In case the blazing heat in recent days hasn’t caught your attention: summer in Connecticut is officially upon us!
Whether your child is out of school already, or you’re holding on to those last few days of the academic year (thanks for nothing, snow days), one thing is certain: summer camp is right around the corner.
If you’re anything like us, some of your best memories come from summer tennis camp.
Long days in the sun with your friends… jumping off the dock into the lake… using the basketball court for a street hockey tourney (Red Rover gets honorable mention). And of course, let’s not forget about our favorite sport tennis!
Lucky for us, there’s no shortage of summer camps in the Avon and Farmington Valley area!
So let’s say you’ve done your research, sent in all the requisite paperwork, and all that’s left is to get started packing up for your youngster.
Whether your child is going to a general day camp like Farmington Farms summer camp, or a multi-sport camp like what’s offered at Latimer Elementary School in Weatogue, it’s safe to assume they’ll be spending some serious time on the tennis courts.
Of course, both novice and advanced tennis players need to have the right equipment and accessories on hand in order to play tennis incident free (and hopefully win a few matches along the way).
To help your kid make the most of their court time this summer, Valley Racquet has you covered.
Here’s a list of 10 things to make sure you pack for your kids summer tennis camp.
1. Tennis Court-Ready Shoes
In a bind, any sneaker will do the job and get you out on the court. But only a tennis shoe will get you the support, cushioning, and traction you need to handle all of the quick starts and stops.
It’s also worth noting that at some courts and facilities, tennis shoes are a requirement to protect the court from black marks. Scuff marks are normal, black marks are not.
There are plenty of options when it comes to picking the right tennis shoes. Depending on the surface of play, grass, clay or hard courts, our staff is trained to talk about the anatomy of a tennis shoe and find the best option for your child (or yourself).
2. A Freshly Restrung & Regripped Racquet
Dusting off a racquet from last summer? Did your child take advantage of all of the great weather this spring and put in some solid hours on the court?
Regardless of the particulars of your situation, having a properly maintained racquet will ensure that your child is able to get the most out of their tennis time this summer.
Note: if you or a family member has noticed arm fatigue, a loss of control, or inconsistencies in your game, be sure to bring your racquet with you next time you stop by Valley Racquet. We have a Master Racquet Technician (MRT) on staff, and we can help determine if restringing and/or regripping your racquet will help.
This is made even easier with our 24-hour drop box and quick turnaround time. Our goal is to get your child’s equipment for camp (or just back on the court) in no time.
3. Tennis Clothes
Tennis style has come a long way since the days of mobility-restricting corsets and sweaters.
Thankfully, these days comfort is king. Furthermore, it’s paired with the technology and functionality of today’s apparel to give you the very best selection to choose from.
Garment cuts will allow for maximum mobility on the court, and if you’ve ever used a ball pocket, you won’t want to play without one.
The right clothing will give your kid the best blend of performance, durability, and comfort. All without looking like a dork!
4. Hat or Visor
Little known fact: you can’t hit a tennis ball that you can’t see. No joke!
The sun can be pretty blinding in Connecticut during the average summer day. Thus, a hat or visor is one of the easiest and most practical ways to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays.
Looking for something super light, mesh, bucket, neck cover up? With a wide range of colors and styles you’ll be able to find one that fits your kid’s head like a glove.
5. Polarized Sunglasses
Speaking of protecting our eyes… sunglasses.
The next line of defense against the glaring sun are polarized lenses.
Polarized sunglasses have a special coating to protect our delicate peepers from glare, and in the summer months that’s especially important. More than just tinted lenses, polarized glasses will reduce harmful effects from UV light.
We have a wide selection to choose from, so maybe you should consider getting a pair for yourself while you’re at it!
6. Water Bottle
In the summer heat, we all know it’s important to stay hydrated.
We also know that sometimes kids can be a bit forgetful. So help them pick a water bottle that holds a good amount, won’t spill, and is easy to carry around.
After they’ve picked out a favorite, be sure to write their name on it in permanent marker so there isn’t any confusion with other kids at tennis camp.
Being prepared is essential to the sport of tennis. These accessories are super helpful, so we’d recommend considering packing them as well!
- A backup racquet and/or strings
- Tennis balls
- Sweatbands (headbands, wristbands)
- Extra socks
8. Tennis Bag
The right tennis bag will house all of your kid’s tennis essentials, and protect their equipment so they won’t be left hanging.
Function, style and fashion are three major components when shopping for racquet bags. Fortunately, most kids don’t care much about fashion, so we can throw that one out the window!
It’s really down to the following… how much storage will the bag need to hold your child’s equipment? Think about how many racquets they’ll be carrying, whether they’ll have dedicated tennis shoes or clothes, and any other accessories.
Be realistic, and remember that you can always exchange a bag if you get home and find that it’s too small!
9. Sunblock + Bug Spray
Sweet summertime can quickly turn you salty and uncomfortable without proper protection from the elements.
The higher the SPF (sun protection factor) the better. Be sure to remind your child to reapply their sunscreen regularly, especially when they’re on the court.
More importantly, make sure that you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
It’s also worth noting that as much as we love Connecticut, pesky insects can definitely interfere with enjoyment on the tennis courts. So give your child some bug spray to take with them to camp!
10. Good Attitude
Ok, so this one is a bit of a cop out. But let’s be honest, attitude really matters when you’re on the court! It’s no different for your kid.
Be sure to teach them the importance of being a good sport, and remembering to have fun (no matter how competitive they may be).
Good sportsmanship and respect will take them far! In the words of Arthur Ashe, “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.”
Is That Everything?
This list is of course meant to be flexible. You may find yourself saying “my kid is 6 years old and only plays once a week, does he really need string dampeners?”
The answer is of course, probably not.
But hopefully this has gotten your gears turning, and maybe reminded you of a few essentials that are easy to overlook during the camp packing craze!
So this summer, be sure to pack the tennis bag with confidence, knowing they’ll have everything they need to be successful and have a ton of summer fun on the courts.
Did we miss something? Do you have a favorite item that we didn’t include? We’d love to hear from you below in the comments!