SPRING HILL — There is no time off for the holidays for Pasco's young tennis talent. Several players are training during their winter break at Quail Ridge Country Club.
The players are high school age and younger, training under the guidance of United States Tennis Association professional Brent Wellman, a coach of players of all ages who is dedicated to helping youngsters get better.
"This is a great time for kids to put away their toys and junk food and make their game better," Wellman said. "They've got some free time and this is a great fun-filled activity for kids to get involved in."
The intent of Wellman's camps are not solely fun, however. The main purpose is to help players polish their skills.
"I want kids to have a smile on their face because they're getting better," Wellman said. "I'm not interested in just giving them a good time. I look at every player and think of how good they can be."
The program is not age specific. Wellman approaches teaching younger kids in the same way he would older kids.
"There are no different strokes for little folks," Wellman said. "The skills they learn here are like riding a bike and it's something they can take with them and use as they play the game into their later ages. Tennis isn't like other sports — you can play it until you're 90, so these are really life lessons."
The camp teaches kids to polish all of their skills including footwork, balance, return shots, serves and keeping score themselves, something all players in USTA junior tournaments have to do.
The players see the camp as a chance to get better while they have some down time.
"Coach Brent has taught me everything over the last two years," 16-year old River Ridge High tennis player Sean Perry said. "During the holidays, I've got nothing to do, so rather than stay at home and be lazy, I'd rather come out here and have him work with me."
River Ridge's Tijana Subotic, 15, sees it as a way continue her fitness training and have another coach help her improve her game.
"It's good because the drills work your muscles," Subotic said. "He (Wellman) tells you everything you're doing wrong. Hopefully training here will help me advance. This can help my endurance as well as the mental aspect of the game."
The camp is not just for experienced tennis players although that is mostly who comes.
Wellman says it's for anyone who wants to play and he encourages parents to get their kids involved.
"It's good to start them young," Wellman said. "If I could tell parents one thing, it's that they'll see that we pay personal attention to the details of teaching them better skills in a fun-filled and healthy atmosphere."
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