John and Louise Downey spent the summer shrinking the tennis court. That way, they can teach the younger kids, the ones that can't quite see over the net yet.
"These camps were used to reinforce the Quick Start method of teaching," Louise said. "The younger kids shouldn't be playing on a regular size court with a regular size racket and regular size net. The equipment is better for the little-sized bodies."
The Downeys run Ace Performance Tennis and also are the sanctioned tennis pros at Brooksville Golf and Country Club, where the camps were run. Pretty much any youth tennis in Hernando County is run by the Downeys, even pairing with i9 Sports to offer more tennis.
The Downeys, with camps for kids ages 5-15, lower the nets for the younger ones. The kids get foam, pressureless balls that don't bounce as high. John, however, takes on the older campers and readies them for tryouts for their middle or high school teams.
"It actually lets them play (tennis)," Louise said. "By the end of camp, they will play competitive tennis, they'll play like a better player and do everything from an overhand serve and rally."
The Downeys take the beginners and intermediate players and help them refine their skills to be more consistent. It's a way to sharpen their skills as the season gets closer.
"January (tryouts) can come fast at schools," Louise said.
September will be here even quicker, and that's when the Downeys will host the USTA Junior Team tennis programs starting Sept. 1 at Nature Coast from 6 to 8 p.m. There, kids play in tournaments and other local event.
"We want to improve all levels to they can play a better game," Louise said. "More than likely they're going to play somewhere else, too. We want them just to play well wherever that is."
For more information on local tennis, contact the Downeys at (352) 666-0658.