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OP Platform Tennis Club to offer youth, parent lessons

OCEAN PINES—The Platform Tennis Club is gearing up for a brand new program that will offer free lessons to lure local young people and their parents outside into the fresh and open air this summer, based on a description of the clinics by Linda Horst, who is coordinating the program.
Interested parents and children can register up to two days before a scheduled class at the Ocean Pines Community Center, according to Horst. Classes for the youths will be held on four Saturdays, from 1-2:30 p.m.—April 5 and 12, and May 10 and 17, she said. The classes are free to both Ocean Pines residents and non-residents and players can attend as many of the family-oriented classes as they desire, according to Horst.
All of the equipment needed for play will be provided, but tennis shoes or sneakers required.
Platform tennis, which is also referred to as paddle tennis, is a year-round sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong, squash, racquet ball, and hand ball, according to a description of the sport.  The court is smaller than a tennis court and is surrounded by gauged wire fencing (screens), which allows players to keep the ball in play and contained within the court, as in racquetball.  
In describing the logistics, they explained platform tennis rackets are 18 inches long and the ball is made of a rubber composite.  It is mainly a doubles sport and is played nationally with tournaments and championships at all age groups, they said.  
The club already provides a free open clinic every Saturday at noon to introduce the sport to adults. Horst said up to nine instructors would be on hand for the youth clinics and would tailor the level of instruction to the competency level of individual players.
Children from ages 12- to 14-years old must be accompanied by a parent, whom she noted must participate in the activities with their child. For children from ages 15- to 17-years old, parents do not need to be in attendance, but are welcome, according to Horst.
Participants who are 16-years old or older and who have previous racquet sport experience should attend the adult clinic at noon.
Horst, 60, is a retired fitness and physical education teacher, who said she has played “all different types of racquet sports for years” since she was a teenager in Pennsylvania.  She said the tennis and racquet amenities offered at Ocean Pines was one of the aspects of the community that influenced her decision to make the Pines her home when she moved into the area.
Horst said by offering the youth clinics the club members are hoping to gauge the interest level local children might have with the sport of platform tennis, to help determine whether it would be feasible to offer a day camp this summer. “We would love to see parents get involved in tandem with their children,” Horst added.
She said the sport was not overwhelming or hard to learn, which could encourage families and couples to get involved in platform tennis. The idea is to expose younger people to the great fitness and fun of the sport, Horst said.
The Ocean Pines club has 122 members and is a Region 3 Mid-Atlantic member of the American Platform Tennis Association, which includes all of Maryland, Delaware and part of Pennsylvania, according to Jim Freeman, who serves as the club’s president.
For more information or to register for classes, call 410-641-7052.