The YMCA is always focused on providing avenues for youth development.
Now, with an exclusive tennis academy program, and the facilities to accommodate a number of young boys and girls, the “Y” is putting a strong concentration on its tennis academy. The program caters to boys and girls between the ages of 5-13.
The five-seven year olds will have sessions every Monday and Wednesday, while the 8-13 year olds will be trained every Tuesday and Thursday. All sessions are scheduled to take place 4:30 p.m-5:30 p.m.
While seniors and tennis coaches utilize the courts on almost a daily basis, program director at the YMCA, Shakeitha Henfield, said that it’s good for the facility to have its very own program for young persons to engage in.
“We’re very excited about the tennis program. It is a new program. We have the tennis courts and people have utilized them. We have the coaches that are using the courts, as well as a lot of the seniors. So, it’s really good for us to offer a program that is our very own for the children, to help introduce them to the sport of tennis.
“And along with our ‘learn to swim’ partnership with the schools, they have the opportunity to be a part of the swimming, as well as they can learn to play tennis. That way, the tennis program can be used as a feeder system whereby if we see a child has potential and actually shows interest in the sport, we can recommend them to join the tennis program.”
McArthur Rigby has offered his services to help in the coaching of the young tennis aspirants. Henfield noted that having Rigby on board has been a positive addition in moving the program forward.
“Mr. Rigby has been very influential in trying to get the program started. We’re hoping we can grow the program. We’re getting ready for our summer camp which is where we have a lot of children on the property participating in all the different activities. That’s a good way to increase the numbers for tennis.
“We’re hoping by the time the summer comes and when fall rolls around, we’ll have even more people in the program.
“But Mr. Rigby, he’s here, and he’s worked with tennis for many years. He’s worked in the sport of track and field. He works with the seniors, he trains young athletes. So I think he has a broad view of it and he has an interest and a passion for it. So I think that’s the right person to have in the program at the YMCA.”
Henfield furthered that she has seen the numbers for the tennis program increase on a monthly basis. She also added that for young persons at such a ripe age, it’s good for them to take part in different sports, as it would help them physically in the future.
“With me being a an athlete myself and representing The Bahamas, I’m always interested in other sports. I feel the best athlete is the athlete who can cross train with other sports.
“It prevents burn out and it’s very important for them to be exposed to other sports. So I think it’s good we have a lot of people that play tennis as well as doing other sports.
“There may be another sport that they (young people) are better at but they just don’t know because they weren’t exposed to it or seen enough of it. So, we’re hoping to just expose them to tennis and make it affordable to parents and hopefully we can grow the sport,” she concluded.