32 years later, West still loves teaching tennis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

For the past 32 years, Ozark resident Kenny West has been doing the one thing he loves to do — teach tennis.

West has been in the South for the past 15 years teaching teams in an outreach program for the Enterprise, Ozark, Opp and Andalusia areas.

West said he loves teaching because he was taught by world-renowned tennis teacher Alex Mayer in New Jersey.

“Alex taught us how to teach,” he said, while shouting instructions at the Andalusia Bulldogs’ boys tennis team practice. “We had a group of guys that were counselors there where basically everybody was a good player. There were no slouches.”

In college, West attended Troy University for three years and spent his last year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, attending Mayer’s summer camps.

Asked about how the Bulldog teams, West said the “team is strong.”

“They need to get basically seasoned,” West said. “The strokes and fundamentals are good, but the strategy is a little shakey. They’re a little young for strategy.

“They’ve got to learn to play with more confidence and play,” he said. “They’ve got to build some confidence against guys they think are better than them. They actually believe when somebody has a name, they think they are better than them. You can’t do that. You can’t build a name without winning a match against somebody that had a name.”

West lives in Ozark and has competed on the ATP tour.

West said an important element in the game is to have strong fundamentals.

“The foundation has to be more solid than anything in the world,” he said. “If you have a good sound foundation, then the house doesn’t fall.

“My idea is strokes first and once you get confidence in your stroke, then you can play,” he said. “And then it’s just a matter of playing enough matches to figure out how to play.”

Every Monday and Wednesday, West holds lessons for anyone interested in tennis at the Lurleen B. Wallace Community College tennis courts. The lessons start at 3:30 p.m. and lasts as he puts it, “whenever we quit.” West charges $40 per hour and to get more information, call his cell phone at 334-685-2339.