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Sumner Tennis Club

Week 11 Recap from Sumner

Week 11 Recap from Sumner

We have a new tennis court (but its appearance is a surprise, hence the photo in this post)!

On Saturday, our group marked the important occasion by playing full court tennis against each other, which was a first at Sumner. We had four students and two volunteers (great job, Mike and Adam!) who paired up to play Champion of the Court for almost an hour. That was the first time our entire group played points against each other at Sumner, given the varying levels of abilities and ages.

Two of our youngest players experienced dramatic improvement over the course of one hour. Both girls, Nilda and Annahlis, bravely stepped up to play points with older players. Their confidence grew each time they made contact with the ball and they both surprised their opponents by hitting several winners.

We also practiced giving each other positive support when a player lost interest, felt discouraged or intimidated. All four Sumner students who participated on Saturday walked off the court with renewed confidence and enjoyment for the game.

It was an excellent day to mark an important moment for Sumner Tennis Club.

Week 6 Recap from Sumner

Week 6 Recap from Sumner

Sumner was full of milestones and fun on Saturday, July 8.

Because of the heat, we had activities in the shade to rehydrate, refuel, and create. Some students made their own breeze in between tennis activities by skating around the court on their scooter and snake board. Others got together and jumped with a long rope while our Sumner artistic crew created a tennis racquet art exhibit with sidewalk chalk .Shonda led the group in a timely conversation about healthy and peaceful ways to handle bullying. 

Our focus this week was learning about the importance of the “first step” in tennis. We warmed up with the "caterpillar" game to practice our split step and then we progressed to eye foot coordination games by rolling balls between students’ legs with their backs turned. As soon as they saw the ball rolling (or thrown over their head!), they sprinted to see how quickly they could catch up to grab it.

Every week, Sumner’s footwork skills get better and better because students are recognizing first-hand how much better they play when they stay on their toes and react quickly to the ball.

Our rallies are also getting longer! Mike’s court reached 34 hits in a row and Lauren’s court reached 18 in a row. Adam was instrumental in maintaining students' enthusiasm and focus during the games and coaching great volley technique.

All of our volunteers are bringing students’ tennis to new levels each week and it’s an honor to be a part of the development at Sumner tennis club!

Week 12 Recap from Sumner

Week 12 Recap from Sumner

Sumner students were excited to be back on court after having last class off due to extreme heat.

Class began with the students and volunteers running a few laps around the court and some careful stretching. Afterwards, the students were divided into two groups based on skill level and age. 

The stations of the week were Fitness and Rallying. At Fitness, the kids jump roped, practiced sit-ups and push-ups, and competed in a ladder challenge. The Rallying station took a "beat the pro" format; the children played out points against Mike, a volunteer.

In the off-court session, the students completed individual surveys about grit and resilience to reinforce the concepts and to help the organization's leaders assess their learning.

After off-court, Sumner concluded with their favorite games: Champs and Challengers, followed by Breakout.

Week 4: Recap from Sumner

Week 4: Recap from Sumner

Class this week at Sumner was amazing! We continued practicing backhands after introducing them last week.

Class started out with a quick warmup and stretching with all the volunteers and students. We also played a few quick games of Tennis Freeze Tag. The students had to balance a ball on their racquets while walking around the court. If tagged, they became "frozen" and had to wait for a teammate to unfreeze them. The game would end whenever all the participants were frozen.

Following Freeze Tag, students were divided by age into two groups. Our stations for the week were backhand, fitness, hand-eye, and self-hit forehand. 

During the off-court discussion led by our Educational Coordinator, Meredith, we discussed strength training and cardio training. To better understand strength training, students watched one volunteer, Nick, perform push-ups and another volunteer, Amanda, perform a plank--both in perfect form! While we were done with our discussion, the kids enjoyed Kind Bars as a healthy snack.

Our last activity for the day was Breakout with backhands. The kids did an amazing job with their backhands. Katelynn, one of our youngest Sumner participants, was declared the winner!

We finished the day by gathering together, putting our hands all in, and cheering out, "Sumner!"

Week 16 Recap: Jamboree!

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Week 16 Recap: Jamboree!

Saturday, September 26 marked the grand finale to KCTL's sixth tennis season: The Annual Youth Tennis Tournament & Community Jamboree. What a wonderful day we had!

Jamboree-2015

Jamboree-2015

The courts at Marcy Playground welcomed students, volunteers, parents, and family members with perfect, sunny weather. Upbeat music pumped from the speakers as burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad and fruit were served. It was the perfect community party atmosphere and farewell to summer.

