TIFTON — Tennis took serve this week at Abraham Baldwin’s Red Hill Athletic Center. ABAC varsity tennis coach Dale White led a group of campers in the annual four-day Summer Tennis Camp.
White had his eyes on the court and on the sky Tuesday morning.
He had a close call with rain Monday afternoon and more was predicted for both Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. There is a backup plan in place of water from the sky; White planned to take the campers to the Gressette Gymnasium, where he would modify some drills for indoor use.
Assisting with the youth in camp are Dylan Windom, a former Tift County Kansas University player now coaching at Coffee, and Kasey Griffin. Griffin competed for ABAC this spring after her high school career at Tift. Windom helped out at camp in 2018. Thanks to her influence, several of players working out at ABAC compete at Coffee.
White said most of the 35 in attendance were from out-of-county. “Only eight or so from Tifton,” he said.
Participants’ ages skewed a bit older than most of the youth athletic camps on offer this summer. Most in attendance were teens.
“A lot [play at] higher levels,” said White. “A lot have been here for a few years.”
Players rotated between stations led by White, Windom and Griffin, focusing on different skills. The camp will cover “everything” during its four days. White rattled off approach, shots, volleys, doubles and serves as examples.
Following a water break, White broke down positioning during doubles matches, which were the focus of the morning session. He talked about serve positioning and where players should go after.
“Eighty percent of the balls … where’s the point where they cross the net?” White answered his own question: “The middle third.” On returns, he said the idea was to “hit the ball toward the least dangerous person” to maximize winning the point.
White took some time to talk ABAC tennis Tuesday.
He is looking at a men’s lineup that — compared to spring 2019 — seems like excess. White expects to have eight Stallions in school this fall, with a ninth set to join the next spring. Two of these incoming players are in-state transfers. All hands had to be on deck for the men during the spring as he had just six players available.
There is equal optimism for White about the Fillies. Though he has just five players currently on roster, White is hopeful his sixth recruit will be able to enroll soon.