When you are a middle-schooler there are lots of different things to be obsessed with: the latest fashion trend, that post on social media, the hottest music, hilarious memes and so much more that dominate the world of tweens and teens of today. For some middle-schoolers in the Mid-Atlantic region, they are adding a different obsession to their list – tennis.
As thousands of children participate in USTA Mid-Atlantic youth after school tennis in elementary schools and progress through the program, many are taking their tennis skills with them into middle school. And many middle-schoolers are finding their love for tennis for the first time too. That’s why USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, began after school tennis in area middle schools to introduce the sport to more kids, and give those that have been playing an outlet to continue to pursue their game. It is fundamental to the mission of USTA Mid-Atlantic to offer programs such as these and, thanks to the support of donations, it enables us to offer them in a way that reduces barriers and makes tennis more accessible to all kids.
In one local middle school in Loudoun County, Va., participants in the after school tennis program saw a new potential in themselves they never knew existed. Week after week, their tennis skills improved and they were becoming more confident in their game, so much so they set a goal to get to the next level – the high school tennis team.
But to do that, they knew they would need to work hard and take their practice further.
With the encouragement of their after school tennis coaches and USTA Mid-Atlantic, they created their own tennis club team. So far, more than 65 middle school youth have participated in the middle school tennis club.
The club meets on Sundays for two hours and the focus is advancing the kids’ fundamentals of tennis strokes followed by team activities and matches. This allows the participants to bridge the gap between their learn-to-play experience and competition in a fun, low-pressure setting.
And the work is paying off.
Some of the middle school club members had the confidence to enter their first entry level USTA Junior Tournament this past spring, several practiced throughout the summer on a weekly basis, and some have continued to hone their skills with additional lessons.
New shirts for the USTA Mid-Atlantic middle school club team
And now with school back in session, the club is practicing regularly. Recently this fall, 18 tennis club players from two different middle schools played each other in a friendly round robin competition in both singles and doubles matches. Using their improved skills from all the practice sessions, they were able to complete matches and see all their hard work come together in real match play experiences. At the end of the day, the players and coaches talked about the highs and lows of match play and shared best practices with their biggest takeaway – you must get your serve in! They celebrated their success with new team t-shirts and popsicles; a perfect ending to a good day on the tennis court.
For all of the middle school tennis club participants, learning the sport and playing in a team setting is proving to be a powerful experience that is inspiring them to do more and to discover a new talent, maybe even an obsession, with tennis.
USTA Mid-Atlantic wants to bring the power of tennis to more middle school students and children all across our region this school year through after school programs, but we need help to make this happen.
As the school year is just getting underway, your gift can make an immediate difference. Importantly, you can double your gift when you give thanks to an anonymous donor matching all donations up to $10,000 in 2019.
You can help change lives through the power of the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program. Give today.
USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.