The main event--the tennis tournament--featured dozens of gripping matches, positive sportsmanship, and commendable individual efforts. Regular matches were played on seven mini tennis courts simultaneously, while the Final Rounds for each bracket were held independently at the end of the day.

We're very proud to announce our 2015 Jamboree winners:

10 & Under Bracket

Winner: Julius D., Lafayette Gardens

Runner-Up: Emeka A., Marcy

11 & Over Bracket

Winner: Jonathan D., Marcy

Runner-Up: Jovani A., Marcy

In addition to the tournament bracket trophies, we presented a new award--Player of the Year--to a student who maintained perfect attendance this season and who always tried his best. This award went to Jovani A., who was also the 11 & Over Bracket's Runner-Up.

As KCTL President & Founder Michael McCasland reminded us during the Awards Ceremony, there are very few winners in a tennis tournament. Because almost all participants leave the courts as losers, there's no reason for students to get angry at themselves--or at their opponents--because they didn't finish in first place.

Instead, participants are encouraged to look to the winners for inspiration--to mimic their dedication and consistency--in order to learn and grow as tennis players and as individuals.

With this in mind, we're immensely proud of every single one of our students. Congratulations to everyone who played with us this season! We look forward to returning to the courts together in 2016!

You can view all the photos from the 2015 Jamboree on Facebook.

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Week 12 Recap from Sumner

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Week 12 Recap from Sumner

Education was the theme of Sumner's most recent Saturday session, which we carried out with a cumulative review of tennis skills, supplemented by an insightful off-court conversation about the upcoming school year.

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Sumner-Student-2015

Because the season's end is quickly approaching--only three classes to go!--Sumner had the opportunity to practice all of their tennis skills in combination. With any form of education, lessons learned are only valuable with review, summary and real-life application. So we showed the kids how the past three months of tennis instruction can apply to competitive settings. Speaking of which, the students' big day--the Annual Jamboree Youth Tournament--is just around the corner on September 26.

Sumner participated in a series of forehand, backhand and serving drills with targets to reinforce precision. In addition, they combined footwork with groundstrokes to simulate match play. And with the volunteers' introduction of the lob shot, the kids learned a bit about tennis strategy.

The real fun--and inspiration--came with the off-court discussion. The topic of the day was the start of the new school year, which is just a few weeks away in New York City. Each student shared his or her favorite subject and communicated excitement about returning to the classroom. Sumner's enthusiasm for the new school year and the respect for their teachers provided a rewarding affirmation of young people's love for knowledge, potential healthy growth, and expression of positive attitudes.

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#IServeBecause: Deborah Kalloo's Story

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#IServeBecause: Deborah Kalloo's Story

Volunteer Deborah Kalloo has enjoyed an inspirational first summer with Kings County Tennis League. As a teacher and recreational tennis player outside of the Sumner Tennis Club court, she's grateful to have found an opportunity that combines her passions. Deborah enlightens us with her personal account of being a role model for children through the sport of tennis.

How did you learn about KCTL?

I was having coffee in a cafe on Fulton Street, where one of your flyers caught my eye. I registered almost immediately thereafter, completed group training with Meredith, and here I am today.

What motivated you to join our program?

My motivation primarily came from my love of tennis. I was excited by the opportunity to teach tennis, learn about teaching tennis, and to meet people to who also love tennis.

Can you tell us about your prior tennis experience?

I played team tennis in high school, and I was fortunate enough pretty impressive and positive seniors as my coaches and role models. When I came to New York, I took a few lessons at Prospect Park Tennis Center to brush up on my skills. I've since upgraded by approach to tennis.

How has your experience working with kids as a teacher informed your role as a volunteer at Sumner?

As a high school Math and Computer Science teacher, I utilize some of the same strategies with the students at Sumner. Specifically, I incorporate the listening and rewards strategies I've developed in the classroom. I also believe that as a teacher it is important to impart values for my students, so I was happy to see that KCTL integrates this aspect into its curriculum. We have the opportunity to teach values like good sportsmanship, environmental responsibility, and taking care of our property.

What has been the best or most inspirational part of volunteering at Sumner?

I love the people: the coaches, the volunteers' spirit, and the kids' drive to keep trying and not give up. Gigi, a seven-year-old student at Sumner said it best at the end of class recently: "Everyone tried their best, so everyone is a winner."

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Week 6 Recap from Sumner

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Week 6 Recap from Sumner

Sumner Tennis Club took break from groundstrokes on Saturday with an introduction to volleys. For some students, this lesson was truly their first instruction in hitting the ball without a bounce, while other, more experienced participants had already mastered the proper volley form. With sunshine and temperatures in the high 80s, Sumner's fifth class of the season was pleasant and productive.

