Falling Into a Tennis Routine

The first day of fall is here and as the seasons change, so can your tennis routine. Gone are the long, easy-going days of summer where you could be out on the tennis court for hours. Now, the fall frenzy is here with its faster pace, back-to-school, back to the office, lot’s on the to-do-list before the end of the year vibe. Your head might be spinning in circles wondering how you’re going to balance it all! 

That’s where tennis can come in! 

Getting into a routine that consistently includes tennis can help you find balance while gaining physical and social well-being. Fall is a great time to focus on tennis for youth and adults alike.  

Here are three easy ways to ensure you and your family are set up for success this fall making tennis part of your life.

Tip #1: Try a New Tennis League Type or One Where You Control the Schedule

In the Mid-Atlantic, if you are into playing organized tennis the fall is a great time to try a different type of USTA League program than what you may have played in the spring or throughout the summer. This time of year you can find league types such as Combo and Tri-Level which are formats that bring different level players together to form a team. This is a fun way to play with different people and expand your tennis community. Not only that, it can be a way to up-level your own game as you pair up and compete with those at different NTRP levels giving you exposure to different styles and levels of tennis play. Plus, this time of year can be a little more low-key and relaxed in these league types, but still with great competition and fun. Find what is being offered in your local area and register now. 

When your schedule becomes too hectic, how can you fit in your tennis time? We have the perfect idea for you and that is joining a USTA Mid-Atlantic Flex League! 

Flex Leagues provide the opportunity for you to still compete in tennis all the while creating your own schedule to do it! You choose the location, date, and time to play your matches, perfectly crafting all the details to meet your needs. Fall 2022 Flex Leagues have started but you can get involved at any point in time! 

If you’ve been hitting around recreationally this past summer or took some tennis lessons and are ready to take the next step, we’ve got you covered. This fall, there are new beginner “mini leagues,” for tennis that are a great next step after taking tennis lessons. This program helps you get acquainted with playing tennis on a League team. We’ve also got different social tennis opportunities too. Check out what’s being offered and sign up! 

Maybe this summer you watched some exciting professionals play tennis and you’re ready to become more than a fan. Visit our Welcome to Tennis hub to learn about all the ways you can get into the sport in the Mid-Atlantic. 

Tip #2: Find Extracurricular Activities for the Kiddos 

Back to school time is always an adjustment for kids. Although they are in school all day, children are still full of energy when they get home from school. Research has shown that getting children involved in extracurricular activities not only helps their social skills but also helps develop them mentally. “Kids do best when they have structure and routine, and those involved in extracurriculars perform better academically,” said Dr. Harpreet Kaur, a licensed clinical psychologist for kids and teens in California. 

Getting children involved in youth sports is not always easy for every family. According to a recent study by PEW Research, socioeconomic status plays a role in whether children generally participate in various activities after school. At USTA Mid-Atlantic, our top priority is increasing access to tennis so that ALL people can experience the life-long benefits of the sport. One such program contributing to our mission is Girls Rule the Court™ (GRTC). GRTC is a free to low-cost program that aims to promote health, wellness, and teamwork while building self-esteem through tennis for young girls. Girls find access and connection to the lifelong sport of tennis while growing their technical, tactical, and performance skills. They create meaningful and beneficial connections while engaging in important dialogue about teamwork, empowerment, and the benefits of moving your body. Learn more about this program and how you can get involved. 

You can also find an array of fun and developmentally appropriate junior programs offered in the Mid-Atlantic to get kids into tennis this fall. 

Bonus Tip: Apply for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship to help with costs associated with tennis for your child. This can be for ANY level player – beginner, intermediate or advanced – and can help with tennis class registration fees, lessons, equipment and more. The Scholarship application is available now and accepting applications until October 17, 2022! 

Tip #3: Volunteer with USTA Mid-Atlantic! 

