How the Youth Player Scholarship Grew Thanks to the Summer Smash

At the beginning of the summer, we asked for all hands on deck to fundraise for youth players in the section through our Mid-Atlantic fundraising challenge, Summer Smash. We asked you to step up, team up, and help raise money to fund more scholarships for youth players that help cover tennis expenses and enable youth players to start – and stay – in tennis. 

Earlier in 2022, USTA Mid-Atlantic received an overwhelming number of applications for scholarships, more than we had ever received in prior years. The scholarship funding, which is supported by generous gifts made by the tennis community, was fully exhausted as we awarded funds to as many applicants in need as possible. And there were many more youth players that still needed help. 

Growing tennis for all individuals and increasing access to the sport helps introduce tennis to players that may not have had the opportunity to participate. It opens the doors to potential pathways for success and personal growth. This is especially important among youth and in areas where resources are limited. The USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship helps fill in the gaps to keep tennis expenses lower.  With so many applicants seeking help from the scholarship fund, we knew we had to do something to answer their call. 

That is why we needed YOU in the Summer Smash.

This year’s Summer Smash challenge brought together friends, family, and even old teammates for a summer full of fundraising! Six teams got their communities and networks to raise money toward the fundraiser for scholarships. 

The goal was to raise $5,000 to fund more youth player scholarships and respond to the growing need among players and their families/caregivers. In the end that goal was smashed, and the total amount raised was $8,534! We expect to be able to award at least 20 additional players with scholarships this year! 

“I am really grateful for my teammates and friends that wanted to support the scholarship program,” said the leader of the top fundraising team, Amy O’Brien. “I want someone that does not have the same opportunity to play tennis to have a chance to play in a sport that can be life changing.”

The dedication from all of the teams to raise funds and the generous gifts the teams received make it possible that more youth can apply for and receive scholarships for tennis. It means that more youth in the Mid-Atlantic will ultimately continue their journey in tennis, experiencing the life-long benefits from the game. 

So, let’s congratulate the teams who smashed the 2022 Summer Smash fundraising goal: 

  • 1st Place: Amy O’Brien’s Team
  • 2nd Place: Chris Lee’s Team “Leegal Eagles” 
  • 3rd Place: Tynika Wilson’s Team

Each winner received various prizes including:

1st Place: Citi Open Team Experience! Included 15 tickets for the team to attend the 2022 Citi Open in Washington, DC.

2nd Place: A set of custom tennis shirts for the entire 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: Included 15 $50 Gift Cards to TennisTopia, one for each member of the team AND a 2-hour tennis clinic for 12 at Wintergreen Resort.  

Thank you to all individuals who participated, and all who made gifts to support the fundraising challenge. YOU are the reason more young people can participate in tennis. 

Looking to join in on the fun?

The next fundraising challenge will take place in 2023.

While this challenge may be over for now, you can still make a gift to support scholarships and other programs that help make tennis accessible to all in the Mid-Atlantic. When you make a gift you help tennis create community, character and well-being among all people for years to come. 

If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, we have plenty of additional ways to play so you can leave your mark today!

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 Tennis Can Help You Honor Your Mental Health Year-round

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a great time to familiarize yourself with education and awareness on the topic. Taking care of your mental well-being and speaking out about mental health should be and can be honored year round. At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe tennis has the ability to foster character, community, and well-being for every individual. Part of the well-being aspect of tennis is social, emotional and mental health benefits. 

Professional players such as Naomi Osaka have spoken out about just how important it is to take care and acknowledge the state of your mental well-being and shedding light on how it’s okay to just take a break sometimes. According to the Physician and Sportsmedicine Journal Vol 37, when participating in tennis, “Regular participants experience a wide variety of health-related physical and mental benefits, from improved cardiovascular, metabolic, and bone health to improved agility, coordination, and even stress and anxiety management.” 

