Smith back for annual tennis camp

Published 1:38 am Friday, June 1, 2018

The Andalusia Tennis Association will hold its 17th Annual Summer Tennis camp beginning Tue., June 5, and Director Paul Smith said that the best part of his job is putting hard work into teaching the little things and eventually seeing success.

“I have to say the best part of the job is teaching the students,” Smith said. “I come at it with a very positive attitude.”

Smith said that he wants to make sure that every kid is enjoying the experience.

“I think positive feedback is very important to the students,” Smith said. “Especially for the younger kids, making sure they enjoy the sport is crucial.”

Smith grew up in Slocomb, Ala., and started playing tennis in college while he was at Samford University.

“During the off seasons, my friends and I would grab some rackets and head to the court,” Smith said. “It was something fun for all of us to do.”

Smith credits a lot of his coaching expertise to Andalusia High School Football Coach Trent Taylor, for whom he worked at Straughn High School for four years.

“He really gave me a chance and that’s all I needed,” Smith said. “I always have to bring him up when I talk about coaching at Straughn just because he was such a great guy.”

After coaching at SHS, he went to T.R. Miller High School where he coached tennis for 12 years and is still involved with the tennis team today.

“I am still very involved with helping them [the tennis team] out,” Smith said. “I usually help out a lot with drill work and technique.”

Smith said that he started playing tennis because of his love of competition and because it is a lifelong sport.

“It is a sport that you can play for your entire life,” Smith said. “I honestly don’t know what I will do when I can’t play it anymore.”

One thing that he tries to teach in the more advanced players at the camp is the mental aspect of the game.

“That is the most important part of the game,” Smith said. “Madison Castleberry, one of my students, is a great example of the mental aspect. Instead of getting down when she loses a game, she starts thinking about why she lost and ways that she can improve her game, and that is so important.”

The camp will begin June 5, and will last for six weeks, with a tournament during the last week.

It will be three days a week, starting on Tuesday and going through Thursday each week.

It cost $30 per participant for ages 5 to 18 years old, but there are scholarships and family packages available.

“We introduced the scholarships because we don’t want to turn anyone away,” Smith said. “Scholarships will be based on need.”

Family packages are if you have two children it is $50 and if you have three or more it is $60.

Registration will stay open all through camp at Johnson Park or at LBW Community College during the camp.

There will also be an adult tennis camp on Tuesdays during the summer from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“There isn’t a limit on ability of the players,” Smith said. “The ultimate goal is to evolve into playing time with each other.”

The minimum age to participate in the adult camp is 19.


The Andalusia Tennis Association’s Tennis Camp Schedule follows:

3 days per week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Week 1: June 5 – June 7

Week 2: June 12 – June 14

Week 3: June 19 – June 21

Week 4: June 26 – June 28

Week 5: July 10 – July 12

Week 6: July 17 – July 19

8 to 9 a.m. – 8 and under

9 to 10 a.m. – 9 and 10 year olds

10 to 11 a.m. – 11 and up beginners

11 to 12:30 p.m. – 11 and up intermediate and advanced