Missouri Valley / Kansas

First Year of Tennis Gets Ball Rolling with Students

July 22, 2021


Connie White teaches at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Junction City, Kansas. This will be her second year teaching PE and Health there to approximately 130 kids from pre-K to 12th grade. Last year White introduced tennis in all of her PE classes.  Tennis in elementary, middle school, high school and after-school programs is an excellent way to combat childhood obesity and reintegrate physical activity into the childrens’ everyday lives. 




White wasn’t a tennis player herself but picked up how to teach it from a fellow PE teacher where she taught in Arkansas who had all the Net Generation equipment. 




After the loss of her husband two years ago, White and her two children moved to Kansas from Arkansas where she took the job with the school. Her teacher friend in Arkansas encouraged her to make contact with Net Generation to get a program started in her new school. So she sent an email to get the ball rolling. 


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The equipment arrived last December, and the timing couldn’t have been better. With the kids growing weary of COVID protocols and the concern about the virus, tennis proved to be a fun activity for them to focus on. 



She has found that the younger kids love the game and are so excited when they get to play. 



“The kids do great with the right-sized equipment. And the curriculum gives me so many ideas on how to continue to build their skills.”.



White said they seem to be the most inspired age group and want to continue to be better.



“The highlight of my day is seeing ‘the littles’ as I call them, the pre-K and K make contact with the ball and return it, and how excited they get!”



White uses the red, orange and green balls with all age groups to give them more control while hitting in the gym. “It’s exciting for me to see the kids make contact with the ball and be successful.”



Seventh through ninth grade students currently do not have recess in their schedule, so White goes the extra mile to keep her gym open after lunch so the kids can come in and practice. “They need to burn energy too!” By keeping that age group in the game, they are able to keep improving their skills before they reach high school. There is no high school tennis team….yet. But if there’s an interest she will see what she can do to make that happen



The excitement for tennis at St. Francis Xavier seems to be catching on. So much so that the school principal, Shawn Augustine, has gotten on the court at the school gym with the high school students to give the game a shot. It’s safe to say not only the kids but Principal Augustine enjoyed themselves.  




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