Summer Tennis Successes - Kids Jumping

Summer of Tennis Successes

Tennis brought back fun for kids in the summer of uncertainty. 

Even with the change in normalcy this summer and in a time of the pandemic, there is plenty of summer tennis successes to report on. The momentum for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic kept ongoing, especially among youth players. Tennis proved to be the perfect solution for kids to have fun, stay active, and keep up with healthy habits while maintaining appropriate social distance (without being socially distant). 

Summer tennis programs needed to be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. With safety as a top priority USTA Mid-Atlantic – a nonprofit organization – and TGA Premier Youth Tennis innovated to host a variety of summer programs that met the needs of players, parents, and kids alike. Programs were provided in a way that was accessible to more people in support of USTA Mid-Atlantic’s mission.  

Summer of tennis successes in youth programs.

Through innovative experiences and new partnerships, record numbers of youth got active with tennis. In less than three months, USTA Mid-Atlantic saw 924 registrations in our summer recreation tennis programs.  

Kids and adults of all ages and levels practiced tennis, learned new skills, built friendships, and had plenty of fun this summer. 

We are excited to share a few highlights of the successes from the summer season: 

Loudoun County, Va.: 

  • We ran more than 20 one-day clinics. This gave families the flexibility without a long-term commitment. This was a new USTA Mid-Atlantic program and each clinic averaged 8-15 students. 
  • For high school tennis players, missing out on their spring season was devastating. But they came back swinging on the courts participating in two high school round-robin tournaments hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic. This gave players a chance to keep up with their tennis skills and have a friendly competition. Each tournament sold out due to demand.

Howard County, Md.:

  • A new record was set this summer for tennis camps. With our partner Howard County Recreation and Parks, there were 14 summer tennis camps. There were 186 participating players, the most that the county has seen in one summer.
  • USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran three neighborhood community tennis programs, to help residents get active. This included the first-time program at a senior-living community – showcasing that tennis is a lifetime sport. 

Fairfax County, Va.:

  • In Fairfax, both youth and adults got into tennis through recreation programs offered in two neighboring communities so people could stay close to home while pursuing tennis. 
  • In the Kingstowne community in Alexandria, Va., there were 32 registered players across several youth and adult classes, which was greater than previous summer tennis seasons. 

Virtual tennis: 

Applying lessons learned from a pilot in the spring, we continued offering virtual tennis classes this summer so that young players could practice tennis from the comfort of home. 

  • Overall, we had 66 registrations this summer, which is more than double from the spring pilot program.
  • Certified coaches from USTA Mid-Atlantic also ran free, weekly virtual tennis sessions through Facebook LIVE. This 30-minute program ran for 9 weeks and reached more than 1,500 people every week!
    • All of these sessions are now saved on USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Facebook page, click here. 

Continuing Summer Momentum:

“Going into the summer, there were a lot of unknowns and we were not sure how we would plan and provide our programs,” said Alex Chan, director of recreation programs for USTA Mid-Atlantic Section.

“But we knew families were looking for a safe sport that could get them out and active and saw a need for tennis in the Mid-Atlantic. We are really proud to have given so many people the chance to play tennis, and be active safely through our summer tennis programs.” 

Summer tennis this year in the Mid-Atlantic region was creative, innovative, and FUN. Through the creation of new, accessible opportunities across the Mid-Atlantic Section we were able to spread the love of tennis to more people, especially children who gain myriad benefits from the sport. 

The tennis fun will continue through the fall for children. No matter what the school year looks like, USTA Mid-Atlantic’s TGA Premier Youth Tennis has accessible and flexible options for tennis after school. To find a full list of programs near you, click here. 

Did you know USTA Mid-Atlantic is a non-profit organization with a mission to grow tennis? We are especially focused on ensuring more children have access to the sport no matter background, ability, or zip code. We invest resources and depend on generous donations that help us provide tennis programs in underserved communities so that ALL children can experience the life-long benefits of the sport. Learn more about our impact.

The Power of Coaching

I love tennis because it changed my life; I coach tennis because it has the power to change the lives of others! My name is Noe, and I moved from El Salvador to the United States and started my career as a tennis teaching professional. It is especially moving to see what the sport of tennis can do for a child and I want to continue to bring the benefits of this sport to as many children as possible. I’m sharing my experiences and telling you how you can help more children learn tennis by supporting USTA Mid-Atlantic.

“Always have fun!” I constantly stress this to my students that I coach in the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s youth tennis after school and summer camp programs.

Each week, I see children of all different backgrounds put a racquet in their hand and have fun together.

Growing up, I came from a poor community and didn’t have a way to play tennis. I am so impressed that this program helps make sure all children can learn the sport, no matter the circumstances.

In addition to working progressively each week on different tennis fundamentals, each session also engages participants in activities focusing on leadership skills and character development. These are the lessons that will shape children for life.

Let me share an example:

Earlier this spring, I was doing a fun challenge game with a group of my students. I was so inspired by one student in particular and how his practice outside of the program helped him focus on his game and control over the ball. When kids start the program they want to hit the ball as hard and as far as they can. In this game, the student-focused hard on controlling the ball and keeping it in play. He was able to rally and get the game moving with his peers. And the best part of the story is that it had only been a few weeks since the students picked up a racquet for the first time.

This is the magic of the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis programs for kids. Given the success of each program, the USTA Mid-Atlantic is committed to expanding the program reach – especially to schools and communities that are economically disadvantaged and need tennis programs the most.

