Post-Season Stories: Ka'merah

Coach Mueller has been an extraordinary tennis coach at Pitts-Ashburton Elementary in Baltimore. Don't let his smile fool you, because Coach Mueller can get really competitive! He pushes our ACE-ers to be better, faster, and stronger athletes. Here is his Post-Season Story, “The Net”:

“Jog to line three!” Coach Mueller yells. The other students and I jog briskly to line three. “Side shuffle to line one!” he says again. The warm up is one of my favorite parts of being in the ACE tennis program. We are having fun, learning about things in life, and how to play tennis. Today, Coach Mueller has the net out. I am excited but a little scared because I don’t think I can hit the ball over the net.

We start practice with wall hits. This is where you drop the ball, hit it against the wall and either catch it or hit it again. I have a terrible time with wall hits. I usually have to run across the gym to get my ball because I hit it too hard. Coach Mueller sees me struggling and comes over to help. He is a great coach. I listen and watch him show me how to do it. He helps be get my body in position and hold the racket with the right grip. I am little nervous to try it again while he is watching. I drop the ball, hit it, it comes back to me and I catch it. He says, “Ka’merah I knew you could do it. Thanks for trying and listening.”  After a bunch of high fives, I feel confident. I do it again and again.

Coach Mueller tells us to line up in two lines on the other side of the net. He models how to hit it over the net. I watch other students try. Some students miss the ball or hit it too hard. It is my turn. I take a deep breath and watch as he tosses the ball to me. I turn my body and completely miss. He gently says to me, “Ka’merah, it is just like wall hits. Hit it nice and easy.”  He tosses the ball to me again. I watch the ball and send it over the net. Everyone screams in excitement because I was the first person to hit over the net. I did not know that tennis was hard work, but so much fun. Tennis is teaching me important skills that I can use outside the court like how to listen, sportsmanship, perseverance, having a supportive community around me.