The benefits tennis has on your mental and physical well-being don’t stop there either. “Since tennis requires alertness and tactical thinking, it may generate new connections between nerves in the brain and thus promote a lifetime of continuing development of the brain, reported scientists at the University of Illinois.” Through a multitude of studies conducted, check out this list of 34 specific benefits on how tennis is a lifetime sport for ALL ages! 

Tennis is a sport that caters to all ages and abilities and USTA MAS strives to make tennis as accessible to every community as possible. As we recognize Mental Health Awareness month (and national physical fitness and sports month), we are serving up a few ideas for ways you can get into tennis and hopefully experience the well-being benefits the sport provides. 

Ways to get out on the Mid-Atlantic courts this season:

  1. Join a USTA MAS League
    Finding your place on court to play and compete can be just what you need to bust the stress.  Check out our step by step guide to become a USTA Mid-Atlantic adult league player. Still need a little more assistance? Check out Tennis Connect and we will help you find the right match for a team in your area or contact Leagues@mas.usta.com for more information on adult tennis opportunities.
  2. Join a Flex League
    Have a busy schedule? Flex Leagues are a great way to still join in on the fun all the while fitting your time on court into your own day! You choose the location, date, and time to play your matches so you can still curate that healthy balance in your life. 
  3. Recreational Play
    Tennis can be a method of relaxation and not just for competition. Looking to brush up on your skills? Or are you looking to get your family involved in the fun? Recreational play is a great way to just find your passion in tennis and the ability to learn something new! 

Taking care of your mental health can look different for each person. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to expressing yourself. Tennis is meant to be a fun sport that gives you lasting experiences you can enjoy! If you are looking for more resources on mental health, USTA has several articles for both adults and youth players. 

Jack Groppel & Nicholas DiNubile (2009) Tennis: For the Health of It!, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 37:2, 40-50, DOI: 10.3810/psm.2009.06.1708

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.

Beat the Heat this Summer

May is National Tennis Month, the unofficial start to summer and the season of much warmer months! We’re slowly creeping up to summer and summer-like temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic and you know what that means: lots and lots of heat! 

As tennis players, you may have been playing indoors in climate-controlled conditions during the winter months and playing tennis outdoors during the more temperate spring weather feels pretty glorious. Transitioning from indoor to outdoor play, and from mild to hot weather can be a little bit of an adjustment especially if you’re not used to it or ready for it. You’ve got to prepare! 

We want you all to have an amazing summer tennis season and be prepared to play your best tennis even when the temps are rising high. So we’ve created a list of reminders of how to beat the heat when playing tennis so you can continue to rock the court this summer! 

Tip 1: Stay Hydrated

Hydration, hydration, hydration! Ensuring you’re keeping yourself hydrated before AND after a practice/match is essential to keep your body going. To do so, replenish with the same amount of liquid as you lose through sweat. That’s about 32-85 ounces during an hour of play. Try to hydrate well before outdoor play to avoid dehydration! If you’re looking for an extra boost, try Vitalyte, an electrolyte powder that replenishes nutrients at a faster pace. The best part is that you can take it on the go to any match and/or practice!  Check out more information on why hydration is so important to help you rule the court.  

Tip 2: Fuel Up

Food is energy; it’s what keeps your body going! It is important to fuel up with a balanced meal 3-4 hours before a match. In addition, to keep energy levels up during a match, it’s a good idea to have a light snack 1-2 hours beforehand. If allowed by the facility, bring an energy bar with you on court and have a couple bites during changeovers. 

Tip 3: Keep it Cool

Ice packs and coolers are great ways to physically cool down and also keep your drinks cold while you’re playing. You can cool down faster during changeovers by applying ice packs against your neck, underarms, and core, but avoid putting ice directly on your joints and limbs. Looking for a new cooler to take with you to the tennis courts? The USTA Mid-Atlantic Store from the Spoiled Office has great options if you’re looking for that perfect cooler that you can easily store your items in or even a new water bottle – plus these items allow you to rep USTA MAS! In addition, make sure you are wearing breathable clothing. Wearing breathable fabric during play is an effective way to stay cool. Clothing with mesh panels can also help prevent overheating by allowing your skin to breathe. 

