FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – On Wednesday, the Northern Arizona tennis teams held a clinic for the Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff at the Fieldhouse. Members of both the NAU men's and women's tennis squads conducted the free one-hour clinic for about 20-25 kids between the ages of six and 14 years of age, teaching them the fundamentals behind the game of tennis.
"I think anytime we can teach anyone tennis, it's a great opportunity for us," said director of tennis Kim Bruno. "It's a sport of a lifetime that you can play consistently until you're 80 or 90 years old. If we can show the kids that tennis is just as fun as the mainstream sports like basketball or football and we can get one or two kids hooked, we're making progress. It was a great opportunity for us to do that with the kids yesterday."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is an organization that provides safe places for young people to learn and grow, develop ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals and provide life-enhancing programs by reaching out to those who are most in need of support. The Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff opened its doors this fall at the Cogdill Recreational Center. Steve Conrad, a former NAU track and field student-athlete and alumnus, is the club's executive director.
Over the course of the clinic, Bruno and her players engaged the kids by teaching them basic tennis strokes and grips over the first half-hour of the clinic. The last half-hour consisted of games in which the kids were able to use what they learned with the younger kids playing on one court and the older kids playing on the other court in the Fieldhouse, while the NAU players continued to offer their support and advice.
The clinic was made possible through the cooperative efforts between Conrad and academic coordinator Diana Ulrey, who also oversees the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
"It's valuable experience for our student-athletes to get to know the community they live in and one way to do that is to connect with the kids in the community," Ulrey said. "Supporting local outreach efforts is really important in the academic endeavor for student-athletes to develop as people."