Since 2016 we have offered summer mentoring for beginners and those wanting to improve
their performance on the game’s basics. These free sessions are held at Sycamore Park, at
the corner of Carpenter and Clark Streets in Palatine. They’re every Wednesday morning from
9:00 to Noon.
There are three courts. Historically, each has one or two mentors who stay put. Every 30
minutes, Mentorees rotated clockwise so, by the end of the morning, they’ll have had
instruction from each Mentor or pair of Mentors. These sessions drew from 24 to 32 students
per week. Afterward, playing games with court-side coaching or playing with the Mentors.
The program has been revamped for COVID safety. Now we have two, one-hour sessions.
Students will stay on one court with one Mentor (and, maybe an Assistant). Each has his/her
own ball and touches only it. Of course, masks are required. There are only four students per
court so, over two sessions, we can serve 24 in a day.
While most participants are 50+, we enjoy having the occasional junior high or high school
The mentoring sessions run from mid-May through mid-October. A week later we hold the
annual Mentorees Round Robin Tournament. All students who participated in at least a
couple sessions are eligible. The Mentors serve as referees who give no coaching, just
rulings. In 2020 18 loved participating in this tournament. It’s all for tun and to test the skills
that have been learned
Obviously, the photos are from prior years. When it’s safe to do so, we’ll likely return to this 3
Mentors per day format for all. Meantime, our COVID protocol has been well received, just for
fewer Palatine Picklers.