North Marion coaches Berkey and Snyder bring back summer tennis instruction after a one-year hiatus

by: PHOTO BY JO WHEAT - Lance Berkey instructs Cal Waite on the proper grip to use when handling a tennis racket.Young athletes have to start somewhere.

North Marion High School coaches Lance Berkey and Nickie Snyder hope they have planted the tennis seed in a few youths after a successful turnout for their tennis camp at NMHS last week.

The camp was started in 2010 under former boys tennis coach Lucinda Carroll and had a year off in 2012 before being revived by Berkey and Snyder. Berkey took over the boys tennis program last year and Snyder is an assistant coach with the girls team under head coach Pat O’Dell.

About 15 kids took part in the third iteration of the four-day tennis camp for athletes in third through 12th grade. Most of the participants were in elementary or middle school, though there were several incoming freshmen at the high school level.

by: PHOTO BY JO WHEAT - Lance Berkey addresses a group of athletes at the North Marion Tennis Camp on Wednesday.“It was a nice surprise, because it shows there’s some interest in some kids that are going to be coming up into high school pretty soon,” said Berkey. “That’s kind of what the goal of doing this whole camp was — to see if we could generate some of that interest and hopefully have those kids spread that to other kids.”

Berkey was formerly the assistant coach at Woodburn High School under Tom Lonergan, who runs his own tennis camp each year. But this was the first year in which Berkey had a chance to run the show, along with Snyder.

by: PHOTO BY JO WHEAT - Coach Nickie Snyder (back left) and Coach Lance Berkey (back right) lead the way with the kids at this years North Marion Tennis Camp on Wednesday.“This is really my first year doing a camp like this, and I was really impressed,” said Berkey, who admitted he did not know what to expect with attendance levels considering there is no tennis program in the rural school district outside of the high school. Snyder, however, was anticipating a large turnout after being a part of the previous tennis camps, and was happy to provide some basic tennis instruction to the next generation of Husky athletes.

“Like all the other sports, they start them young these days, and the more time you have just even holding the racket and getting out there, it improves your ability to play,” said Snyder.

Most of the kids were relatively new to the sport, so camp lessons were pretty much limited to the fundamentals. Camp goers worked on the basic tennis shots: forehand, backhand, serving, volley and overhand. They were instructed on proper footwork, sliding into position to return shots and on the tennis scoring system.

by: PHOTO BY JO WHEAT - Marissa Berkey uses a forehand shot to return the ball at Wednesdays tennis camp at North Marion High School“We just wanted to get kids, if they’re interested in it, a little basic instruction,” said Snyder. “We’re hoping eventually they’ll be interested in playing for the high school.”

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