Tip 4: Sun Protection

Sunscreen is essential to protect your skin when you are outdoors playing tennis! Sunburn can increase skin temperature and cause the body to be less efficient in cooling itself. Applying sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplying at least every 2 hours can help prevent any discomfort that may follow with being in the heat so long. Also, packing a hat, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing can bring extra protection while you’re playing on the court! 

Summer brings some of the best memories on and off the tennis court. This list should have you ready to ace this summer season! If you’re looking for a way to get involved and play tennis, you can find tennis programs in your local area so you can take part in something fun all while being active! Plus USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis creates community, character, and well-being benefits that can last a lifetime. 

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.

Spring into Tennis

With clean courts

We’ve all heard the term “spring cleaning” before. Generally, it is a time when individuals get rid of unwanted clutter in their lives. Spring cleaning initiates a new slate of opportunities where you can be productive in a clear space. 

Now think about how productive and impactful it would be to apply the spring cleaning method to your community tennis courts. At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we know that your community tennis court is like your second home. So let us help you create opportunities to make your second home – the tennis courts –  fresh for the new spring season. 

To help you get started, we have compiled a list of three things that you can do right now to prepare your community tennis courts and spring into the new tennis season. Take a look at the three simple steps to spring clean your tennis courts below: 

#1: Apply for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Facility Restoration Grant

Having safe, well-maintained places to play improves community well-being, enhances the attractiveness of neighborhoods, and provides access to the benefits of tennis for all community members. USTA Mid-Atlantic Section offers the Facility Restoration Grant which can provide up to $10,000 for tennis court construction and refurbishment. This grant can provide direct support to communities looking to spruce up their local courts. As a nonprofit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic is able to provide this grant thanks to generous gifts by supporters like you. 

Depending on where you play tennis in your community, you may need to work with local community organizations on the application process. For example if you play tennis in your neighborhood and you have a Homeowners Association, you will need to work with them on the application. If you play tennis in your local park, go to your Park and Recreation Department and tell them about the funding opportunity and that the application is available. The pathways are endless to clean up your local courts and you’re doing your part to make tennis available for all. 

For more information on our grants and assistance, please click here. 

#2: Organize your own spring clean up day for your community tennis court

Earth day is right around the corner – April 22 to be exact. Organizing your own spring clean up day of your local community tennis courts would be a great way to celebrate Earth Day. 

Having a clean and refreshed court will encourage others to venture out to play more tennis. It may even help a player pick up a racquet for the first time when they see the immaculate conditions of their local tennis court.  

The best part about a spring clean up day for your community tennis court is that you don’t even need to have a lot of people! Start small by asking your friends and family to help you and then ask them to also spread the word. Whether it becomes a large or small turn out, with a few helping hands your court can get spruced up in no time. Plus, this will help spread your love for tennis to new levels. Your impact on cleaning up your local community court will help tennis be accessible for all.

#3: Share your love for tennis beyond the court

Become an advocate for the tennis courts in your community. You can work with your parks and recreation department or homeowners association to ensure that the tennis courts are regularly monitored and maintained. 

Advocating for your courts would include activities such as notifying the owners of the courts if repairs are needed such as cracks in the courts or damaged nets; mentioning funding resources such as the Facility Recovery grant, or organizing regular clean up days. Promoting accessible and welcome community courts helps ensure that all people can enjoy safe and maintained tennis courts.

USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being. When you participate in “spring cleaning” of your local community tennis courts, you will foster a welcoming environment for ALL to come and play tennis.  

If you’re looking to do more to grow tennis in your community, there are ample ways to get involved and make an impact. The courts will be waiting for you and we can’t wait to see you all there! 

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.

Four Ways to Develop New Friendships through Tennis

As we get older one thing remains true, everyone is in a constant cycle of change. 

