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Future stars . . . Getting ready for the session are (from left) Connie Jamieson (4), Olivia Hirst (5), Alex Newton (7), Georgia Webster (9), Jessie Watt (6), Mya Robinson (10), Charlie White (6), Lockhart Easton (7), Pippa Webster (6) and coaching assistant Jake Gilchrist (16). Hotshots tennis coaching PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Young tennis players have been testing their skills in Oamaru this summer.

Every Wednesday afternoon, children of various ages and abilities take to the Waitaki Girls’ High School courts for 45-minute Hot Shots sessions with coach Steve Dries.

Tennis Hot Shots is a national starter tennis programme designed for children – with smaller courts, shorter racquets and softer balls.

In Oamaru, North Otago Tennis has been running the programme for more than five years.

“We currently have about 20 children taking part in the sessions,” Dries said.

“They range in age and ability as they move through the programme.”

Dries is an experienced coach who has been working with North Otago tennis players for about five years.

He has worked in Egypt and the UK, and regularly takes groups of children, including several Oamaru players, to compete in America.

He said he enjoyed helping beginner players progress to North Otago’s development squad, held on Monday nights.

“Hot Shots provides them with the fundamental skills to go on and play tennis,” he said.

When they finished the programme, they were able to serve, rally and score, he said.

“They have fun playing tennis and come out ready to enter into [North Otago’s] junior competition.”

For more information on the Hot Shots programme, contact North Otago tennis on Facebook: facebook.com/northotagotennis.