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Hall Captains Bartow, Fla., Tennis Team to First-Ever USTA League Sectionals – USTA Florida February Volunteer of the Month

April 11, 2010 07:00 PM

 

Fran Hall

In small tennis markets, putting together league teams can be a challenge for any tennis advocate. Ask Winter Haven's Fran Hall, USTA Florida's February 2010 Volunteer of the Month, who attributes her team captaining blueprint and a good deal of her drive to her tennis mentor, Lucia Gillette of the small Bartow Tennis Club.

"When I first moved to Florida, I had not played on a competitive team in several years," said Hall, who now has five years under her belt as a league captain. "I was unable to find a team who was willing to take a chance on me. This is when I found Lucia Gillette. She was willing to take me onto her team as a 3.5 player. I was able to get the playing time I needed to improve. My skills have improved and I decided I wanted to be able to return Lucia's kindness by extending the same opportunities to other ladies who may be in the same situation I found myself several years ago. She is the reason I decided to become a team captain."

Now as a veteran volunteer league captain for USTA Florida, Hall beats the bushes around the Bartow area, west of Winter Haven and Orlando, in an effort to share the joy of tennis, especially with beginner players.

"Recruiting has been challenging," Hall says of the smaller Bartow area. "The first task we had to conquer was to get the Bartow Club on the list as [official] USTA Florida courts. I recruited my team from a group of ladies who were having difficulty finding teams with which to play. Our team has been together for four years now."

This year Hall organized a new group of 3.0 women who wanted to improve their competitive games, but had never played USTA League Tennis before. The women turned out to be league champions in their first outing.

"They won first place and are looking forward to going to Daytona Beach in May [for the 3.0 Section Championships]," Hall said. "This will be the first time a team from Bartow has won with women playing their first time in USTA League. Because of their success, it has encouraged others from the Bartow area to play on an adult 3.0 team for the first time. Being the captain of these ladies team has been very rewarding."

Hall finds volunteering rewarding in a number of arenas besides tennis, including fundraisers for her children's Parent-Teacher Association, hosting holiday dinners for soldiers who are on active duty away from home, and organizing a tennis tournament to raise money for books for the "Barbados Kids Project."

"My advice to people that might want to get involved in volunteering in tennis is it could help other to learn to love the game as I have," Hall says. "I would say if you have an interest in becoming a volunteer, just do it. It is very rewarding to give your time and energy to something you love. It is an opportunity to cultivate others’ love for the game into a passion.

“I love the people I coach, the people I play, and the new, interesting people I meet along the way." 

ABOUT FRAN

Birthplace: Ullin, Ill.
Family Members: Gene Hall (husband), two grown children and three grandchildren 
Favorite Movie: Sound of Music
Favorite Food: Thai
Favorite Travel Spot: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Favorite Tennis Shot: volley

My earliest tennis memory was...I learned very late in life how to play tennis. I was stationed over in India and had the opportunity to find a coach to teach me the techniques. However, it was not until I moved to Florida that I actually improved my skills enough to be competitive. 

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be...Roger Federer because of his great backhand, Justine Henin because I would learn a lot, and Andy Roddick because he is the best American player and not too bad to look at either. 

When I am not playing tennis I am...playing golf or running.

Best-ever tennis memory...was when I went to San Francisco to play in the Senior Games. It was fun, competitive and a great learning experience. 

 

 

 

 

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