For the second year in a row, Holliston High School junior Haley Hanestad put on a free community tennis clinic, which held its last class on Saturday. The clinic meets every Saturday morning starting in April, and is open to kids in second through fifth grade.
Haley, who is a member of the Holliston varsity girls’ tennis team, realized that there are no youth tennis programs in Holliston, like there are for baseball and basketball, and saw an opportunity to create a program where kids can learn the fundamentals of tennis.
“I’m really passionate about tennis,” she said, “and I really wanted to grow the program and get [the kids] started earlier.”
Last year, the program’s first year, Haley said that they had one session of about 15 kids. This year, there was so much interest that they had to expand to two sessions.
“They seem to love it,” said Haley. “They have fun and seem to want to come back next year.”
Haley’s father Ryland, who played tennis at Colgate and was a ranked junior player, helps out with the lessons, and really enjoys working with the kids. His favorite part of teaching the classes is the kids’ “enthusiasm and willingness to learn. They’re eager to learn the game, and that’s super.”
He also said that it was mostly Haley and her mother who came up with the idea of creating this clinic, and that is has been a complete family effort. Haley said that she plans on handing the program off to her younger sister once she leaves for college.
The classes focus on the basics of tennis, such as learning the forehand and backhand strokes, along with playing some games where the kids can put what they learned into use.
“I love talking to them,” said Haley. “They love learning new strokes. It’s just fun to teach them.”
Haley and her father plan on running the clinic again next spring, and Haley is also offering private lessons to anyone who participated in the clinics, should they want them.