Lets face it, you still might not be able to make it to the courts this season with your busy schedule but there are still ways you can leave your mark on the tennis community year-round! Volunteering is a great way to still be involved with tennis while also making a direct impact on the section. There are many ways to volunteer such as at local events, community events, committees, and more! The best part is, you choose what works best for your schedule. Another way of contributing is through donating. Our USTA Mid-Atlantic Serve Squad is a dedicated and passionate community sustained by supporters on a mission to grow and develop the sport of tennis for all people throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Serve Squad continues to give on a monthly basis in hope to ensure tennis is accessible to all. 

We sure hope all of these tips help you FALL in love with your new tennis routine! 

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

How You Can Serve it Forward to Youth Players this Summer!

Kids want to play tennis and all we have to do is put them on a path to get into the game. But sometimes, things get in the way. The cost of lessons or tennis summer camp fees, or even equipment can be more than some can afford. This is why we fundraise! 

We fundraise so that more youth players in need can have the chance to play. We fundraise to support scholarships that can help cover tennis expenses for any level youth tennis player. We fundraise so no one has to fall behind or have less time on the tennis court than someone else. 

All children deserve to play tennis and scholarships from USTA Mid-Atlantic make it so more youth can get into and stay in the sport. 

Join USTA Mid-Atlantic and fundraise in the Summer Smash challenge. This year all money raised in the challenge will fund scholarships for youth tennis players. 

And we need you now more than ever. 

The Junior Player Scholarship application period has been open only for a couple of weeks and we have received an overwhelming number of applications, more than we have ever seen before. We will exhaust all the funding we have for the scholarship just in this first round of applications. But so many more kids need help and need to be able to play tennis! 

Tennis continues to be an outlet for kids to get involved, make friends, and be active.  This year’s Summer Smash fundraising will directly fund youth tennis players with scholarships so they gain the healthy benefits of the sport we all love! 

Let’s Smash the Challenge Together 

This challenge provides a fun, easy way for your team to compete against other Mid-Atlantic teams to see how much money you can raise for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Scholarship program. It’s truly a special experience. 

“It’s fun sharing something important to me and telling others about its benefits,” said Robin Sanford, the top fundraiser in the 2021 Summer Smash Challenge. “I also love a challenge!”

Over the last 10 years, USTA Mid-Atlantic has awarded 91 youth players with scholarships to help cover expenses related to tennis and keep them playing. The goal is to raise $5,000 to fund more youth player scholarships and respond to the growing need among players and their families/caregivers. 

Here are the easy steps to get your fundraiser on a roll: 

  1. SIGN UP
    Click here
    to register as an individual with the option to join a team later!
  2. SHARE YOUR PAGE
    Personalize your page with your tennis story, photos and videos then share the news with your network.
  3. GET MORE SUPPORTERS
    Ask your friends and tennis teammates to join your team; you can send them a custom link to sign up on your dashboard. Also, share your fundraising page with friends and family asking them to support you so that more kids can experience the benefits of tennis!

“I set up my page and then emailed it to about 15 people individually, who I thought might be willing to help,” Sanford said. “These were family and friends who I thought would be willing to support my effort and help a good cause;they responded very generously.”

Here are four tips to help guide you towards a successful fundraiser: 

  • Make your first donation to your page, $5, $10, $25 or more is a great way to get started and show others you really care. 
  • Invite your fellow tennis players to join your fundraising team so that together you can reach your goal!
  • Share your fundraising page with family and friends and ask them to help you reach your goal. Share your page in a text message, on your Facebook page or Instagram page or even send an email! Friends help friends that ask! 
  • Send thank you notes to all who donate to your page and let them know they are helping to change lives through the sport of tennis!

The Perks of the Summer Smash 

Now, we do know tennis players love a little friendly competition! In recognition of that, you and your team could WIN big by going big with your efforts. 

Summer Smash 2022 top fundraiser prizes:

  • 1st Place: Citi Open Team Experience! Includes (15) tickets for your team to attend the 2022 Citi Open together this summer in Washington, DC among other surprises!
  • 2nd Place: Set of custom tennis shirts for you and your team and customized team cooler from the Spoiled Office AND a 2-hour tennis clinic for 12 at The Boar’s Head Resort!
  • 3rd Place: (15) $50 Gift Cards to TennisTopia, one for each member of your team AND a 2-hour tennis clinic for 12 at Wintergreen Resort!

