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 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.

Rising Up for Parks and Recreation

July marks the celebration of Parks and Recreation Month and recognizes how integral of a role public parks play in our own communities. For many individuals, public parks are places for special experiences and making memories to last a lifetime. They are often gathering places for all ages to get involved in nature, celebrate special events, and take on many new adventures and sports like tennis

Having access to parks and recreation is a vital part of an active, thriving community. Many people pick up their tennis racquets for the first time on public tennis courts and subsequently fall in love with the sport. Tennis courts in public parks are spaces that welcome any age, ability, background, and income level to the game of tennis. It is where fun tennis experiences happen, from casual hitting around with friends and family, tennis lessons, camps, USTA League matches, tournaments and more, public parks in the Mid-Atlantic Section are where it is at for tennis! In fact, the 2022 Tennis Participation Survey Summary Report created by the Tennis Industry Association reported that 41% of all tennis participants in the Mid-Atlantic play tennis on courts in public parks.

In addition, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is shining light on how parks and recreation professionals have become public health leaders. “They have expanded programming and worked to fill gaps in access to physical activity, healthy food, chronic disease prevention and management, and social connections, as well as support academic and cultural enrichment opportunities,” said the NRPA. 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic we believe that tennis should be accessible to all in every community and public parks play a vital role in making this vision come true. We have compiled a few tips on how you can celebrate parks and recreation month and #RiseUpJuly for tennis in your own community so future tennis players prosper for years to come! 

Tip #1 Organize a public park tennis court clean up day

Cleaning up your own community can be fun and easy! Tennis courts can get pretty dirty quickly especially due to the outdoor elements. A blower and a broom can get the job done efficiently making an old court look brand new again! Contact your public park and work with them to organize the tennis court clean up day. There may be certain steps you will have to take and talking with your local parks and recreation department should be the first one. Once you are ready to go, they say teamwork makes the dream work so gather your own team made up of friends, tennis teammates,  neighbors, and/or even your family can get the job done. Giving your local park tennis courts some TLC is one of the best ways to get out there and help restore your own community park tennis courts.

By spreading the word, this can become an even bigger community event bringing together people from all backgrounds creating new social connections in your own backyard. You can also spark interest for others to try tennis when they see a beautiful, spruced up court to play on! 

Tip #2 Spread the word about the USTA Mid-Atlantic Facility Restoration Grant 

At USTA Mid-Atlantic we believe tennis creates community, character, and well-being. Having high-quality, well-maintained places to play tennis can improve community well-being and provide access to the benefits of tennis among communities that are underserved. We hope to be a helping hand in fostering social connections and uplifting communities by creating a fun environment and place in every community where all are welcome to thrive with tennis. 

Through the Facility Restoration Grant, USTA Mid-Atlantic provides up to $10,000 for tennis court construction and refurbishment. Public tennis courts, especially those in parks, schools, and communities are typically the first place where people are seeking the sport. While the application period is closed for this year, we offer the Facility Restoration Grant every year so make sure you’re on the lookout for when the application reopens! Make sure to tell your local park and recreation department about the grant and encourage them to apply. These grants would not be possible without the support from individuals like you donating and showing support for USTA Mid-Atlantic –  a non-profit organization. 

Tip #3 Organize your own tennis meetup or tennis social

There are many people who want to get involved with tennis but don’t know where to start or who to contact. All it takes is a few tennis enthusiasts to help grow the sport in your own community! You can organize a tennis meetup among the community to encourage people interested in playing to meet other tennis players, find other interested players, and get to know any community tennis associations, providers, or organizers.  Now this may sound like a daunting task but there are many resources available for you to be successful! Contact your local Parks and Recreation Department and discuss your idea for a tennis meetup or tennis social with them. Once you are ready to move forward, see if you can post a local event listing on their website. You can also ask if you can hang up your own posters at the local park so more people can spread the word. 

Looking for more ways to grow the game of tennis? There are many ways you can get involved and leave a lasting impact. Make sure you continue to celebrate and #RiseUpJuly for your local Parks and Recreation Departments by showing your appreciation in any way you can! 

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

Tackling Tennis Access

In 2017, the Aspen Institute selected Baltimore as the first city to implement a model initiative to identify and facilitate opportunities for a variety of leaders and stakeholders to come together and grow the quality and quantity of youth sport opportunities. Project Play Baltimore was a three-year collective impact initiative, and at the onset a draft report was published indicating the lack in activities and activity level for youth in the city. Only 26% of males and 16% of females met the CDC’s recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity daily. 

In the years following the initiative, significant progress has been made. Earlier this year, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced a $120 million vision for the city’s recreation and parks acknowledging the critical and vital role recreation plays in the well-being of residents, especially youth. 

Likewise, USTA Mid-Atlantic – a nonprofit organization – recognizes the significance and importance of ensuring access to tennis and the life-long benefits the sport provides. We envision a community where tennis is accessible and available for all people to play, especially youth who can benefit exponentially from the sport. We rely on the generosity and support of our community that helps us take on and tackle challenges – from increasing physical activity to addressing equity and access to tennis and more. 

Seeing the opportunity to make a significant impact and acknowledging Baltimore’s rich and deeply rooted tennis history, USTA Mid-Atlantic is taking a leadership role to bring tennis to more youth in the city of Baltimore (and in the County) and support the overarching vision for a healthier community and equity for recreation and youth sports. 

