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April 3, 2020
By David Petersen, ICT Junior Development Coach

Arthur and William are the best of friends. They live near each other and attend the same school in South Minneapolis. Together, they are learning to play tennis at InnerCity Tennis. Though they’re just beginning, Arthur and William love tennis and everything about it. They are 4 years old.

Already in their third session of Red Rockets,1 Arthur and William are always full of enthusiasm for warm-ups. High-knees, butt kickers, and cherry pickers have never been undertaken with such joy and vigor! One of their favorite skill development games is ‘Caterpillar,’ in which they line up to face an incoming tennis ball. As the rolling ball approaches to the left or right, they use their elite side-shuffling skills to ensure the ball passes safely between their legs. Should a ball hit their feet  and it rarely does  they must go to the end of the line. But this is Arthur and William we are talking about; they are back to the front of the line before you can say “second serve”!

When it is time to pick up their rackets and rally, Arthur and William’s excitement regularly turns the heads of the High Performance players on the adjacent court. While they may be using a pair of cones set eight feet apart as their net, and the ball is rolled back and forth, their spirited chants of ‘Keep it moving! Keep it moving!’ heighten the intensity of the practice.

Some may say that a coach’s job is to challenge their students to reach for greatness. However, on Wednesdays at 4 pm, I can barely keep up. The celebration Arthur and William create at tennis each day is so inspiring, and is always a reminder of how much I love the game myself. I strive to be a better coach because of them, and can’t wait to see them back on the courts!

1 Red Rockets is designed for youth ages 4-6 and 7-8 with little or no tennis experience. Instructors use ICT’s patented Kidspeed® learning tools and stations to teach players the ABC’s (agility, balance, and coordination) of athletic skill and tennis development. To ensure early fun and success, kid-friendly foam (6U) and felt (8U) balls with shorter rackets are used on appropriately scaled 36-foot courts.
InnerCity Tennis is proud to be a 4-star chapter of the USTA Foundation’s NJTL network, which includes more than 250 nonprofit youth development organizations that offer free or low-cost tennis and education programming each year.
InnerCity Tennis is a 501c3 non-profit. If you would like to make a tax-deductible gift in support of our youth programming, please visit
Copyright © 2020 InnerCity Tennis, All rights reserved.

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