The challenge ends July 11th, so let’s get started!

Participating in Summer Smash is a great way to begin leaving your impact on the Mid-Atlantic tennis community, but your journey doesn’t have to stop there! If you’re looking to do more to grow tennis in your community, there are various ways to get involved year-round and make an impact.

Questions? Contact Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development, cvargas@mas.usta.com.

To stay up to date on all things tennis in the Mid-Atlantic make sure to follow USTA Mid-Atlantic on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Serving Off Court: Gearing Up With TennisTopia

Excitement is building in the Mid-Atlantic as tennis players are getting out more and more to play. Over the last few weeks, USTA Mid-Atlantic teamed up with local business owners on our  #ServeItForward business list for info that can help you get back on the court. So far, we shared fitness tips from LaRue Cook, owner of LEC Fitness, and a healthy recipe to fuel your body from Corey Kuck, owner of Catering By Corey

Now, we turn our attention to tennis gear and caught up with Darrell Haines, the owner and founder of local Mid-Atlantic tennis shop TennisTopia

A Michigan native, Darrell was introduced to tennis by his dad who managed a tennis club and supported Darrell in his love for tennis. Growing up, Darrell played junior competitive tennis tournaments and eventually went on to play for Ferris State University in Michigan. While at Ferris State, Darrell majored in Professional Tennis Management and Marketing. After college, he eventually landed in Montgomery County, Maryland and opened TennisTopia in Rockville, Md., in 2006.

What Darrell loves most about TennisTopia is connecting with people. From competitive players to those just starting out, Darrell enjoys learning about his customers and then helping them select the right tennis gear that is suited to their needs and play – a highly personalized approach. He also loves the diversity of tennis and how tennis can bring people together. 

In our conversation with Darrell, we chatted about tennis gear and the services that TennisTopia offers. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: What are a few unique products or services that your shop offers? 

Darrell Haines: We offer while-you-wait racquet restringing services. We have two professional stringers that have both strung on the pro tour. In fact, one of the stringers is one of the few stringers in the world to string three of the four grand slams in the same year.

Stringing really can make a difference for someone depending on their level of play. When you have a bad string job, you can really tell the difference. It is our stringing services that set us apart from other shops.

We also offer one-to-one customer service and our staff is very knowledgeable about our products. The goal of every staff member is to help players choose gear that is best for them, no matter what their level of play is. 

As we return to play, what are your top 5 items everyone should have in their tennis bag?

First and foremost, everyone should definitely have their mask and hand sanitizer, but apart from that, I recommend having an extra racquet so you have a backup. You never know when you might break a string or have something happen to the grip. 

Next, I recommend having an extra pair of shoes for after you play. Fourth, I recommend having wristbands. Wristbands are great to help absorb extra sweat and to keep the sweat from getting on the racquet. Finally, keep extra tennis balls in your bag. 

What are a few tips for taking care of your gear – especially after a prolonged absence from tennis?

After not playing for a few months, I highly recommend that everyone restring and regrip their racquets. Regular restringing helps keep your game consistent. I would recommend restringing your racquet twice a year. Also, it is important to replace grips because good grips help you from gripping the racquet too hard which can lead to tennis elbow. Lower level players often undervalue the power of a newer string job and what a new grip can do for your play and technique. Those two things really do make a big difference on your play.

Any final thoughts about getting back on court?

People are getting back to playing tennis and it’s so nice to see. It really is a lifetime sport.

As a valued partner of the #ServeItForward campaign, TennisTopia is offering 10% off all purchases with promo code: MAS10 and all online orders of $50 or more are eligible for 2-day free shipping. Visit the store in-person in at 827-A Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD or check out their online store!

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to continue to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Corey Kuck - Eating healthy to return to tennis

Serving off the court: Fueling Your Body for Tennis

You’re playing tennis regularly and working on your game but still feel like you need extra energy to make it through a match. Sound like you? If so, you may need to take a look at your nutrition.

Healthy, balanced eating consistently could give you the boost of energy and enhance your athletic performance on the tennis courts.

