Landon Aud has no trouble remembering the day eight years ago when she first picked up a tennis racket.
She and her family went to Augusta Health to pick up her brother, Ryan, who was attending a clinic there. As first, she was just a spectator.
“I was watching them play and I really liked it,” the Wilson Memorial senior said. “Then they asked me if I wanted to come on the court and hit some balls. I did and I absolutely loved it. I took a lot of lessons from Chad Reed (now her high school coach) and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Now Aud, the No. 1 Singles player on the Green Hornets’ unbeaten girls tennis team, is ready to pass on her knowledge and passion for the game as the instructor for a series of free youth tennis clinics at The Club at Ironwood in Staunton.
The clinics are for children 12 and younger, and will be held from 10 a.m. to noon May 14, 21 and 28, and June 11, 18 and 25.
The idea came from Val Gundling, Ironwood’s general manager. He approached Aud, who works in the club’s pro shop, and asked her if she would be interested, and she enthusiastically accepted the offer.
“She loves to teach kids,” Gundling said. “It’s a great chance for her and our club to give back to the community.”
Aud, who will major in physical therapy and play tennis for Randolph-Macon College in the fall, has enjoyed teaching in previous clinics run by the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) and Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta Tennis Association (SWAT). She said that when she has the kids on the court, she plans to keep it simple and light-hearted.
“Everything revolves around them having a good time and enjoying themselves,” said Aud, who led Wilson to the Conference 36 crown and a berth in the Region 2A East final last year. “They don’t have to play to win. They just have to do the best that they can.”