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As usual, class was segmented into various tennis stations, all of which reinforced volley fundamentals. The Targets area helped our students to practice their aim and precision. A Volley Fundamentals station explored the nitty-gritty details of the volley, including proper grip, body positioning and footwork. Tennis Volleyball, the next station, was literally a big hit; the students definitely enjoyed the competition and teamwork of a game that mimics volleyball with tennis racquets. Next up, Volley-Volley Rally required two players' cooperation to volley back and forth without letting the ball hit the ground. Lastly, a fitness station served to teach the fast and agile footwork required in playing the net.

The off-court discussion topic was Family and Personal Values. Participants received a worksheet that listed commonly embraced values--including Getting Good Grades, Being Accepted by My Friends, Getting Along with Parents & Family, Being Good at Sports, Being Artistic and Creative, and Treating My Body with Respect--to facilitate the conversation. The students were encouraged to tell us which individuals in their lives are most influential, to illustrate how we come to adopt values from those around us. Special emphasis was placed on the fact that we often acquire values from persons other than family members, including friends, teachers and coaches. Additionally, the kids were called upon to share which values are most important to them personally, and to explain what they'd like to work on improving this summer.

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Week 4 Recap

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Week 4 Recap

Well, our fourth week was going to be an extension of our lesson on forehands, but that turned out to be a bust, thanks to some ugly weather here in Brooklyn Saturday afternoon. We hate when that happens!

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In the meantime, keep up with the latest from KCTL's weekly sessions on our Facebook page or our Instagram account. We've been sharing a lot of photos of our students in action.

Fingers crossed we have clearer skies for our next class, Saturday, June 27.

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Off-Court Talk: Fitness & Nutrition

This week for our off-court talk, we focused on Fitness & Nutrition. We discussed what are healthy foods, and what is consider not healthy for them. We also talked about how many meals per day we should eat each, and how the size of the portions we eat also matters in maintaining good health. We talked about the effects drinking plenty of water verses drinking countless cans of soda or sugary juices, and how water with every meal helps their complexion and helps cleanse their body. We discussed hydration verses dehydration and the effects of each. At Tompkins, we provided bananas and carrots to the students as part of the discussion on nutrition--as well as hummus, which many of the students were willing to try!

Regarding the Fitness discussion, we found out that many of our students are very active in one way or another... many mentioned that they exercise with family members and play other sports. This topic was one that the students really enjoyed expressing their views about, so much, that we'll likely revisit it again next week.

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Week 11: A Little Bit of Everything

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Week 11: A Little Bit of Everything

From Tompkins:

Tompkins had a great turn out this week. To warm up we ran relay races and tried out a new obstacle course with jumping jacks, figure eights (for footwork) and ball bounces (for racket control.) We opted to split the kids up into two groups--boys and girls. One group worked on backhands and forehands while the other group worked on proper volley form (punching the ball, stepping towards the net), then they switched. At the end of the day, everyone joined up together and the kids played rounds of King/Queen of the Court against themselves with a volunteer feeding.

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From Marcy:

It was another play date for Marcy this week with Sumner Tennis Club joining them at the Marcy tennis court. The two teams rotated through the five stations per usual. Volleys at Station 1--we focused on emphasizing proper movement and form and kept the pace quick so the kids had to keep moving. Station 2 was a kid-favorite: Beat the Pro where students rally against a volunteer. Station 3 was the obstacle course where kids worked on footwork and general fitness. On the main court (Station 4), students worked on hitting balls with movement--baseline stroke, approach shot, volley with an emphasis on split-step and side steps. Station 5 was the off-court discussion. This week's topic was on nutrition. Read more about the off-court talk in Thursday's post.

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Week 5 Recap: Switching between Forehands & Backhands

From Marcy

Being that Marcy court is under renovation(!) we had to improvise and utilize what readily available space we had. We had 15 students and eight volunteers on Saturday. For this session the main areas of focus was of course the continuation of the forehand. And we added the proper technique and form for hitting the backhand. This session also included one footwork and one agility drill station, and for our younger students of the game, we had various relay races, which they loved!

From Tompkins

Tompkins class had a slow start as their was a block party happening around the corner. But eventually the kids showed up and we broke them into three sections by skill level -- advanced, intermediate and beginners. The advanced students worked on agility, footwork and improving their forehand and backhand techniques. The intermediate students hit a ton of forehands and backhands, with a special focus of keeping their feet moving. The younger kids played a few different games and worked on hand-eye coordination.

