Millie Mulhern Youth Tennis To Begin on May 7 at the Hilltop Tennis Facility at Wheeling Park

WHEELING — The Wheeling Oglebay Tennis Club will present the spring session of Millie Mulhern Youth Tennis beginning on Tuesday, May 7 and running through Sunday, June 2. All practices and matches will be held at the Hilltop Tennis Facility at Wheeling Park, thanks to the generosity of the Wheeling Park Commission.

All area students in grades 4 through 11 are invited to participate in the free program. The WOTC encourages any child from the Ohio Valley to join, regardless of experience. Tennis racquets are available for those who need them.

Practices will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. on the following Tuesdays and Thursdays: May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30. For those participants ready to compete, matches will be held from 4-6 p.m. on May 19, May 26, and June 2.

To sign up a participant, a parent should email the name and grade level of the child to wheelingoglebaytennisclub@gmail.com. Then a registration form with a parent signature can be requested online or completed on the first day (Tuesday, May 7) between 4 and 4:30 p.m. at the Hilltop courts.

Also, materials have been shared with the physical education teachers at public, private and parochial schools in the area.

Participants need to wear appropriate athletic shoes and shorts with pockets (or have a ball clip); they also need to bring water or sports drinks. No cell phones will be permitted on the court.

Brad Jones, the men’s and women’s tennis coach for Bethany College, will return as coordinator of on-court activities. Adult members of the WOTC will serve as volunteers.

“I’m excited to return to coordinate the Millie Mulhern Youth tennis program and to grow tennis in the area,” Jones said.

Depending on the level of the players, a typical practice will consist of working on skills, learning the procedures for playing a match and playing sets. The progressive lessons follow the guidelines created in the USTA’s Net Generation youth tennis initiative.

On match days, participants will play sets in singles and/or doubles with the supervision of court monitors.

On the last match day, June 2, certificates of participation as well as awards will be presented during the pizza party.

This program is named for its co-founder, the late Millie Mulhern, who along with her husband Jerry, initiated the program in 2007.

“This program is teaching a sport that kids can play for a lifetime,” Jerry Mulhern said. “As you age, you may leave other sports. But look at me, I’m 85 and still playing tennis.”

Millie Mulhern Youth Tennis will continue to be offered in the spring and the fall by the WOTC. For additional information about this program, please email the club at wheelingoglebaytennisclub@gmail.com or call Jones at 276-494-4948.

The WOTC hopes to show kids how much fun tennis is and increase the number of participants. MMYT also serves as a feeder program for the local high school teams.

Tennis offers many benefits. It is fun for kids with a minimal risk of injury. It provides social, health, and psychological benefits.

Participants make new friends, are in a positive learning environment, and learn teamwork and communication.

As an aerobic and anaerobic exercise, tennis helps kids stay active, increase coordination and flexibility, and increase bone strength.

Sportsmanship, character development, integrity, discipline, and work ethic are also emphasized as components of this great middle school program.

With memberships in the United States Tennis Association, the Community Tennis Association, and Net Generation, the WOTC is able to train volunteer members in order to offer quality tennis programs to area youth.

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