So many people are excited to get out and play tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region, and so we want to help you not only get back to playing but have a few nutrition tips and a healthy recipe that can help you get your nutrition on point, and ready to fuel your tennis game from the inside out.

We caught up with another local business owner featured on the #ServeItForward business list Corey Kuck, Chef, and owner of Catering By Corey for his thoughts on tennis, cooking and a simple, healthy recipe for you to try out. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic: Where are you from originally?

Corey Kuck:  Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Where do you live now? 

Leesburg, VA

How long have you been playing tennis? 

A little more than 1 year.

How did you get started playing tennis?

 I never really played before but did I try out for my High School team against the number 1 player. I didn’t win. I didn’t pick up a racquet again until I met my girlfriend and last year, she got me involved in playing tennis.

How often do you play and where? 

I try to play socially at River Creek Club in Leesburg once or twice a week. If I am not able to hit with someone, then I use the ball machine to improve my skills. I try to take lessons once a week as well. 

How does it feel to be back out on the courts?

 It feels great to be on the courts. My game is progressing and tennis is one sport that you can safely play during the pandemic. It helps me relieve stress.

Let’s switch gears and talk about food  . . .

How long have you been a Chef? 

I have been in the industry as a cook and chef for 22 years 

Where did you train?

 I am a self-taught chef. I started early on by watching my mother at home; my mother is a great cook. I then progressed to learning through hands-on experience from people with all skill levels in the industry. I jumped from restaurant to restaurant every two years to make sure that I learned to cook dishes from all over the world and continuously honed my skills.

What drew you to cooking? 

Cooking is artistic, delicious and I get to play with knives and fire.

What’s your favorite dish? 

That is an impossible question to answer as it always changes because of my love for food. I always like a good Taco.

What do you want people to know about your business?

I not only cater, but I make homemade meals for busy families or those that want healthy home meals.

What are a few nutrition tips tennis players should keep in mind while returning to the courts? Always hydrate. Watch your sugar intake and make sure you get enough potassium and carbs before a match.

To help fuel your body to get back out on the court, try Corey’s Summer Herb Pesto crusted Pork Tenderloin with Mediterranean Couscous:

Ingredients:  

1 or 2 pork tenderloin

2- 3 teaspoons minced (Dried) onion

1 teaspoon granulated garlic per pork tenderloin

¾ of a teaspoon ground ginger

salt and pepper to taste

1 capful apple cider vinegar per pork tenderloin

3 heaping tablespoons summer herb pesto (store brand is fine) 

1 ½ cup of plain couscous 

1 ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth

1 12oz can of quartered or chopped artichoke hearts

1 med to large fresh tomato

½ to ¾ cup fresh basil

½ cup fresh Italian parsley 

4 or 5 cloves of fresh garlic 

½ of medium red onion

½ cup feta cheese

⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar

⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

½ of lemon

½ of lime

Herb pesto crusted Pork Tenderloin: 

  1. Clean Pork Tenderloin of all silverskin, pat dry then drizzle about one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar on pork and rub in.  Season with dried Onion, granulated garlic, ground ginger, salt, and fresh ground black pepper and rub in.  
  2. Sear pork in a medium-high cast iron pan with oil of choice.  When all sides of pork are seared and have a rich golden brown color, take off the heat and let cool for 5 min. 
  3. Rub the summer herb pesto all over the tenderloin.  
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet and finish in a 350-degree oven for 13 to 17 min depending on the size of tenderloin and preference of the doneness of pork (Medium to well done).  

For the Mediterranean  Couscous (you can make a day in advance) 

  1. Prepare a plain couscous with a vegetable or chicken broth according to the directions.  Fork fluff the couscous and put in the fridge.  
  2. Mince fresh garlic (4 or 5 cloves) and lightly roast in a small pan with oil at medium-low temperature until toasted, take off the heat, and set aside. 
  3. Cut fresh basil and Italian parsley, dice artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, and red onion.  
  4. In a large bowl toss in the couscous,  drizzle white balsamic vinegar over couscous, and extra virgin olive oil about 1/4 cup of each.  
  5. Add all of the vegetables and herbs and squeeze one half of a lime and lemon into the couscous and toss all together and refrigerate until you serve.

