By Jeremy Carl
How do you get 7-10 year olds on a Saturday night during the summer playing tennis for two hours straight having the best time? The answer is USTA TennisBASH, a new tournament format gaining popularity all across the Mid-Atlantic.
A USTA TennisBASH is two-hour timed non-elimination round robin event with food, music and off-court games for the players. My seven-year-old daughter participated and has loved it ever since. As coach and father it was great to see for several reasons:
- Fun – Kids get chance to compete in a very fun and friendly atmosphere and get to experience their first tournament in a way that focuses on letting them enjoy playing. I will never forget that after the event was over, my daughter still wanted to hit with me for twenty more minutes.
- Learn doubles at an early age – While the specific format is up to the Tournament Director kids will play one or two rounds of doubles. Not only will they play doubles but they will play learning the proper positioning of the server, server’s partner, returner and returner’s partner. The advantage of playing on a correctly-size court is that it allows young players to position themselves just like the pros do.
- Expands Your Skill Set as a Coach – Most of my coaching career has been coaching players as opposed to running tournaments. However getting started running these TennisBASHes has only expanded my knowledge and skill set in expanding the game of tennis.
- Provides a fun playing opportunity for kids in your program – One of the biggest joys I have had as a tennis coach was seeing that 90% of the players in our first TennisBASG at our club were from our program. It was great to see them have the opportunity to start the tournament playing process in such a fun way.
- Helps coaches focus on coaching kids to learn how to play tennis and not just drill – Our club has always focused on coaching the game to turn our students into players of the game not just drillers on the court. The fact that we were holding a TennisBASH only helped ensure our coaching was much more efficient and effective to help kids get ready to do the five basic situations in playing the sport which are: Rallying from the baseline, coming to the net, dealing with opponent coming to net, serving, and returning.
- Provides exposure for your program – One of the most effective ways to get people into the doors of your club is hold events that both parents and kids find fun and productive. The Tennis Bash achieves both. Kids are having nonstop fun on the court and the parents get to see that themselves.
So next time you are looking to provide a fun 10 and under event that allows healthy, safe, and competitive competition try a USTA Tennis Bash. Who is ready to Bash?
Jeremy Carl is a USPTA Elite Professional, PTR Professional and USTA High Performance Coach. He was named the 2016 USPTA Mid-Atlantic Pro of the Year and is currently coaching at Belle Haven Country Club after coaching at Mount Vernon Athletic Club in recent years.