Balls fly everywhere, and the high-fives are spontaneous. Nicknames are a way of life of here.
Welcome to a fun way to learn tennis. It’s all about the sport, with an emphasis on the fun.
“We’re the masters of high energy,” said James Springer, owner/operator of Tennis WerX, an indoor tennis teaching facility. “We keep it moving. We keep them flying. We keep it high energy.”
Springer opened his first location last year in Henderson, and as of July 1, he has cloned the concept in the northwest at 2651 Crimson Canyon Drive, Suite 180. The facility is dominated by a single court that’s nearly full-sized, only 2 feet shorter than regulation size.
The industrial-height ceiling allows for teaching the lob.
Parents can watch from the viewer room, which contains sofas and a wide window.
Tennis WerX mixes social skills with tennis lessons. Springer’s mother was a preschool teacher. Her child development knowledge of how to deal with youngsters, handed down to her son by example, sets the pace. Well-behaved children get to play paddle ball in the lobby. Waiting your turn gets one recognition and praise. It’s the same on the tennis court.
Encouragement is also key. Staff members will always find something to praise.
“They want someone to acknowledge them,” Springer said of the kids.
Classes might start with bouncing over-sized balls or soccer drills for footwork. Football drills are for speed. Aiming for the basketball hoop translates to the toss in tennis before serving the ball.
“You keep it real simple, and, if you can, add a visual,” Springer said. “And last but not least, you acknowledge what they’re trying to do. Even if they’re doing it terrible, you go, ‘Man, you’re taking that racket back really good.’ At least he’ll stick to that.”
How much of it is fun and how much is actual tennis?
“We make it fun, but the goal is always tennis,” Springer said. “Our players are ‘ballers.’ For your 4-year-old, you do 80 percent fun and 20 percent tennis the very first day he walks in the door. But by his fourth lesson, he’s 50/50. Your 6-year-old is a little different … you read the child. If the kid is ‘beat’ (overwhelmed) on tennis, he’s not going to be playing tennis. It’s always an equation: How much do you coach today and how much is over-coaching?”
Nayl Sbay, 8, said the facility was “awesome” and that he appreciated being indoors because “it’s harder in the sun because it’s hot outside.”
Some youngsters, such as Mia Underwood, 7, are so into the game, they get to be ball retrievers. She plans to be a tennis professional who is “better than Federer,” referring to fifth-ranked singles player Roger Federer, and said winning felt “awesome, especially when I smoke the boys.”
Gwynne Lee of Queensridge has two children in the program and another, Brooklyn, almost 2, who will be joining soon. Josh, 19, takes private lessons there. Addison, who turned 4 in August, is in the group program.
“James is magnetic, and his staff is unbelievable,” she said.
Lee said being at Tennis WerX was similar to her childhood experience in gymnastics, which involved “an amazing coach” who made the sport fun. She said Addison has thrived since starting lessons at 2½.
“She’s an amazing tennis player at the end of the day,” Lee said. “I mean, she’s got the full swing, she gets it over the net. People look at her and go, ‘That must be natural ability,’ but when she started, she didn’t know how to hold a racket or anything.”
Springer said he will take children aboard, not by age but from the time they’re able to communicate and take direction, such as “go touch the wall.”
Rates are $25 for a group lesson. The registration fee is $80, which includes a private lesson where the child’s skill level is determined.
Springer has been a certified instructor for about 15 years. Many of his clients live in the Queensridge community, as he used to give private lessons at various Summerlin tennis facilities. Nearly all of his clients are by referral. When he opened the Henderson location, those clients followed him. Now, with the second location, the Summerlin ones don’t have to travel so far.
He said he expects to open a third location soon with four courts.
For more information, call 702-250-1634 or visit systemworkstennis.com.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.