When it comes to tennis, technique is everything, says instructor Michael Bucher. That’s why the La Jolla Tennis Academy, a new program at La Jolla Tennis Club (LJTC), will focus on laying a solid technical foundation for beginners, and build on that foundation to groom more advanced players to prepare them for tournaments.
Run by Bucher and instructor Brent Davis, La Jolla Tennis Academy will kick off its first camp series this summer and an after-school program this fall, at the LJTC at 7632 Draper Ave. Academy players do not need to be LJTC members to play.
“With a beginner, you have to develop proper skills and professional technique,” Bucher said. “What I see out there as an issue in tennis are young people who get improper instruction from an early age by not having the focus be on their technique. The focus right away is often on competition. Our whole thing is developing high-level technique, so the player’s passion can dictate where they want to go, not the limits on their technique.”
Davis added, “We have an organized system that creates solid players.”
Additionally, Bucher said, “We love working with kids. I want our academy to be known as a loving, fun environment for kids. While our tennis focus will be on technical and tactical development, the tone of our program will be fun, exciting and creative. Kids can expect to learn, but also to laugh.”
Designed for ages 6-18, tennis classes will be small, starting with groups of four to six, with hands-on instruction ”so players can be monitored and develop right, with each player getting the attention they need,” Bucher said.
Whether a beginner or advanced player, Bucher and Davis will assist with enhancing basic skills so players can thrive in competitions.
The summer weekly programs run in half- day or full-day schedules, meeting 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and/or 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants may sign up for a half day of one session or full day with both sessions. Each week, the camp meets Monday-Friday at LJTC. The cost is $200 per week for a half day, or $325 per week for a full day.
The after-school programs, to launch in September, will also be at LJTC, but additional details have not been confirmed.
After 10 years of teaching at the George Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Bucher said he decided to branch out and establish his own program. Through teaching at LJTC (one of many San Diego tennis clubs at which he offers instruction) Bucher met Davis, and the two planned to partner up. Each of them brings a lifetime of professional experience.
Bucher started playing tennis when he was 7 years old at his home in Indiana. His three brothers and two sisters were all into basketball, but he wanted to do something different. “I took to tennis from a young age. I played through college and from there, started instructing.” Davis, a longtime instructor at LJTC, is credited with enhancing various leagues at LJTC. During his college years, he led the University of Massachusetts team to one of its best season finishes. Davis competes internationally and locally. He reached the semifinals of the 2010 Men’s Doubles USTA Pacific Coast Championships and was the recipient of the 2010 USTA Sportsmanship Award.
La Jolla Tennis Academy: (858) 454-4434 or firstname.lastname@example.org