Now that you have a few quick nutrition tips, don’t forget to check out LaRue Cook’s tips on preparing your body for tennis

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Let us know how you or your tennis friends #ServeItForward by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com.

Sources: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Harvard Medical School

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise-eating-healthy#breakfast

Serving Off Court: Three Tips for Preparing Your Body for Summer Tennis

After missing almost the entire spring tennis season, players are eager to take to the local courts and get in some tennis this summer as the sport resumes in the Mid-Atlantic. However, long absences from tennis may mean approaching getting back onto the court differently than you may be used to, both physically and with the equipment you use. 

As part of our #ServeItForward campaign, USTA Mid-Atlantic has teamed up with some local experts and tennis business owners – featured on the #ServeItForward business list –   to bring you tips and info that can help you get back into tennis.  

First up, we talked with LaRue Cook, Owner/Managing Member of LEC Fitness, LLC. LaRue has more than 24 years of sports performance training experience and has served as consultant and trainer to various tennis, golf, fitness, and health organizations and programs such as Army-Navy Club and Aspen Hill Racquet Club. Additionally, he has written/contributed a number of articles for publications and organizations such as the International Tennis Performance Association, Tennis View Magazine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. His articles covered topics such as Tennis Fitness and Conditioning, Injury Prevention for Athletes, Post-Rehab Training, and Strength and Conditioning for Female Athletes.

LaRue knows firsthand the powerful effect of post-rehabilitation strength and conditioning.  During his senior year of high school, LaRue was on track to play collegiate baseball when he suffered a rotator cuff injury. He was unable to continue playing and was in significant pain for years until he started post-rehabilitation strengthening exercises. The strengthening exercises specifically targeted the muscles surrounding his injury and allowed him to regain the strength and movement necessary to return to sports.

In the years since LaRue returned to playing sports, he took up tennis. 

“I primarily compete in USTA-sanctioned tournaments,” LaRue says.  Last year he represented the Mid-Atlantic Section at the NTRP National 50+ Championships in Surprise, AZ, and ranked in the Top 10 of the Mid-Atlantic Men’s 4.0 Adult [18+] Singles for more than 10 years.  

With all of LaRue’s experience as a tennis player and professional in sports training, USTA Mid-Atlantic asked him for a few tips for getting back out on the courts in the summer months and after an absence from regularly playing. 

Here are his top three tips: 

Tip #1: Warm up by doing a series of dynamic stretches 

During the summer tennis season, a common misconception is that the warm weather outside is an adequate warm-up for playing sports or exercise. However, your body does not function this way. The best and most effective way to warm up your major muscles and joints is to perform dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are a series of repetitive motions that increase your range of motion and slightly increase your core temperature. These stretches are used for warming up the muscles and loosening the joints to prepare them for a strenuous workout. 

Try this quick, 5-minute warm-up consisting of side shuffles, backpedal jog, power skip plus reach, and walking knee to chest.

Tip #2: Do not underestimate how heat can affect your body 

Heat can be harmful during the summer tennis season and conditions ranging from muscle cramping to heat exhaustion can creep up on players. Therefore, it is especially important to stay hydrated by drinking at regular intervals to replace some of the fluids the body loses through sweating. Equally as important is to cover up with clothing and sunscreen. Light-colored, breathable clothing and sunscreen of at least 30 SPF will protect the skin and help your body stay cool while on the court.

Tip #3: Take it easy the first few times you return to court

During the last several months, many of us have not been as active as we normally would be and because of this, we may have all regressed in our ability to play tennis. Do not return to the court expecting that you will immediately perform at the same level of play you had prior to the pandemic shutdowns. Take it easy and be patient with your body as it gets used to being active again.

LaRue’s final nugget of advice:  “Remember, the most important piece of equipment you ALWAYS take out onto the court with you is your body. Tune it up through exercise and conditioning before trying to go ‘full tilt’ back into the competition!”

USTA Mid-Atlantic hopes that these excellent tips will help your body adjust to getting out to play! 

USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need.  Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community. 

Let us know how you or your tennis friends #ServeItForward by emailing hughes@mas.usta.com.