Eleven-year-old Rayshawn Pittman fills up the bulk of his time with two things: tennis and studying, and he is excelling at both of them.
Pittman took up the sport a little more than two years ago, when he and his three brothers were spotted by Fred and Richard Williams, who run the tennis shop at Rancho Cienega Sports Complex. Since then all four of them have been moving up the ranks on the youth circuit.
Pittman is the second youngest of the group, and like his brothers, he uses his superior athletic ability to get to balls that most of his opponents cannot. When he is on the attack, he uses his forehand swing to score points.
“The forehand is important because most players hit the ball to my right side, so I work to develop my forehand stronger,” Pittman said.
While most of his friends play football and basketball, Pittman and his brothers are taking a different route.
“It’s a really athletic sport and it really gets me into shape,” Pittman said. “When I’m playing tennis I feel really good about myself, and I feel comfortable with the sport.”
As much time as Pittman dedicates to the sport, he dedicates to his school work. His approach is pretty simply, and highly affective.
“I study and I do more than what I’m supposed to do,” Pittman said. “I do that so that I can get a higher grade, and so that the teachers will notice me.”
Pittman’s favorite subject is math, because he knows that there are a lot of jobs that deals with numbers. He wants to be an electrical engineer or an inventor, and he has one very unique idea.
“I want to invent rocket boots,” Pittman said.
These boots will allow people to hover above the ground, and move around more efficiently than walking.
Pittman will attend Audubon Middle School and Dorsey High School, and has dreams of playing tennis at UCLA.
“I know that at UCLA, they will encourage me to go further and push my limits,” Pittman said.
As much as Pittman likes tennis, it appears to be his backup plan just incase he does not become an engineer or inventor.
Coach Richard Williams has a lot of great things to say about his young athlete.
“He’s very talented, and he comes out here six to seven days a week,” Williams said. “He’s going to be strong if he continues to come out.
“He doesn’t give up. He runs after everything. He wants to get better, so he knows that he has to be in shape. That’s the sign of a future champion.”
Williams also points out that Pittman studies everyday of the week, and that he studies anywhere.
“He has his backpack where ever he goes,” Williams said. “I say ‘hey buddy, it’s Saturday, where you going with that backpack.’ He says that he might study something.”
Which ever route Pittman chooses, the way he approaches his tasks, he is bound to succeed.