What makes tennis such a great sport is that it's something you can play for a lifetime. Once the court gets too big for you, you can always take up pickleball.
And the best way to teach them is to get them while they're young.
Tennis coach Bob Nelson knows this, and that's why he started a "Youth Movement" tennis program, which is designed to get kids off the couch and outside running around in the fresh air.
While the program, sponsored by the Lee County Community Tennis Association and Lee County Parks and Rec, is geared for children 10 and under, many are older and are even playing for high school teams, Nelson said.
Nelson tries to get new blood into the program several times a year for a program that's been taking shape at Clubtennis Junior Academy at Donaldson Park the last 15 years.
"We get those flyers into the schools to get those kids who are between the ages of 4 and 15 in the fall, spring and winter," Nelson said.
Nelson started the program in 2002 when the Lee County Community Tennis Association was looking for instructors. Over the years, it has grown, with a steady influx of new students coming in to learn the game.
And the best part is that new students can come at any time and sign up for a six-week session for $78. The classes are year round, even in the summer.
"Some of the kids come every week, others come for a while, stop to play other sports, then return. We run the classes in a six-week session, but after that they re-up for another six and we go from there," Nelson said.
The new players started this week, but if you call in a week or two, you're not going to get shut out or have to wait until new classes. It takes a while to get good.
"We're not just covering one thing one week or if you come in three weeks later, you'll miss things," Nelson said. "Kids will be beginners for about a year, so unless he progresses quickly, he or she will work with the beginners until they can advance to another level."
Many of the full-timers are playing year-round, once or twice a week and even playing for their junior high or high school teams, Nelson said.
Tennis is a great sport because it teaches skills athletes can use in other sports, such as footwork and hand-eye coordination, Nelson said.
"Most important, it's a sport kids can play moat of their lives," Nelson said.
The beginner 10 and under sessions are Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For more information, call Nelson at 281-0126 or email to CoachBobNelson@comcast.net