Since 2011, Fernie Tennis Coaching (FTC) has been teaching fall tennis programs that run from September to November. The programs are held at Fernie’s outdoor courts in James White Park and can be weather dependant, although kids programs operate under most conditions.
The fall camps operate a little differently than summer camps because kids camps work around the school schedule.
“The fall program offers after school classes, one hour a week for eight weeks and we divide the kids up by age,” said tennis coach Charlotte Willis. “We also run an adult program: improvers and intermediate on Friday morning, and a Wednesday evening all levels class. Naturally the summer season is busier as we have the locals and tourists. Once school starts it is generally only locals, though we are building an excellent base of local players.”
The goal of the fall programming is to extend the tennis season, according to Willis.
“Ideally I would love the kids playing all year round, however we all love the winter and the variety of sports it brings. We also take advantage of a quieter season. We get better instructor-to-pupil ratios and a chance to get some great quality coaching in. The summer camps for the kids are about lots of hitting and gaining match experience and of course, fun and making friends,” she said.
The age groups are split into four categories. The three to four-year-olds focus on a variety of games that teach balance and coordination both with and without a racquet.
The five to seven-year-old group teaches basic techniques through fun matches while increasing coordination.
The eight to ten age group will continue technique practice and start to introduce tactics through fun matches. The last age group for the kids’ camps is 10 and over, where players will focus on shot structure, movement, and tactics through technical sessions and match play.
The FTC offers more than just kid’s camps. On Sept. 10 the club will be hosting the Rogers Rookie Tour from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“This is our only junior sanctioned tournament. Kids get free tennis BC membership, which means they get a ranking and they then have access to lots of other events on the Tennis Canada website. There are also goody bags for all the kids, which have very generously been donated by Canadian Tire. We continue running the junior social through the fall, where we are introducing a match playing league. That will be Mondays at 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Willis. “There is also the Mixed Madness 2016, an adult doubles tournament, Sept. 17th and 18th. The adult social on Monday night from 5 p.m. will also be continuing.”
According to Willis, this year has been a busy, record breaking one for the club and her coaching programs.
“We have just hit a new record of 135 junior members. In previous years we have hit 110 juniors max. This is great news for funding school programs for next year and more free events for the kids. Most camps have been full this summer and adult membership was also up,” she said. “Aside from more kids playing, the standard has improved and the kids are ready for full-length matches and are looking for more tournaments. Next year may bring us our first junior tournament that runs over a weekend instead of just one day. We have also had the biggest sponsorship year, with lots of local businesses making these events so good.”
As of Sept. 4 there were no full fall camps.
Despite this, Willis aims to get more kids playing the game.
“Registration does not close. Adult classes are drop in, there are punch cards available,” she said. “Kids can sign up for as many classes as they like. I quite often have kids try for one lesson and see if they like it. Most sign up for the full course, but again drop in is available and welcome.”
For more information on tennis in Fernie, visit Tennisfernie.com.