Blog #189~Buddy Up Tennis
I had the pleasure of observing the Buddy Up Tennis program over the past weekend. Buddy Up Tennis is a high-energy, adaptive tennis and fitness program for children and young adults with Down syndrome. They provide fun and rewarding 90-minute clinics on a weekly basis. The program currently serves 550 individuals ages five to young adults with Down syndrome across the country.
The program I visited was Buddy Up Tennis Naperville in Illinois, located at Five Star Tennis Center. Athletes are divided into 3 groups according to age and ability. They kick off the morning with a warmup and fitness component. Each participant is paired with a volunteer buddy. Everyone gets a chance to throw the dice and perform a variety of exercises together like toe touches, arm circles, sit-ups, jumping jacks and push-ups.
After the warm-up and calisthenics, the participants move to circuit training. Stations are set up focus on balance, agility, hand-eye coordination and upper body movements that mimic tennis strokes and serves.
Balance Work Stations…..
The tennis serve motion is mimicked by throwing a football through the hoops. Balls are thrown from the hip on both sides of the body into a basket to work on the forehand and backhand movements……
Other stations include using an agility ladder, cones, balance beam and tug of war. All of these work on each component of fitness, as related to playing tennis.
Following the fitness segment, the groups work on tennis strokes and games. The younger players used smaller nets and foam transition balls which are easier to hit.
The player’s ages 10 and up, worked on forehand and backhand volleys. Coaches use the cues, “Squash the bug”, No swinging” and “High five it” to teach proper form on volleys. The athletes had fun trying to win a prize by hitting a target on the court. After volleys, the group worked on overheads, with the coaches using cues like, “Point the left arm to the ball, and hit the ball at the highest point”.
It was wonderful to see the players working hard and enjoying the experience with their fellow teammates, buddies, and coaches. The staff and volunteers were so encouraging and positive. There were lots of high fives, smiles, cheering and laughter. Buddy Up Tennis helps players build fitness, tennis skills, friendships, and cooperation. These life skills are valuable both on and off the court.
For more information about Buddy Up Tennis visit their website: http://buddyuptennis.com/
I highly recommend this program and look forward to taking my son, Nick next week. That’s what is in my noggin this week!
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