From Sumner

This week we continued practicing the forehand technique but the backhand technique was the primary focus. The student did relays, beat the pro and a fun game of pacman that everyone enjoyed. The off court discussion went over the topic of family and what their value systems are as well as their individual experiences had with family and friends.

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Week 3 Recap: Forehands and Forehands and Forehands

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Week 3 Recap: Forehands and Forehands and Forehands

From Marcy Tennis Club

For this week's class, our site leader Maayan put in place five skills/drills stations, which our students rotated between... this enabled our students to work with all of the coaches/mentors throughout the class time. The stations included: Rallying, Footwork & Movement, Fundamentals, Feeding Balls and last but not least the off-court discussion regarding Manners and Etiquette.

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From Tompkins Tennis Club

This week, we have made slow but meaningful progress with all of our age groups. Our youngest group worked on their forehand strokes, focusing on how to grip the racket, which can be difficult for the little ones. They also began hitting their first few forehands of the season, so it's only up hill from here! The middle age group ran through many forehands, making the goal of this past week to hit as many balls as possible, to reinforce proper form, and to have our students more comfortable with swinging their racket properly. The older kids focused mainly on footwork, and forehand movement drills. Together we are working on moving naturally around the court, and being ready and able to move those feet when we have to.

From Lafayette Gardens Tennis Club

This past weekend at Lafayette Gardens was a blast. I'm sure everyone was postively exhausted in the best way possible by the end of class. Focusing on forehands with such a wide range of levels, class was a nice mix of tennis rotations and an off-court discussions about safety and communication.

From Sumner Tennis Club

This week's class went great. The kids did basic stretches and continued practicing their forehand technique. The off-court discussion expanded last week's conversation on teamwork by focusing in on leadership within a team setting. The kids were all provided a list of four core leadership roles and asked to think about what type of leader they identify with. The kids appeared to have the best time with the Beat the Pro game that we played toward the end of class.

Sumner week 3

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Season Opener & Week 2 Recap

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Season Opener & Week 2 Recap

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Wow. This weekend will be our third class with the kids this season. Time is already flying. The program is off to a tremendous start, and it's only up-hill from here! We had a solid turnout for our first class at each of the sites: Marcy, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Sumner Houses. And we were surprised and excited by the number of new, eager faces that came out at Tompkins and Sumner.

The first class was mostly registration and getting-to-know each other activities, like name games, relay races and some simple tennis games. At Tompkins, we mostly emphasized keeping the kids engaged and having fun. Across all four sites, all the kids took an interest in learning the sport of tennis, even those who had never played before!

The second week's class, we were lucky that the rain held off (mostly) and we had a beautiful day. At Sumner, we started with drills to work on forehand form. Midway through class we had an group discussion about teamwork, which we followed up with teamwork games. Just as the rain was starting we got in a good loud "One, two, three, SUMNER TENNIS CLUB!" Lucky Sumner, we had a great class at Tompkins, also full of forehand work, but the falling rain made us miss out on the end of class cheer! (One of my personal favorite parts of class.) It was great to see that all the kids--new and returning--picked up the forehand surprisingly quickly.

Site coordinator, Gary, talks about the first two weeks of class: "Today was our first class, and need I say that I was very excited....I finally getting the opportunity to put all that I learned during my training, to good use and to finally get to meet our students. Getting to know everyone with the name games we used was a blast, it helped me out that's for sure! The class then proceeded with an introduction the the game/sport of tennis. The students enjoyed the drills as well as the chance to put they learned to use with the various games we played.

"We played another few rounds of name games, which again, was a blessing for me lol. Class started out as usual with our stretching exercises to help limber up the students and to prepare them for today's drills and the activities planned for them. Our first warm up exercise/drill was a gamed called "Centipede". This activity worked on footwork & speed. We then followed up with the the Penny drill and Elbow to the target drill. We proceeded to play a few rounds of a game I like to call "Outfield," where all of our students get to practice what was taught to them... hitting a forehand and working on their footwork. We barely had enough time to get our Marcy Site "Shout Out" before Mother Nature open up and the clouds and rain started pouring down.

Site coordinator, Candice, talks about the season opener: "It's been an extremely exciting time at Lafayette Gardens. Each week the sun's been out and the kids are coming from every direction of the neighborhood, explaining with pride how they participated last year or the year before that. I'm really excited about the season given we've already had an overflow of kids showing up ready to play!"

I think it's safe to say that the volunteers also had a great time getting to meet the kids. We're all looking forward to seeing the kids grow, not only in tennis but the building of their character. See you next week!

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