‘Free Tennis Fridays’ Fun for All

Tennis pro Jim Flesch could think of no better way of introducing kids to the game of tennis than to offer lessons for free!

So each Friday this summer Jim has provided free tennis instruction to beginners and ‘advanced beginners’ at Bonsall Park on Silverside Road in North Wilmington. “Giving back to the game is really important to me,” said Jim as he fed ball after ball to kids across the net, emptying his ball hopper probably a dozen times last Friday.

And the kids just love it.

Ten-year-old Max Weiss, who attends Lombardy Elementary, helps Jim teach the younger kids in the early clinic from 10 – 11 am and then takes lessons himself in the 11 – 14-year-old clinic from 11 – Noon. “Honestly, I like all of it,” remarked Max. “Jim is so enthusiastic, and he’s able to teach anyone.” Max’s two sisters and brother also take the clinic, and their mom is so grateful that all of her children can learn the game for free. Each participant also is given an appropriate tennis racquet, selected by Jim, free of charge. The final summer clinic will take place on August 12th.

Jim also happens to be an exceptional instructor who teaches several adults clinics and has won tennis awards for service and leadership. One of Jim’s student’s, Keo Pagan, has also provided instruction along side Jim on the court each week. These kids are getting a really good deal. “I proposed the Program at the spring USTA Delaware District Board meeting, and I am working in conjunction with the New Castle County Parks and Rec as well as USTA DD Tennis Service Representative Kelly Rasero,” said Jim.

The program was such a hit that the USTA added another location — Glasgow Park — with instructor Bianca Skilling, who also has loads of energy and enjoys sharing her tennis passion with newcomers to the game.

Most of the kids have never played or maybe played a handful of times, including Mya Reeves, a 12-year-old who attends Springer Middle School. “I tried tennis before at school, but I didn’t know how to play. Here I get instruction, and it’s really great,” she said. At the North Wilmington location alone, Jim will have introduced about two dozen children to the game.

If you are interested in learning more about Free Tennis Friday, please email Jim Flesch at jamesflesch119@comcast.net. For more information about junior USTA tennis programs in Delaware, contact Kelly Rasero at Rasero@ms.usta.com.

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