by guest blogger, Riz Soulliard, director of tennis and Varsity Girls’ and Boys’ head coach

This summer our tennis courts were very busy with players as young as four and as old as 60. That’s the beauty in this lifetime sport… you don’t have to be competing in the U.S. Open to play tennis! This game is “open” to all ages!  Our director of tennis and Varsity Girls’ and Boys’ head coach, Riz Soulliard, can never get enough of tennis, and I asked her to share some of her summer experiences. – Jeane Serino

Those of you who know me well probably already know that my happiness scale is at a 10 when I’m on a tennis courts, especially when I’m teaching young children.  This summer I had a great group of Harrisburg Academy kids who came out to learn this wonderful sport.

I had the pleasure of teaching an Academy four-year-old student, and the first time he came out for his lesson, he said “I love tennis and I know EVERYTHING about tennis.” Answering my follow up questions, he said, “No, I have not taken any lessons before and I have not watched it on TV, but I have THINKED about it.”

I have written down all of these adorable snippets of conversations so that years from now I can sit in my rocking chair and relive them. I am truly blessed to have these precious munchkins in my life.

While there are so many moments like this, and the youngsters are often easily distracted by bugs and dragon flies, it is so rewarding to see the joy in their eyes when they go from being unable to balance the ball on their racquets, to hitting the ball over the net for the first time. It is cliché to say that all journeys start with a single step but it is in fact, true. Since tennis is a lifetime sport, I consider myself very lucky to get to see so many journeys begin this way.

Apart from the obvious physical benefits of tennis, there are so many positive psychological and mental skills that are learned as well.  Work ethic, discipline, patience, responsibility, and learning to win graciously while losing with honor, are just a few of the intangibles gained through playing tennis.

Now that we have ‘thinked’ about it, let’s go out and play!