Palmetto Bay’s Coral Reef Park Tennis Center had a good turnout for its “Tennis Play Day” on Friday, Sept. 7, which was geared toward youngsters, and also for its “U.S. Open Doubles” event for adults on Saturday, Sept. 8. Both were free events at the center.
USPTA-PTR professional Lee Pettis and Kara Borromeo, who run the tennis program at the center, were pleased by the response.
“We had over 60 kids registered for the ‘Play Day’ program, and for Saturday we had 24 signed up, and that’s a full draw for that event,” Borromeo said. “Most of the kids are already enrolled in our programs, but there were 10 or 15 new kids that are interested in playing and came out for the event.”
The Tennis Play Day, for ages 6 to 17,The Tennis Play Day, for ages 6 to 17, ran from 6 to 8 p.m. and offered low-pressure competitive and interactive games on the court by organized skill level, rotating in short continuous matches.
“Our main goal in this is for the kids to have fun,” Pettis said. “We find that if the programs aren’t fun for them, if they aren’t enjoying it, they lose interest in the sport. We’re trying to keep this more of an introduction, starting the learning process, showing them how to do forehands, backhands and serves. As the kids come in we separate them, grouped by ages, and put them on the appropriate court.” Wayne Silvestro, the Parks and Recreation supervisor for Coral Reef Park, said that he thinks the success of the event and the tennis program in general can be credited to the talented professionals running it. “The good thing about this is that Lee and Kara have very good reputations teaching the kids, and their names alone bring in a lot of people and, as Lee mentioned, the whole point is for the kids to have fun, to learn the basics and get people back interested in tennis,” Silvestro said.
“Having these special events really brings the community to the park and gets them playing tennis, which is the whole point.” He said. “This is all in conjunction with the USTA [United States Tennis Association]. We are a ‘Play City USA’ and this ties in with where we’re going with our parks.”
The following night, the U.S. Open Doubles event for adults actively participating in local teams and/or tournaments ran from 4 to 6:30 p.m. for playing doubles, then after 6:30 there were refreshments and food served, provided by area sponsor Baguette Box. After that awards for first and second place were presented.
“What’s great about this whole program with Lee and Kara is that it starts the kids on a smaller court so that they have more success than failure when they play.” Silvestro said. “We’re getting a very good turnout with this program.”
Coral Reef Park Tennis Center is located at 7895 SW 152 St. in Palmetto Bay. The fall program, running through December, features lessons for a variety of age levels, beginning, intermediate and advanced, for children and adults, all following the USTA teaching format to challenge tennis players while keeping it fun. This includes training for team tennis and tournaments. Private lessons also are available.