BURBANK — There are normally around 15-20 participants who attend the Burbank Tennis Center Summer Camp each week to brush up on their skills.
With the recent heat wave that gripped Southern California, attendance was reduced during a week-long session at the venue.
Seven campers were willing to brave the hot temperatures on a recent Tuesday to absorb information provided by veteran instructor Harout Khachatrian on drills ranging from serving to return shots to proper footwork
“It’s definitely good to see people come here to learn, even though this weather is quite unusual,” said Khachatrian, a Burbank resident who has been an instructor at the Burbank Tennis Center for 22 years. “We go over a lot of things and try to keep them healthy and busy. They could be at home playing video games and staying cool, but it’s great to see them outside here learning all of the different things we cover.”
Prior to going through a series of drills, the campers do some agility exercises. There are plenty of opportunities for water breaks under a canopy adjacent to the court. In addition to competing in matches toward the middle of a session, the campers are able to break away from the courts and go swimming in a nearby pool on the campus.
The camp began in June and will finish Aug. 17. The event attracted campers, ages 6-14, from mostly in Burbank.
Khachatrian, 60, said it’s simple to teach eager participants.
“I love to teach tennis and I love working with different kids, no matter their skill level,” Khachatrian said. “They just want to become better players and I’m here to help them refine their skills.
“We get a lot of beginners, plus we have people who are advanced. They can learn the different strategies involved in competing in a match and they sharpen their mental skills along the way. Going to a summer camp can get them ready to compete in junior tournaments. It’s excellent preparation.”
Khachatrian is quick to spot talent.
Emil Lazaryev, 7, was working on serving and returning shots a few minutes after the session began.
“I’ve been playing tennis since I was 5 years old,” said Lazaryev, a Burbank resident. “I play in [United States Tennis Assn.] tournaments and I learn a lot watching tennis on TV.
“I get to come here and practice different drills. Then I go home and practice some more.”
Burbank resident Tiffany Khudeta, 8, said Khachatrian is prepared to explain the various exercises prior to conducting them.
“He knows so much about tennis and he shows you how to do things properly,” Khudeta said. “When you practice, you are set to go.
“He just wants to see you get better and that’s why I like to play tennis.”
Two other summer camps took place at Burbank Tennis Center. Burroughs High boys’ and girls’ tennis coach Roy Bernhardt ran a similar camp June 4 through Thursday. The Tennis Mechanik Summer Camp began June 4 and will run through Aug. 10.