Touch of Ten­nis re­turns

Pro­gram for any­one with spe­cial needs still a hit af­ter 18 years

Springfield Sun - - SPORTS - By Ed Mor­lock emor­lock@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @emor09 on Twit­ter

LOWER GWYNEDD » The 18th An­nual “Touch of Ten­nis” pro­gram got started Wed­nes­day June 28 at the Gwynedd Mercy Univer­sity ten­nis courts.

The free, vol­un­teer spe­cial needs clinic will take place ev­ery Wed­nes­day from 6:30-7:45 p.m. through Au­gust 2.

Gwynedd Mercy’s men’s and women’s ten­nis coach Jim Holt Jr. is the Di­rec­tor and Founder of the pro­gram that is open to all ages for any­one with any spe­cial needs.

“I didn’t think there was much out there as far as adap­tive ten­nis for peo­ple with spe­cial needs,” Holt said. “I have my masters in Spe­cial Ed. and I’m a teacher at Wordsworth Academy – a school for stu­dents that have spe­cial needs – and I said to my­self, ‘I’m coach­ing, if any­body can start this, it’s prob­a­bly me.’”

The pro­gram teaches the ba­sics of ten­nis — like teach­ing the ath­letes how to stand. It’s about much more than that, how­ever.

“It’s more than ten­nis,” Holt said. “Hon­estly, half of it is prob­a­bly so­cial­iza­tion. It gives them a so­cial out­let. It’s re­ally three-fold. Learn the game of ten­nis num­ber one. Num­ber two it’s a so­cial out­let. Num­ber three – get some ex­er­cise. Get them out there mov­ing. Some of th­ese kids don’t have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­grams like this – es­pe­cially free pro­grams.”

The pro­gram has grown ex­po­nen­tially, ac­cord­ing to Holt. It started at Hat­boro-hor­sham High School, moved to Up­per Dublin and now is at Gwynedd Mercy. Holt said the pro­gram had 60 ath­letes and 26 vol­un­teers reg­is­ter — but it seemed like more peo­ple on Gwynedd Mercy’s five courts for the pro­gram’s first

TEN­NIS » PAGE 2

RACHEL WISNIEWSKI/FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Zack Sei­ders, 6, hits a ball over the net. This is his second year at­tend­ing Touch of Ten­nis and, as he is on the younger side of par­tic­i­pants, he is given plush balls to start off with.

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