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Tennis camps keep kids busy during holidays

For more than 50 youngsters in La Jolla, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day wasn’t about sitting around the house playing with new holiday gifts or filling up on leftovers.

Instead, part of their time off was spent learning the game of tennis for the first time, improving their skills or sharpening their games during some down time.

Former La Jolla Country Day girls and boys tennis coach Angela Horacek hosted a camp at the school for players from preschool through 14 years old, and even had some of their parents participating. Many of the players came from La Jolla, but others attending the camp were from all over San Diego County and beyond.

“We worked on stroke production, strategy, match play, games — the younger they are, the more games they’re going to play,” Horacek said. “We had all levels. We had some really strong 10- to 12-year-olds, and we had a lot of little ones from in pre-kindergarten through first grade.”

Horacek said her camps are unique because she has six coaches assisting her, and whereas other camps might employ high school players as assistants, all of hers have coached at the high-school level or junior level. Included in that group are current Country Day coach (and former Torreys tennis standout) Joslynn Burkett and former Bishop’s coach Jose Ruelas.

“We’ve got more than 100 years of experience between us,” Horacek said. “I’ve got really good experience with respect to coaches. So the kids get a lot of attention, and they improve a lot. It’s just a different experience with us.”

Horacek, who has been coaching youth tennis for nearly 30 years and has been running tennis camps here since 1997 through U.S. Sports and Nike, recently decided to run her camps independently. Players can find information on her March and April spring break camps, as well as her summer camps, at her Web site, www.AngelasTennisCamp.

com.

Gregory Ball covers sports for La Jolla Light. He can be reached at ballgregory@yahoo.com.