Tennis fever back in Seymour with big camp turnout


The rain couldn’t keep them away on Monday, the heat couldn’t slow them down on Tuesday and nothing will impede the progress of Seymour’s youth tennis camp being held at the high school this week.

The numbers haven’t been the highest in the past for Seymour’s tennis camp, but that wasn’t the case this year.

The Owls saw a huge turnout this week with more than 80 kids flooding the purple courts between first- and eighth-graders.

“It’s really exciting for the game of tennis,” high school girls tennis head coach Sharon Wood said. “In the past few years, our numbers have declined in our camps, and we’re not sure why, but we think the tennis fever is back in Seymour.”

Wood believes the success the programs are having right now is helping the attention and interest for tennis in Jackson County.

Wood’s girls team is fresh off winning the Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional and advancing to the regional championship match this past spring.

On Tuesday evening, there were four different stations set up for camp, and the campers were separated into four different groups based off the color of their name tag.

The first station was run by Wood, teaching forehand strokes along with the right technique and footwork before hitting the ball.

The second station was run by assistant coach Bob Wood, who was teaching overhead strikes.

The third station was run by boys head coach Brandon Davis, who was teaching some accuracy drills with hula hoops as targets across the other side of the net.

The fourth and final station was run by assistant coach Liz Davis, who had buckets of water for the kids to sit in a circle and play “dribble, dribble, drop,” which is a variation of duck, duck, goose.

Instead of tapping someone on the head, they would tip droplets of water from a cup on someone’s head, dumping the whole cup to signify “drop” and rushing around the circle to get the open seat without getting tagged.

The main objective of the camp throughout the week is working on fundamentals and the major strokes — forehand, backhand, volley and overhead.

Wood said they would start working on some serves later in the week as well as try to teach the kids some terminology.

“What does a split-step mean? What is turn? What does a follow-through mean? What’s inbounds? What’s out of bounds?” Wood said.

In addition to the coaching staff running the stations, they had more than 30 high school volunteers from both the boys and girls team help keep things in order.

“They set a really good example. Their attitude has been good. Their enthusiasm has been good,” Wood said. “They’re really good at pulling kids to the side and offering advice, and the kids love when they join in on the games.”

Each day of the five-day camp is designed to build progress from what was done the day prior. The camp wraps up Friday, and by the time that day comes, Wood wants the kids to know the basics of what was taught throughout the week.

She wants them to know when they say forehand, they know exactly which way to turn and to have the racket in one hand.

“We want them to have the basics and know that when they go out to practice with mom and dad, they know that this is forehand, this is backhand, volley means the ball didn’t touch the ground, and we’re getting there,” she said.

With such a large turnout, Wood hopes it only helps grow the tennis programs in Seymour, whether at the middle school or high school level. The interest in the sport was strong this week, meaning tennis fever was in full force.

“It’s really exciting and so fun to look toward the future that this many kids are excited about the game of tennis,” Wood said.

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