Have a ball — regulation style or kid-friendly foam — at a free Tennis
Block Party on Saturday.
The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the city's Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex.
Designed to showcase local programs and introduce novices to the game, the block party — one of many nationwide this month — will offer free instruction, games and product giveaways on 15 courts at the complex. The parties celebrate the United States Tennis Association's designation of May as National Tennis Month.
Event organizers expect it to be a hit.
"It's a great activity for all ages and skill levels," said Judy Foster, executive director of the nonprofit Suncoast Tennis Foundation. "Whether people are new to the sport or haven't played since their college days, we want to help them get back into the game."
The foundation is collaborating with the city of Clearwater, local teaching professionals and Advantage Yours Tennis to throw the party. No registration or equipment are required.
Highlights include QuickStart tennis instruction, cardio workouts, junior clinics and adult skill level assessments. Children and teens can hit balls for prizes, and adults can nab manufacturer giveaways as they test the newest racquets and
QuickStart — consumers.quickstarttennis.com online — is a new format for teaching children 10 and younger. It uses smaller courts and racquets, lower nets, soft foam or low-compression balls, and a simpler scoring system.
"It's less intimidating for the children," Foster said. "Within a matter of minutes you have them hitting the ball. They play to learn rather than learn to play."
Two cardio tennis classes will begin at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. in the stadium court. With dance music pumping in the background, participants will engage in a high-energy workout to target muscles used in the game.
A junior tennis clinic will be offered continuously for those 16 and younger.
Adults and experienced youth will have an opportunity to play in an informal round-robin to receive a National Tennis Rating Program level assessment.
"The pros will watch players and advise them where they should be if they want to play in a league," Foster said.
And there will be plenty of information for those who want to find out more about area programs
"Tennis is a really wonderful lifelong sport that gives you an amazing total body workout," said Foster, who at age 63 plays five or six times a week. "I have an 82-year-old teammate who plays in several competitive tennis leagues. She's in terrific shape and at the top of