Sports

Tennis academy launched at Abbotsford Christian

Andre, Charles and Riaan du  Toit (from left) came together with Abby Christian executive director Julius Siebenga to launch a new tennis academy. - Dan Kinvig
Andre, Charles and Riaan du Toit (from left) came together with Abby Christian executive director Julius Siebenga to launch a new tennis academy.
— image credit: Dan Kinvig

A new tennis academy at Abbotsford Christian School is aiming to grow the game among elementary-aged kids.

Performance Tennis Academy, operated by Andre du Toit and his son Charles, launches this Saturday, May 3, with an evaluation and registration event at 10 a.m. at the Abby Christian Secondary tennis courts.

“We believe that tennis education should start at the school level,” Charles du Toit explained. “That’s where you can expose kids to tennis, and out of the younger kids in the elementary school, you work them from there and build them up.”

Andre du Toit ran a tennis academy involving over 1,000 kids in 50 schools in South Africa, before moving his family to Abbotsford in 2002. His kids – Charles, Trudie and Riaan – all attended Abby Christian, and were elite players at the provincial and national level. Riaan is currently playing professionally after NCAA stints at New Mexico and Central Florida universities.

The du Toit academy differs from the many school-based academies that have popped up in Abbotsford in recent years, in that the program is not integrated into the curriculum for course credit.

Rather, the school provides its outdoor courts to the academy, in exchange for the du Toits helping with tennis instruction in elementary and middle school phys ed classes.

“They want to create exposure (to tennis) for families and kids, an opportunity for kids to be athletically involved in something after school and on the weekends,” explained Julius Siebenga, executive director of Abby Christian. “We’re all for supporting that.”

The academy is open to the public – “age five to 60,” Andre says – with an emphasis on getting younger kids involved in the game.

For more information, visit performancetennisacademy.ca or email tennis_professionals@yahoo.ca.

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