Team Diaz Tennis USA, a non-profit tennis program, returned to La Mesa to host its sixth Summer Tennis Camp. The camp holds two sessions Monday-Thursday for six weeks. Session one is the 10 and Under program, and session two is the High Performance Junior Training program.
To improve the program Diaz shifted from Helix High School’s facilities, to La Mesita Park. “You need to get the exposure,” he said. “If you want the program to grow you have to be on the outside.”
Outside of high school courts, and in community courts, where local residents will take notice. La Mesa resident Casey Arnold credits the camp’s location for her family’s involvement in the program.
“I would have never heard about it, since we don’t have a high school connection I’m not looking at the high schools for activities,” she said. “It’s a convenient location, they are having a good time. I feel like we landed on a gold mine.”
Arnold discovered the program in her local community center’s camp listings.
“I’m enjoying the fact that it’s small group, there is a lot of people to help them learn how to play, and the courts are great.”
La Mesita Park has unique mini tennis courts for children to use. Diaz’s 10 and Under program teaches the fundamentals of tennis and mini courts are a great introduction.
“I think it’s cool just because they are small,” said Coach Kimberly “Kim” Tran of Team Diaz USA Tennis.
Tran likes to focus on small details of her little players games. “I help teach the little things because if you don’t teach kids how to do the right stroke eventually it turns into a bad habit,” she said.
Tran realizes the benefits of La Mesita Park as well. “We get more outside kids, and its beneficial to little kids because we can start them on a smaller court,” she said.
But not all attendees need smaller courts. Jorge Kcomt is into his third year of the program as member of the High Performance Training camp. Kcomt did not know anything about tennis when he began. Now he is heading into his third season with the Helix varsity team and credits his rapid progression to Tran and Team Diaz summer camp.
“Kim is pretty much the person who taught me how to play, because when I began she would rally with me, and teach me how to hit difficult balls,” he said.
Diaz coached Tran, and his other assistant coach Elaine Wise at Helix high school where he coached more than 10 years. Both Tran and Wise were part of the Summer Tennis Program as players.
“I created this program so that I can help kids develop in tennis,” said Diaz. “But (tennis) is something you can carry through business, something you can carry through friendship, and it’s a good leadership tool.”
Diaz sponsors a World TeamTennis program, a co-ed program during the winter that allows a group of six to eight players to travel around the nation playing tennis, and meeting high-ranking tennis players.
“We are the only city in the United States that has high school World TeamTennis program, so they use the Team Diaz USA Tennis program as an ambassador to show other cities the opportunities available in between seasons,” he said.
La Mesita Park is the only park in San Diego to have a nationally recognized tennis program, and mini courts. There is a lot of racket coming from La Mesita Park this summer and the community is enjoying it.
(This story first appeared in the East County Californian on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. The link to the article is http://www.eccalifornian.com/article/racquet-la-mesita-park-full-swing-summer-tennis)