RVC Tennis: Fun for the Whole Family

“Pino and I had played tennis regularly on the Hampstead Heath when we lived in London, but thereafter our tennis took a backseat to our professional commitments, building our family, skiing and cycling. In 2010, after we had settled in the Upper Valley, our son started playing tennis at the RVC summer tennis camp. And, as Coach Dave said, ‘The kid is a natural.’ He really took to the sport quickly.

Soon, with coaching from Dave Bailey, Tim Kealy, and Josh Holt, Gianluca’s tennis skills kept improving, and he was developing a genuine love for the sport while having fun on the courts. In 2012, he got to join the Invite Group with Coaches Dave, Tim and Ben Thompson, and he has enjoyed that group for two years now.

In fact, last summer Gianluca’s favorite camp was the kids tennis camp at RVC. Playing tennis, swimming and rock climbing with friends – what’s not to like in that repertoire for a ten year-old active boy? He absolutely loves it.

Gianluca’s favorite tennis drills are ‘rip your face off’ and ‘around the world.’ He says the coaches are energetic, fun and encouraging, and he likes Ben’s jokes. He has developed friendships with other boys in the Invite group, and several of them get together outside of tennis now, too.

Last spring when my husband and I were playing tennis with Gianluca on the weekend, we realized his tennis skills were really getting strong, especially his forehand. Pino and I thought, ‘If we are going to be able to keep up with our son’s tennis, we better get back to the sport.’ So last summer we enrolled in the RVC’s adult evening tennis clinic, where we played at Huntley Meadows with Tim instructing us.

Tim’s love of the sport really shines when he is coaching. He knows just the right tweak that is needed to improve your forehand or volley, and he uses easy-to-remember tips, enabling you to keep those in the front of your mind while playing. With his precision coaching, we were playing well again in no time. Having a strong and personable coach like Tim helped us jump right back into the sport.

We had so much fun in the adult summer clinic that we decided to continue with the adult tennis clinic this fall, enjoying our weekly tennis ‘date night.’ Our group is energetic and vivacious, so much that we often forget it is a good workout.

Josh, Dave and Ben come up with focused, skill-improving drills that improve our play, and round robin matches or games like Olympic Tennis — that often get competitive among our new tennis friends. Josh’s infectious laugh keeps it lighthearted, even when he is reminding you of the volley drill we did earlier and encouraging you to bring those skills to the match play.

When we play matches, the group’s competitiveness gets stoked in a sociable way. And, especially during match play, Dave’s personable, top-notch coaching keeps you focused on improving your game. Last week, I was partners with Ben in a doubles round robin, and his coaching me on doubles strategy really improved my game — I stayed at the net and won several points as a result.

Josh has instructed Billie on her backhand and serves during a few private lessons, and his ability to hone in on key aspects like racket position and consistent follow-through have helped her improve her game. The adult tennis clinic is a great night out on many levels. We look forward to doing it again in January.

Gianluca enjoys many sports (alpine skiing, competitive swimming, soccer), but in his words, ‘tennis is so much fun’ that it is fast becoming his favorite sport, in large part due to the coaching staff and kids’ programs at RVC.

It’s wonderful to share the enjoyment of playing tennis together as a family; we all benefit by getting out on the court, exercising, competing, and feeling refreshed after a good workout.

We are thankful that the RVC tennis coaches are so dedicated and, in Gianluca’s words, ‘energetic and fun.’” The Audia’s

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