I enjoy playing tennis, and this was just another opportunity for me to play,” he said.

The young camper tied for first in the doubles tournament, which was his favorite part of camp so far. He also has a particular skill he wants to improve during the week.

“I’m trying to step up my serving, because that’s kind of the low part of my game,” Peter said. “I’ve learned a lot about serving just in the last two days, so I think I can get a lot better by the end of camp.”

Greenan is impressed with how well the campers have responded to the staff’s instructions and thinks the participants will continue to thrive throughout the week.

“I think the kids are making progress and, hopefully, having fun,” he said. “It’s going smoothly.”
A second summer camp is scheduled for the week of July 27-31.

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