Thanks to support from the Ravens Foundation, Inc., through a Ravens PLAY 60 Grant, USTA Mid-Atlantic began implementing free and low-cost introductory tennis programs using the USTA Team Challenge format in Baltimore, primarily in Druid Hill Park and Patterson Park this spring, along with sessions not too far outside the city in Baltimore County. Additional funding from the Kahlert Foundation to the Section supported USTA Mid-Atlantic’s implementation of a new pilot tennis program called Girls Rule the Court™ offered in the city of Baltimore. 

Both tennis programs in Baltimore that USTA Mid-Atlantic offers are introductory, giving youth the chance to learn the fundamentals of tennis in a fun, low-pressure environment. All equipment is provided and use of public park tennis courts help make it easy and convenient to participate. 

Not only that, Baltimore youth gain increased physical activity levels and both programs are rooted in a positive youth development experience that facilitates social emotional learning (SEL) and supports an overall healthy well-being for young people.  

Developing SEL skills such as building confidence, character development, and creating meaningful peer connections is a key component in both programs. USTA Mid-Atlantic partnered with Hello Insight to measure SEL among participants of the programs. On average, participants reported a 84% satisfaction rate through the Hello Insight participation surveys. In addition through post surveys, “87% of participants also reported that they were able to positively share and listen to each other during the program, positively impacting their interpersonal relationships and communication skills.” Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development for USTA Mid-Atlantic reflected on the feedback received thus far from program participants, “This information enables us to grow the program in impactful ways and improve the overall experience for all participants in real time, thereby ensuring each young person is finding their unique path to thrive,” she said. 

The spring sessions concluded with 37 participants among both tennis program offerings in Baltimore, and summer programs are starting now. If you would like your child or someone else you know to participate in these rewarding tennis programs for youth check here for location, dates and details for the programs. Registration is open and all are encouraged to sign up. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic aims to continue to grow these programs and tennis offerings in Baltimore to increase access to tennis and support the vision that all children have access to sports. 

One way you can get involved and show support is by volunteering with us to help with both of these programs. Volunteers are the heart of USTA Mid-Atlantic and there are plenty of opportunities beyond these as well, such as volunteering at local tennis events, community events, joining committees, and other USTA Mid-Atlantic projects. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, check out our volunteer page, and visit our volunteer hub to learn more about how you can get started and sign up to volunteer. 

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.

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Refresh Your Tennis Life

Tennis is an ever evolving sport and whether you’re new to the courts or have been serving up aces for years, it’s never a bad time to go back and brush up on your knowledge and skills. At USTA Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS), we want to be the one stop source so you can get the most out of what you are putting into your tennis game. USTA MAS has many resources and platforms to help you in your tennis journey. With that being said, we’ve compiled a list of three quick and easy ideas to help you refresh and enrich your tennis life so you can rock the courts all year long!

Tip #1 Refresh your Skills

“Practice makes perfect” is what they say and it’s true! Tennis is one of the most dynamic sports where you have to be sharp in your mental game as well as your physical game. During National Tennis Month, USTA Mid-Atlantic created a weekly series of one-minute video clips to demonstrate different techniques and tennis strokes that you can practice right on your local courts! Stroke of the Week is a great way to launch yourself into new heights gaining new tennis skills to know or perfecting and refining mastered tennis skills along the way. 

Tip #2 Refresh your knowledge about your Tennis Community 

Though you may know a little bit about USTA Mid-Atlantic Section and the tennis community we are creating together, there is always so much more to learn! As a nonprofit organization, we strive to grow tennis and make the sport accessible so that ALL people can experience the benefits. This is the heart of everything we do at USTA MAS and we truly believe that through tennis, we can create character, community, and well-being for all. Did you know that USTA Mid-Atlantic provides: 

  • Scholarships to youth players with financial need so they can stay in tennis and gain the character building benefits of the sport; 
  • Grants to help build or refurbish tennis courts that stimulate communities and increase access to quality tennis infrastructure; and
  • Financial and other resources to community tennis providers and organizations that support tennis programs that build community, character, and well-being?

In fact, in 2021, we were able to fund programs that helped 800 people find their community through tennis! And that’s just one example of the ways tennis is making a difference and changing lives – there’s more in the 2021 Annual Report. It is really special when you are a part of something that helps others; learn more about how you can make a difference in the community here. 

Tip #3 Refresh your knowledge of tennis rules and tennis lingo!

Rules and regulations are one of the most important aspects of playing tennis. It is perfectly okay to not know every single rule during a tennis match, but it is important to try and understand as much as possible and learn the rules of tennis. The rules and regulations can vary based on the match such as a singles match or doubles match. Luckily, USTA has compiled numerous resources all in one place that detail every single tennis rule you could possibly have a question about! Plus the more you become acquainted with – or refresh your memory on – certain rules, it can help enhance your experience on the tennis court. Plus, when you know the rules and are confident, that can encourage more sportsmanship and that always makes tennis great! 

Another big confidence booster in tennis is knowing the right lingo! There are a lot of acronyms and terms that get thrown around while you are on the tennis court. If you are just starting in tennis you may be wondering what terms you should know so you can keep up with everyone else on the court. And learning how to speak the tennis language can be pretty fun! Knowing what to say and how to talk about tennis can give you a leg up on your competition. We have a full list of every tennis term and the definition of each tennis term you need to know! 

And that’s it! Refreshing your tennis life doesn’t take long at all and as always, USTA Mid-Atlantic is here to help you along your journey. Put these three tips in your tennis bag and you’ll be able to ace any match that serves up your way! 

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.