They cannot do this alone, they need your support to introduce tennis to more kids in the Mid-Atlantic region. A tax deductible gift of $100.74 covers the cost of equipment, a high-quality curriculum, and instruction for one child in the program.

This year, an anonymous donor will match all donations up to $10,000 for 2019. Join me and double your gift and impact by giving today because every child deserves this experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story about the power of tennis and the power of USTA Mid-Atlantic.

Sincerely,

Noe

Proud Coach, USTA Mid-Atlantic After School Youth Tennis Program

P.S. USTA Mid-Atlantic has reached more than 1,300 kids so far in 2019 and more than 10,000 overall since the program’s inception in 2016. Your tax deductible gift of $100.74 will help another child experience the love of tennis.

Unique Partnership Breaks Down Barriers to Tennis

Building confidence. Developing character. Acquiring the skills needed to become productive, responsible adults.

That’s what the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW) strives to do for the youth in their clubs.

These aspects are also what USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, delivers to young people through the sport of tennis, while also giving kids a physical outlet and path to friendships and fun that can stay with them for a lifetime. USTA Mid-Atlantic depends on contributions and donations to succeed on the mission to not only grow tennis but to change lives and improve communities through the sport.

With synergies apparent, USTA Mid-Atlantic and BGCGW partnered together during the summer of 2018 to bring tennis to kids age 5 – 18 that did not have access to the sport. Nearly half of the population served by BGCGW lives at or below poverty level, and in populations such as these, most don’t have access to tennis. Thanks to the USTA Mid-Atlantic, more than 400 of these kids got the feel of the racquet, most for the very first time.

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USTA Mid-Atlantic delivered tennis to two BGCGW locations including the Culmore Club and the Martin K. Alloy Club of Manassas. For the Culmore club, participants came from Bailey’s Elementary, Glasgow Middle School and Glen Forest Elementary, in Fairfax County, Va. Counselors-in-training also joined, all of which were from Justice High School in Falls Church, Va. For the Martin K. Alloy Club at least 20 different schools were represented as part of Prince William County Public School District, Manassas City School District, or Manassas Park City School District.

Over the course of 10 weeks, USTA Mid-Atlantic delivered tennis summer camp programming, which introduces tennis through fun and enriching experiences, incorporates STEM concepts and builds life skills such as respect, honesty, decision-making and sportsmanship through the game.20180817_105322-1242007325-1540390083859.jpg

USTA Mid-Atlantic provided verified and trained coaches to run the tennis programming along with the racquets, balls, curriculum and fun. The children didn’t just learn how to hit forehands and backhands. They learned about the benefits that come with playing tennis, such as:

  • Tennis is great exercise. It uses every muscle in the body and is a sport that they can play for their entire life;
  • Anyone can play tennis no matter their ability, and families can play together;
  • Sportsmanship, honesty and friendship are the all at the forefront of playing tennis.

Thanks to grant funding secured by USTA Mid-Atlantic, the tennis program was provided to the participants of the BGCGW at no cost.

“Because of the USTA Mid-Atlantic program over the summer, our kids were able to get exposed to a sport that they would not normally get the opportunity to participate in,” said Yolanda Gales, program director for Culmore Boys & Girls Club. “While it was hot and at times the weather seemed to not be as dry as they would have liked, they all enjoyed going out and being allowed to hit balls with each other while learning different techniques.”20180817_105251-2643274327-1540389946660.jpg

For USTA Mid-Atlantic, it is the highest priority to have all children in the Mid-Atlantic play tennis and experience the life-long benefits that come from the game – no matter their background, zip code, resources or ability.

“Our vision is that every child in the Mid-Atlantic plays tennis because we see first-hand how the sport transforms lives and helps kids gain qualities that will serve them on and off the tennis court,” said Tara Fitzpatrick-Navarro, chief executive officer of USTA Mid-Atlantic. “We were excited to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington because together we were able to break down barriers and help kids find new qualities in themselves that they may not ever have imagined were there by sampling a new sport.”

Gales said some kids enjoyed learning the ins and outs of a new sport as well as being exposed to something different.

“Getting the kids involved in something out of their norm is what the Boys & Girls Clubs attempts do with partnerships like the one with USTA Mid-Atlantic,” Gales said. “Most of our elementary and middle schoolers are not given the opportunity to play sports after school unless they are playing for the Boys & Girls Club. And because most of our children come from below poverty income households, getting exposed to anything outside of what they are able to play in their front yards seems impossible to obtain.”

Gales is grateful that USTA Mid-Atlantic invested in the future of hundreds of local kids and is hopeful that the partnership will continue.

“We would love to have the opportunity to have USTA Mid-Atlantic come again during the school year,” she said.

This school year, USTA Mid-Atlantic is delivering their tennis programming after school in both Prince William and Fairfax counties, with hopes of expanding into many of the schools that serve the BGCGW participants. With tennis programming being provided immediately following the school day within school buildings, the organization aims to create a safe environment that gives kids a positive outlet and shows them the way to healthy habits for life and continues the lessons learned during the summer.

But support is needed to make programs like the one delivered this summer with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington available for low to no-cost to the students in these under-resourced communities.

With your help, USTA Mid-Atlantic can bring more tennis programs to these kids and meet the goal of reaching 4,256 youth with after school tennis programming and enrichment. You can show your support by making a donation today.  


 

Harry Holtzclaw is an intern with USTA Mid-Atlantic. Harry is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Recreation Management from James Madison University.