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Jacksonville, Fla., Announced as Latest $100K USTA Tennis Market Initiative

January 19, 2012 01:58 PM
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Jacksonville, Fla., will receive $100,000 of combined funding from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) national body and the USTA Florida Section as a designated "Target Market Initiative" to grow 10 and Under Tennis through local community partnerships, and tennis programming in K-12 Duval County schools and beyond.

Programming will begin in February with physical education assemblies in designated schools, leading to a Tennis Festival at Burnette Park on Feb. 25, 2012. The festival will be organized by USTA Florida, Jax Parks & Recreation and the Jax Youth Tennis Association.

"This will be a pilot event, and we want to take what we learn from this festival and duplicate the success at other Duval County sites in the fall of 2012," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Amanda Becker. "The Target Market Initiative is a three-year grant that we expect to show significant results in getting kids active. Tennis is one of the best ways for kids to become healthy and physically fit, and it remains the fastest-growing sport out there."

The USTA national Target Market Initiative began in 2011 as a $2.5 million investment in 25 tennis communities throughout the United States to grow the game and encourage young people across the country to get active and participate in the format specifically for small children on child-sized courts with age-appropriate equipment. Jacksonville joins three existing Florida TMIs announced in 2011 in Hillsborough County (Greater Tampa), Seminole County (Greater Orlando), and the Village of Wellington (Palm Beach County).

Other early partners in the venture include public and private tennis facilities and schools, the Jacksonville Mayor's Office, Atlantic Beach Parks, District 2 of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Florida Section, First Coast YMCA, the Jacksonville Police Athletic League, the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, the Jacksonville Youth Tennis Association, and USTA national trainers among others.

"We are currently working on a master calendar for 10 and Under Tennis events in Jacksonville, and that will be posted on www.USTAjacksonville.com," Becker said. "We will also be soliciting for community volunteers to help with area events."

The $100,000 USTA grants are for a three-year period to provide a pathway for 10 and Under Tennis to USTA Jr. Team Tennis, middle school and high school play, onto college, USTA Tennis on Campus and adult league/tournament play. The primary effort is to boost the number of players age 10 and under, where the U.S. trails many of the larger developed countries.
 
"These three-year initiatives in Hillsborough, Seminole, Village of Wellington, and now Jacksonville are unique because they bring everyone to the same table, whereas in most communities, all these entities are working independently to grow tennis," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland.
 
10 and Under Tennis is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of 10 and Under Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.
 
For more information contact Amanda Becker at becker@florida.usta.com.

 
 

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