Tennis Obsession in Middle Schools in the Mid-Atlantic

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. 

middle-school-club-320x195In 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.

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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.

After School Program Sparks Love for Tennis

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section partnered  with Belvedere Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va., to introduce tennis as a brand new after school program during the 2018-2019 school year. The program was met with incredible enthusiasm and both the fall and spring sessions were completely full. Many children picked up a tennis racquet and began learning the sport for the first time. 

While tennis brought the student population together and helped create camaraderie through learning a new sport together, one student in particular had an experience that’s proving to be even more meaningful than expected.Maryn-belvedere-3

Maryn P., joined the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section’s after school tennis program at Belvedere Elementary last school year and according to her mom Jaana, it has opened up a whole new love of sport – especially tennis – for the young girl. 

“I am so glad that tennis is offered as an after school activity at Belvedere Elementary here in Fairfax, Va! My husband and I very much enjoy playing tennis and really wanted our daughter Maryn to learn the sport too but didn’t know how to get her started,” explained Jaana. 

“We were very thankful for tennis to be offered after school so she can learn the basics and that she could do it with other kids from school.  We thought it would be a great start, and more fun than just us [teaching her],” she added. 

As a non-profit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic aims to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and one way we do that is by providing high-quality after school tennis programs with the support of donations. We want all people, especially children to experience the benefits of tennis, a lifelong sport, so they can develop skills and healthy habits that will pay dividends for years to come.  

For Jaana, the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program has sparked an excitement in Maryn for the sport that has been enjoyable to see blossom, and doors to new opportunities are opening.  

“I think the after school tennis program has really sparked an interest with Maryn.  She was interested in watching Wimbledon this year, and we even went to the kids day at the Citi Open tournament, which we wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for the USTA Mid-Atlantic after school tennis program. Maryn really enjoyed participating in a tennis summer camp program as well. She is looking forward to playing tennis again as school starts. I’m so glad to have had the program offered so she can at least start learning the basics, and who knows where it will go from there,” Jaana said.

As for Maryn, learning a new sport has been pure fun.Maryn-belvedere-1

“I love learning and getting to the next level.  I was very excited to get to the red level to get a new racquet! I told my friend on the bus and now she is going to play this fall too because she also wants a racquet. I really enjoy hitting the ball back and forth- it’s fun,” she says.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is looking forward to kicking off the 2019-2020 school year of after school tennis at Belvedere Elementary and many other schools across the Mid-Atlantic region. We aim to introduce more children to tennis and spark their love of a new sport they may not have ever known. But we need to help to ensure we can succeed.

Your tax-deductible gift of $100.74 covers the cost to provide equipment, a high-quality curriculum, and instruction for one child in the program. USTA Mid-Atlantic provides all of this so participants just need to come ready to play and have fun.

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. 

Father’s Day Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

New and exciting ways to celebrate Dad with a tennis twist.

This Sunday is Father’s Day and if you feel you have exhausted all possible ways to celebrate Dad we are here to help!

Is Dad the one that is never late for a tennis match with his buddies? Or maybe he’s the one jumping at any chance to play tennis tournaments? Or was Dad “the man” for being at every one of your matches or tournaments, motivating you and fueling you up to do your best?

USTA Mid-Atlantic has compiled different, fun and exciting experiences to celebrate Dad – and it is all through your shared love of TENNIS. And the best part, you can continue them as a tradition for years to come.

So instead of gifting the yearly bow tie, a “#1 Dad” coffee mug, or socks this Father’s Day look to these ideas for inspiration on how you can salute Dad.

  • Find a court in a local park that you have never played at before and hit around with Dad. Enjoy taking in the experience of playing somewhere new, pack a picnic basket and take time for good conversation after the match;
  • Cardio tennis is becoming a huge deal, in about an hour you get a great workout in and enjoy tennis – take the whole family to your favorite court and set up cardio tennis drills or find a class near you;
  • Wimbledon is fast approaching – cook a traditional English style breakfast to share with Dad and the whole family. Bonus points for everyone that comes in white!
  • Have used tennis balls, and don’t know what to do with them? You and Dad can take them to a local animal shelter or SPCA and share the gift of tennis with all of the playful dogs;
  • Honor Dad and set up a Facebook fundraiser raising money in his name for USTA Mid-Atlantic, or donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic in your Dad’s honor;
  • Is Dad a champion for local tennis or doing something innovative for the sport in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section? Recognize and celebrate your Dad by nominating him for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Award;
  • Challenge your Dad to an on-court steps challenge – use your smartwatch or step tracker and see who can get more steps in a game of tennis;
  • Honor Dad  and purchase a brick at the US Open with his name on it;
  • Volunteer with Dad for the day at a local Community Tennis Association or see if there is a local tennis court that needs some sprucing up that you can do together as a way to give back to the local community;
  • Do you and Dad share a love for woodworking? Make a vintage tennis racquet basket to use in any room in the house;
  • And last, bake and decorate cupcakes, cookies or a cake like a tennis ball and share the tennis treat with family and friends!

