The Premier Tennis instructional program has been in Patterson for two years, and it is also taught in Turlock, Newman and Oakdale. Patterson’s sessions draw roughly 30 kids to the tennis court every Tuesday evening to practice tennis techniques and fundamentals.
The program follows the United States Tennis Association’s Quick Start Format. The Quick Start Format is a program that uses a red-orange-green ball color format to teach young children tennis in a progressive and effective manner.
“The barrier to learning is the speed of the ball,” said tennis instructor Bill Weber. “This [red] ball is 75-percent slower than a regular ball. Now a child can look at a ball and make a decision and formulate an opinion and hit the ball back and forth.”
Slowing the game down allows the younger children to actually practice the rhythm of the sport, and they can volley the ball back and forth enriching the child’s learning process.
“After they do the red ball for about a year, maybe two years, depending on their age, they move to the next color ball—that is an orange ball. They play on a slightly larger tennis court, slightly faster ball,” said Weber.
Ultimately the young tennis players progress through the color stages until they are ready to play on a full size court with a normal adult tennis ball. “In a perfect world, by the time they’re 11 to 12 they transition to a normal adult ball,” said Weber.
This progressive curriculum was mandated in 2012 by the International Tennis Federation. All competitions and instructions given to children are encouraged to be done under the red-orange-green format in order to globally standardize the tennis curriculum.
“We are the early adopters in Northern California,” said Weber, who has 30 years experience in tennis and is a Unites States Professional Tennis Association Northern California board member.
The program is highly influenced by the European model of tennis instruction that has been highly successful in enriching their talent pool over the last 20 years.
The USTA is looking to equalize the playing field with the European tennis curriculum. “One of my roles for the USTA is player development, and we are trying to identify young talent as young as six or seven years old,” said Weber. “We bring them through this red-orange-green progression and look at a child that might have some potential.”
The Premier Tennis instructional program will be running all the way through Sept. 9, after which the program will take a break over fall and winter before starting up again next summer. Any interested adults or children can enroll online at apm.activecommunities.com/patterson/home, or can register at the Hammon Senior Center.
Contact Erick Torres at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.>/i>