People move, people get married, people travel, people start families, people take on new careers or businesses, there are many journeys that life takes us on as we go through adulthood. As your journey unfolds, you may find yourself in a place where you are searching for new friends and social connection. 

Making friends during childhood or the teen years is an important life-skill that develops and seems to come pretty easily. However, making friends as an adult when you’re way past those stages and don’t have free time on a playground, can sometimes feel overwhelming and intimidating. 

You may be wondering where to start and where to find those authentic friendships that will be fulfilling. Sometimes making new friends means connecting back to you and giving yourself the motivation to look inward to your passions and interests that maybe you’ve put aside, or it may mean you need to get out of your comfort zone and try something new to find new friendships. 

And that’s where tennis comes in! 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we believe tennis creates character, community, and well-being for ALL. With millions – 1.3 to be exact –  of people playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic region, the community and network that is created and shared among tennis players is often one of the top reasons cited for playing the sport. The social aspect of tennis is undeniable. We hear countless stories of how tennis brings people together in unique ways to share in a common interest and passion. 

Plus, tennis is a lifetime sport so no matter what stage of life you are in, you can find yourself in the game and discovering new connections and relationships. 

Making friends in adulthood isn’t always easy, but we’ve got some tips that may help you find those besties and buddies you can’t live without all while getting to experience the health and well-being benefits tennis provides. 

Tip #1 Take a Chance and Put Yourself out There

Trying a new sport in your adult life can seem way more intimidating on the outside looking in. You don’t know the terminology, you may not know the rules, but what you can do is start small! 

You can find tennis programs in your local area that will help you learn the basics and begin in the sport. In these settings, you may be in a small group of adults all learning together and that can be the fun, shared experience that allows a friendship to form. In fact, check out this story of a group of strangers that started their tennis journey together and became a close-knit group of friends

Tip #2 Join a USTA League

If you’ve played tennis before or play on your own, USTA League may be the way to go to find new friends. USTA League is team-based and that means you have the opportunity to meet new people in your local area that share an interest in playing and competing recreationally in tennis. USTA League in the Mid-Atlantic has many different levels and age divisions where you can find your fit. USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is special because there are individuals from all walks of life that come together as a TEAM to help each other grow and learn. Not only do you get the chance to make new friends with your teammates, you may even find that your network gets wider as you play against different teams and opponents that you also start to get to know. Soon enough, you may find that your team on court becomes like a family off the court. 

Have you been looking to join a team? USTA Mid-Atlantic is here to help you get started. Check out the information we’ve made available. You can contact us through Tennis Connect if you need help finding a team.   

Tip #3 Volunteer with USTA Mid-Atlantic

Volunteers are what keep USTA Mid-Atlantic going as they are an intricate part of the growth of tennis in our region. Not only is volunteering a great way to get involved in your own community, it is also a great way to meet plenty of new people who enjoy the sport of tennis just as much as you do! Through volunteering you can become inspired and inspire others to put yourself out there, meet new people, and embrace the sport with full confidence. 

There are many ways to get involved and volunteer at local tennis events, community events, joining committees, and other USTA Mid-Atlantic projects; you can find the right fit for YOU. If you are interested visit our volunteer page to find out more.

#4 Start Up a Conversation

Do you have a child that plays tennis and you’re always at their matches and practices? Well this is a great chance to take the time to connect with other parents! Starting up a conversation with other parents while waiting for your child can be a great way to find a new connection. You could also organize a tennis parents meet up or lesson that runs while your children are learning in their class. Sparking new conversations at your local courts can bring new opportunities to connect with others who may have the same interest as you and your family. Tennis is a dynamic sport that can bring many new adventures all while having fun.

In the end, there could be a list of 20 different ways to foster new friendships through tennis but you will never truly know if you don’t take a leap of faith and try it out! In tennis, you have to put trust into the players next to you, it requires teamwork and communication which in turn can develop strong bonds and lifelong friends on and off the court. There are so many ways to get involved and the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is here to help you on this journey. We can’t wait to see you out on the courts soon! 

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.