Anyone looking for a sport in the City of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation department menu might consider a serving of tennis.
Deb Beck, city recreation coordinator, said the department has teamed with the North Island Tennis Academy and is able to offer tennis for all ages at regular facilities and neighbourhood tennis courts and it is available year-round.
Gerald Yung, North Island Tennis Academy director, says tennis is good for your health and athleticism.
“I think it captures two areas of fitness which are important,” said Yung. “Some sports focus on your slow twitch versus your fast twitch muscles. Tennis tends to do both. You’ve got to have stamina. Sometimes matches are out in the hot sun for three hours long, plus you need the quickness to be able to move to a moving object that’s going to be hit as hard as 100 miles an hour … obviously the kids have to be able to do both.”
The tennis academy is set up through Westwood Tennis Club and as such, there will be a domed facility available for use during winter months.
“Westwood Tennis Club has been around since the late ’70s,” said Yung. “It’s had an indoor dome that’s set up over four courts and we run, as part of our co-operation with parks and rec in Nanaimo, we run the winter programs on our facility and that’s offered to the juniors and the adults throughout the year and then we also have our own programs.”
For the youngsters, there are different balls to ease their transition, beginning with a bigger, softer red ball.
“The next size is an orange ball and the orange ball is a little heavier and bounces a little bit more – again, kids can progress. Then we have the final ball, which [has] a green dot and that ball is the one just before the regulation ball that you would see on TV that all the adults and professionals use and the features of these three balls is they’re lighter and they don’t bounce as high, so when the kids are not at fully grown height and age or strength, they can manage these balls quite nicely,” said Yung.
Good tennis players possess many of the traits that other good athletes have, said Yung, but they must also be good decision makers.
“The only thing that I think that is unique to tennis is you’re all alone,” Yung said. “You’ve got to make your decisions by yourself. There’s no one to help you. Coaching during a match is not allowed. So kids really need to learn how to make their own decisions during the heat of competition.”
For more information, see the City of Nanaimo Parks and Recreation Activity Guide, available at www.nanaimo.ca, under the parks and recreation tab.