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Clayton County Tennis Summer Camp teaches lifelong sport enjoyment
by Bill Baldowski
bbaldowski@neighbornewspapers.com
July 03, 2012 04:00 PM | 2888 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Madison Vickers, 7, daughter of Clayton County Tennis Center Summer Camp Directior Marcus Vickers, returns a volley as she practices on the summer camp court inside Clayton County International Park.
The late tennis great Arthur Ashe, formally ranked number one in the world and the winner of three Grand Slams of Tennis titles, was once asked to comment on his success.

“I look at the success I have had in tennis as a journey, not a destination,” he said. “For me, the doing is more important than the outcome.”

For success in any activity, in or outside of sports, Marcus Vickers of Premier Sports Facility Management, the company with which Clayton County has contracted to handle all activities at the Tennis Center at Clayton County International Park, believes the journey Ashe spoke of must also begin with a solid foundation in tennis.

That is why he and Justin Blanton, aquatics program coordinator at Clayton County International Park off Highway 138 in Jonesboro, has formed the first Clayton County Tennis Center Summer Camp, which began June 4 and continues through August.

More than 20 youngsters, ages five through 17, are taking park in the camp. The program offers several tennis package options. Campers can attend the morning camp from 8 a.m. through noon or the afternoon camp from 1 until 5 p.m. or attend for the entire day

Vickers decided to offer a summer kid’s tennis camp this year because the interest was evident following the results of a survey as to what opportunities Clayton County residents would like to see available this summer at the park and beach.

“Although our summer camp is centered on tennis, we wanted to offer the kids a true, full, summer camp experience,” he said. “As such, we integrate tennis with a litany of other summer camp activities at the park which our youngsters can participate in, like going to the beach here or playing on the playground equipment.”

Kareem Burrows, 17, son of Dannet Bailey, is taking part in the camp and he feels, even in the short time he has been in the camp, he has made significant progress in his tennis game.

“I believe my game is not only getting better, but is getting better at a faster rate,” he said. “I wanted to improve on all aspects of my game, from my serve to my forehand and backhand strokes, and I have already seen a difference.”

Vickers said the daily on court tennis instruction is preceded by a warm up and stretching period followed by light footwork drills, inclusive of sprints and calisthenics, prior to the actual instruction.

Vickers said the camp, which is designed for youth tennis players from beginners to advanced, remains focused, “on this being a sport a player can play his entire lifetime.”

“We are strong in teaching the fundamentals, the right footwork and techniques, so the game can be enjoyed for a lifetime,” he added.

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