My first job was when I was 15 years old. My mom signed me up for a week of tennis camp at the club I grew up playing at since I was ten. A few days before the camp started I got a call from the head tennis pro and he told me that no other kid there would be near my skill level and offered me a job to teach instead. Since then, I have been teaching tennis camps as a summer job every year until I graduated college. During those summers, I bounced around different clubs dealing with a wide range of coaches, students, and tennis camps.
Being the thoughtful and considerate person that I am, I figured I will share information about summer camps, things to look for, what to avoid, and how to get the most out of a tennis camp for your child. Cost, hours of camp, lunch breaks, water breaks, and other typical concerns a parent should have before sending the child are all good standard questions that parents should ask regardless of what sort of camp their sending their child to during the summer.
Who are the other kids that are signed up? Ask about the other kids that are signed up, how old are they, skill level, anything that comes to mind where you think your kid would have a good chance of mingling well. Having fun is the most important thing for a kid to experience at a camp.
What is the pro to kid ratio? The less kids on the court with a pro correlates to more focused instruction for the kids. I have taught at camps where there were only 2 kids on the court, and in other cases I had 9 kids on the court. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have more than 5 kids on a court with a pro since it would allow for more games which the kids will enjoy, but it does take away from the individual instruction that a kid should receive to work on their technique and improve their tennis game.
Do you have quickstart tennis balls? Unless your kid has been playing tennis for over a year and uses an adult size racket then this question shouldn’t matter. Quickstart tennis is a great way to get younger kids to play tennis and enjoy it. There are 3 types of quickstart balls, red, orange, and green. The red ones are the biggest and easiest to hit. Good for 4-6 year olds. The orange balls have a faster pace to them, but are still easy to hit. These balls are typically used for 6-8 year olds just starting out. Then the green tennis balls are most similar to real tennis balls, but are less dense making them easier to hit the ball well and still give a real tennis feel.
Who are the instructors, what sort of experience do they have, are they certified? As you read before, I started out with no experience and no certification. I was fortunate though to have good instructors (who were certified) around to help me along as I first started teaching. It is common to have an instructor or two who are in high school or college with little experience and no certification.