Darnell Greer grew up playing basketball. But, 40 years ago, his wife asked him to go out and give tennis a chance.
And he remembers how the game humbled and infuriated him all at the same time.
“We went out and it was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced,” Greer said. “I pick up sports pretty well so I was not going to let it beat me. It was more of an opposites attract kind of thing because me and tennis were not compatible when I started, but I couldn’t let it go. I wasn’t going to be beaten by a racket.”
Now he is dedicated to helping a new generation of aspiring tennis players get over their initial setbacks.
Greer came down from Irving for the third con-
secutive summer to assist Killeen coach Herman Jeter at the Killeen Tennis Camp this week.
Greer currently works for the Slam Jammers, a Dallas Tennis Association developmental program that seeks to provide each student an opportunity at playing tennis.
“I try to get some pros, people that have played tennis, know the science of tennis to come in and run some camps at my school,” Jeter said.
Unlike some camps that limit the participation to just kids that will be attending that high school, Killeen’s camp was open to everybody.
Jeter feels this will help the overall quality of tennis in the area, not just on the Kangaroo program.
“I love coming out here in the summer,” Greer said. “These guys don’t have a ton of tennis experience so it’s a lot of fun showing them things that they don’t hear about all of the time, that they don’t think about all of the time. Each coach has something different to bring and they seem to appreciate what I can bring.”
A handful of kids were out on the KHS court on Monday braving the increasing temperatures as a warm July morning was turning into a sweltering afternoon. They were listening to Greer as he gave out some tips and helped out with techniques.
Jeter said one of the advantages to having a guest coach is allowing the kids to have as many voices as possible and get different viewpoints on the game.
“Lots of my guys learn tennis by what I show them or what I have picked up over the years,” Jeter said. “They don’t understand the fundamentals of the science of how hitting the ball really works. By doing that, they can increase their consistency, that’s the big part.”
Jeter will be entering his 10th season as Killeen’s head coach and the Roos begin practice next week to begin preparations for the fall team tennis season. Killeen finished fifth during last year’s District 8-5A meet.
Jeter said the team lost its eight best players and the team will be young this year. But Jeter looks forward to the challenge of helping the team grow.
“We’ve got a month to get them gelled together,” Jeter said. “Once I can get them together, I’m excited about what we can do.”