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QuickStart Tournament Series Energizing 10-Under Tennis in Florida

May 6, 2010 07:00 PM

QuickStart Tennis with the foam ball for beginners


QuickStart Tennis with the decompressed ball


Children 10-and-under cycle through various
skill-enhancing stations during a QuickStart clinic
at Red Bug Park in Casselberry, Fla., near Orlando

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- May 7, 2010 --
QuickStart Tennis is changing the way youngsters are introduced to the game in Florida, with size-appropriate racquets, nets, and foam or decompressed balls allowing children 10-and-under to immediately engage in rallies with an emphasis on fun rather than instruction.

In facilities across Florida, children are also now being introduced to competitive play through QuickStart.

"This year's QuickStart tournaments are the vision for the future for competitive 10 and under tournaments. The philosophy is for the children to get used to playing competitive tournaments, but with the QuickStart format," says USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone. "I feel we have chosen five top-notch tournament directors who will keep Florida on the right path in QuickStart tournaments."

Gladstone points out five Florida facilities throughout the state that will be holding multiple QuickStart Tennis tournaments each through the remainder of 2010 (see schedule at bottom).

"I love these tournaments because they are round robin format and finish in three hours," Gladstone says. "What a great way to start a tournament player -- lots of competition, but fun as well. Competition is great for kids, we just have to remember the fun aspect."

In Gainesville at the new Jonesville Tennis Center, QuickStart Director and league organizer Bobbie Mehan will be overseeing the facility's first QuickStart tournaments. The Jonesville Tennis Center has been implementing QuickStart lessons and leagues from the first day it opened in April 2009.

"We started with five kids the first season, then 10 kids the second season, now in our third season we have four different clubs doing QuickStart league play," Mehan says. "What happens is the kids come every week and take a lesson and leave, unless you get them involved in league or tournament play. And then it becomes more of a team sport, and it becomes a lot more fun. I'm really looking forward to our tournament, we're hoping to get around 20 kids."

Eli Rivera will host QuickStart Tennis tournaments in the Orlando area at the Fort Gatlin Tennis Center, the Lake Cane Tennis Center, and the Orlando Tennis Center.

"All QuickStart programs must be headed up by highly-trained, and more importantly, highly-motivated instructors," Rivera says. "Some of the more motivated programs here are at Lake Cane, spearheaded by Susie Rahimitabar, and Diana Marti at Fort Gatlin Tennis. Kevin Barnes, head tennis pro and director for Hebni Nutrition KYDS, leads the way reaching the inner city children. Having these programs feeding into my Quickstart leagues gives me greater success."

USTA Florida offers many QuickStart Tennis workshops throughout the year, which can be found at:
http://www.usatennisflorida.usta.com/Global/Custom Pages/Community Tennis Pages/2005_Workshops.aspx

One of the main components of QuickStart Tennis is fun, according to Rivera.
"Children having fun with tennis will continue to want to play," Rivera says. "When children are playing, parents are eager to sign them up. With the reality of today's economy, parents are searching for programs which will give them more for their dollars. What better program than QuickStart. Where can you go and pay $19 for USTA membership and receive a tennis racket or bag? Parents pay an initial league fee of $35 and receive a great team shirt and two hours of league play for seven weeks, plus awards and a pizza party."

Down south in Stuart, Fla., Halpatiokee Park Director of Tennis Jim Richards will be running three QuickStart Tennis tournaments at the Halpatiokee public park. Richards says QuickStart is the best way to introduce, motivate and improve beginner tennis players, and allows players to almost instantly master play what would take years with traditional equipment (high-bouncing balls and racquets that are too large for children) and teaching methods.

"I know, because I spent the first eight years of my career teaching the traditional way and saw how long it took," Richards says. "Tennis teachers will like QuickStart since their improvement rate is 500% above traditional methods."

Richards emphasizes that the fun and confidence instilled in children by the QuickStart Tennis format are what bring children in, and keep them in the game.

"My numbers in the 10-and-under group have tripled since using QuickStart," Richards says. "And it's not surprising why. QuickStart meets the motivation needs of kids in terms of having fun and an absence of over-teaching. QuickStart gives kids confidence and motivates them to continue in the sport since they are successful."

According to Gladstone, the list of leading facilities conducting QuickStart Tennis tournaments throughout the remainder of 2010 includes:

Midtown Tennis (Weston, Fla.) Contact: Luis Brest, luis.brest@midtown.com
Tournament Dates: Aug. 21, Oct. 2, Nov. 27

Halpatiokee Park (Stuart, Fla.) Contact: Jim Richard, jrichards259@gmail.com
Tournament Dates: April 24 (concluded), Oct. 30, Dec. 4

Fort Gatlin/Lake Cane/Orlando Tennis Center (Orlando, Fla.) Contact: Eli Rivera, tennisplayzone@aol.com
Tournament Dates: June 5, Aug. 15, Oct. 23

Jonesville Tennis Center (Gainesville, Fla.) Contact: Bobbie Mehan, curlym1@aol.com
Tournament Dates: May 22, June 26, Sept. 19

Roger Scott Tennis Center (Pensacola, Fla.) Contact: Cindy Lozier, clozier@mchsi.com
Tournament Dates: June 17, two additional TBA

Click here for more information on USTA Florida QuickStart Tennis offerings.






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