In the Swing

LJL Fall Bobby Gillespie tennisBobby Gillespie of BG Tennis is introducing kids to a lifetime of tennis with low-compression balls and skills training at Lake Jovita. He’s using the same techniques to help older players enjoy the game they love.

Ask Bobby Gillespie, and he’ll tell you. Tennis is hard. Really hard. But for young players or senior players, it can be nearly impossible. Young players with smaller racquets simply don’t possess the strength to return a blazingly fast yellow ball, and older players can’t quite cover the court like they used to do. That’s why he focuses on using low-compression balls during lessons and clinics for both youth players and senior players, with great results.

“I try to teach people where they can actually come out and enjoy the facilities, rather than just being frustrated,” said Gillespie.

Gillespie has been teaching tennis, mostly to youth players, at Lake Jovita since 2008. In fact, some of the best players on the Pasco High School varsity tennis teams in recent years were schooled by Bobby Gillespie at Lake Jovita.

The biggest plus Jovita has over other facilities is the courts, which he says gives players a “standout advantage.” The four Har Tru Hydro-grid soft clay courts, some of the few in Tampa Bay, are sub-irrigated so they are kept moist all the time, unlike a court that uses above-ground irrigation. Lake Jovita’s sub-irrigation makes for courts that are cushioned and easier on the joints of both young and older players.

“These courts are very forgiving on the body, and are some of the best I’ve ever taught on,” he said.

Here’s how the low-compression training works. Beginners and novices start out using orange balls on 60’ courts, where they learn the basics of hitting and grip with balls that don’t travel so fast that they can’t be returned. They then move up to intermediate training using green dot balls, which travel faster and require a little more strength to hit, before students graduate to standard yellow tennis balls.

“The most important lesson to learn in tennis isn’t that you need to be with people of the same age, but rather with people of the same skill level. I help players at Lake Jovita find their own niche of players to group up with. That keeps the game fun for all,” said Gillespie.

To learn more about tennis programs at Lake Jovita for players of all ages, contact Bobby Gillespie, USPTA professional, at 813-476-5787 or via email at To learn more about schedules and pricing, you can visit our website,


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