Serving up tennis in school

June 1, 2009 3:52:32 PM PDT
Many schools are embracing after-school programs that can help kids learn teamwork and get a good workout at the same time. And some districts in New York City are putting rackets in kids' hands and letting them loose to play tennis on school grounds. At Our World Charter School in Astoria, it doesn't take much for the students at to get excited about the game.

"I really like it, 'cause you get to be active and have fun at the same time," said student Khalid Ali.

Tennis is part of the after-school program. But everything from homework sessions to arts and crafts, are run by the Junior Tennis League.

"We use tennis as a means to get kids involved in the educational process. You know, what they do is, you learn concentration, you learn teamwork, you learn individualism," said Gary Davis, League president. .

"You don't have to think about winning too much; it's just about having a good game and having fun with your friends," said student Neonee Diouf.

There are several tennis courts at some schools with programs run by the junior tennis league, but at Our World Charter School, there is only one net and this backyard area of the school is at almost a 45-degree angle. But those limitations don't dampen the kids' enthusiasm. .

In fact, officials say students from the school who have now graduated won a league championship last year. Current students see other benefits of playing the game. .

"I think in school, concentration has helped me because of tennis, tennis is fun to play," said student Tyler Blake.

Classmate Eman Eltobgy agrees.

"You get to play with your friends, you get to practice and you never know, maybe you'll really like the sport and in the future, you'll play it," said Eman. .

For some players, playing tennis is strictly hit and miss. But Tennis League officials hope the skills children develop will bring them a lifetime of enjoyment. .

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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