Don’t just settle for a boring Father’s Day gift this year. Try something new and create a lasting tradition with Dad and the family.

Give Recognition – Nominate Champions of Tennis Today

Every year, USTA Mid-Atlantic recognizes and awards individuals and organizations that are champions in the tennis community. Award season is an exciting time of the year because individuals and organizations are being nominated by peers and others who are working hand-in-hand to fulfill a common goal, which is to bring more tennis to the community.

The accomplishments being made in the community for tennis take time, passion and commitment. Being recognized for this hard work can leave a lasting impression, validate the importance of the work being done, and can inspire others as an example to emulate. That is why it is important to nominate deserving individuals and organizations today!

We turned to last years’ award winners and asked them about the significance of being nominated and awarded a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award.

When Jill Rene Steele, the Principal of Simpson Elementary School in West Virginia, was asked what it meant to her and her school to be awarded the Outstanding School Partner Award she said, “We were so honored to be chosen, and thrilled to be involved.” Simpson Elementary was a USTA Mid-Atlantic school partner and offered in-school opportunities to students eager to learn tennis in 2018. “Our school has gained increased confidence in realizing we can attain recognition for achievements at a greater level than just locally,” Jill notes further.

Not only are organizations recognized for their achievement in promoting tennis across the region, but individuals are also being celebrated as well.

When Riley King, winner of the Most Valuable Member Award, was asked why it is important for fellow members to nominate deserving individuals for awards he said, “It is nice to show recognition to those who invest in a sport and have a positive influence on others.” He further noted, “I’m never surprised how widespread and far-reaching the tennis community is, and yet it always feels like a “small world” because you are able to make so many connections to different people.” For Riley, being involved in this sport is not just about teaching tennis, it is about building relationships within the community as well.

Another individual who notes the importance of nominating people and organizations for a Mid-Atlantic Section award is Jerry Cifuentes. Jerry won the Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award in 2018 and winning this award continues to be a positive reinforcement in his life. When asked how it felt to be recognized in front of a crowd of people at the Washington Kastles match he said, “The feeling was incredible! It gave me the motivation to continue to do what I love, which is teaching tennis.” Not only did it feel great for Jerry to be awarded this honor, but it gave him the confidence to continue to move forward with his work. “I want to continue to work with those who may not be exposed to tennis, due to cultural, racial, or social boundaries; and I want to put them at the forefront of my coaching,” he said.

All award winners felt honored to be recognized by peers and motivated to continue to bring tennis to more people in the future.

Now it is your turn to leave your mark. If you know a deserving person or group to honor with a USTA Mid-Atlantic Section award, nominate them today and let them know they have made a positive impact for tennis.

USTA Mid-Atlantic will be accepting nominations until July 1 and will present the winners with their awards on July 20 at USTA Family Day at The Washington Kastles. Happy nominating!

If you have any further questions, please reach out to Megan Driscoll at driscoll@mas.usta.com and we will be happy to assist.

Make a Difference: Try a Facebook Fundraiser for USTA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic tennis community has one thing in common – a passion and love for the sport of tennis that is so infectious you cant help but want to play the sport!  Meet any Mid-Atlantic tennis player and they will share all the reasons why tennis is so great, and then they will recruit you to play on their team too! It is this passion for tennis and influence that is so inspiring.

As a non-profit organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic depends on this enthusiasm – and donations – to help us achieve our mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis. We aim to make tennis the most accessible sport in the region and our highest priority is to introduce tennis to all children.

Our youth tennis programs bring the sport to kids who may not ever have the opportunity to pick up a racquet. These programs are directly provided by USTA Mid-Atlantic and need support to grow to reach even more children with the benefits that only tennis can deliver.

This is where the Mid-Atlantic tennis community enthusiasm, creativity and passion can come in! We know there are many tennis players and enthusiasts that want to do more to support the mission. So here is a way you can get involved…

Rally your friends and family through a Facebook Fundraiser! 

By doing a Facebook Fundraiser in support of the USTA Mid-Atlantic you help put a racquet in the hands of a child, and help connect them with a sport for life! Facebook fundraisers are really easy to do and can be done to celebrate your birthday, a special occasion or just to do something good! 

Here are 3 easy steps to getting your Facebook fundraiser off the ground!

  1. Visit our USTA Mid-Atlantic Facebook Page and “like” our page!
  2. Click “Create Fundraiser” on our page or follow this link (https://www.facebook.com/fund/ustamas/) and follow the steps to create your own personalized Facebook Fundraising Page!
  3. Share your fundraiser with friends and family by inviting them from your friends list!

Just getting 10 friends to give $10 equates to $100 to support local youth tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section and that will make a big difference in a young child’s life. Doing good can be easy, fun and feels great! Give a Facebook fundraiser a try! 

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.