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What Is USA School Tennis?

December 6, 2005 09:54 AM

What Is USA School Tennis?

The USA School Tennis program is a great way to introduce tennis to students of all ages. USA School Tennis is facilitated by

USTA representatives who provide instruction to physical education teachers for the skills needed to instruct a basic tennis

unit. Teachers participating in this in-service program receive free step-by-step instruction manuals. Equipment is available

for those who establish a close alliance with an after school tennis program that uses a USA Team Tennis format. The Arkansas

Tennis Association also offers fun, motivational school assemblies as a way to kick off your tennis unit. Assemblies are held

free of charge and are designed to show kids how easy it is to play tennis. This 45-minute program includes prizes, student

and teacher volunteers from the audience, and exciting tennis exhibitions. The purpose of USA School Tennis is to encourage

PE teachers to teach tennis in their curriculum and to link students to after school tennis programs.

Guiding Principles and National Standards

For tennis to be the most popular sport in physical education classes, at recess, and after school and that when

participation studies are done in the future, people will remember their first experience in schools and parks as a great

Overall Philosophy:

USA School Tennis must reach beyond introducing tennis to students in physical education classes. The goal should be to

establish and direct students to organized after school and summer programs (ideally involving team tennis formats). The most

effective school tennis approach involves coordinating with parks and recreation, youth organizations, community tennis

associations, and facilities in order to create a complete pathway of program options for children of all ages.

Key initiatives that support this philosophy include Adopt-a-School efforts and the establishment of intramural and

interscholastic based programs (e.g. mid-school leagues). For examples of these programs, please refer to the “Linking to

After School Programs” segment in this manual.
Qualifications for USA School Tennis Support:

Schools can qualify for USA School Tennis support including free and discounted equipment, teacher training, curriculum

materials, and a school assembly by meeting the following requirements:

    * Attend a USA School Tennis In-service (3 hours) provided free of charge by the USTA.
    * Agree to offer a tennis unit within the physical education curriculum (minimum of 6 contact sessions)
    * Agree to implement and teach an After-School Tennis Program at the school or help publicize and promote an after school

tennis program available in the area.
    * Respond each year to a USTA questionnaire (one per school) which asks for suggestions and overall evaluation of USA

School Tennis support.
    * Agree to take advantage of available programs offered to enhance the tennis curriculum, such as a USA School Tennis

assembly, Kids Day Tennis Event, or Development Coaches Workshop.
    * Join the USTA as an organizational member for $25.00 (optional)
      * Schools must submit a commitment form agreeing to the requirements listed above to receive USA School Tennis



The following equipment is available for those who establish a close alliance with an after school tennis program that uses a

USA Team Tennis format:

    * Set of racquets
    * Curriculum Guide
    * Case of foam or low compression balls
    * Lightweight short court system (available on a buy 1 get 1 free program through the section, while supplies last)
    * Additional equipment and teaching aids can be purchased through Wilson Racquet Sports at a discounted price (see

Equipment Ordering section)
    * Racquets will be allocated in sets of 12, 18, or 24 depending on the class size of the school. Based on the number of

students the following allotments will be given to each school, 1-30 students = 12 racquets, 31-60 students = 18 racquets, 61

students and above = 24 racquets.
    * School sponsored special populations or wheelchair programs are eligible for the same equipment and training support

normally provided to traditional physical education classes. Equipment allotments allocated by national should be used to

fulfill the needs of these programs.
    * Equipment provided by the USTA becomes part of the school’s permanent inventory. Although, failure of a school to offer

a tennis unit or submit the annual USTA survey may result in forfeiture of equipment to be used in the development of

additional school tennis programs.
    * A teacher that has met the USA School Tennis support requirements and moves to a new school is eligible for a new

allotment of equipment.


    * All requests for USA School Tennis Teacher Trainings (In-services) are on a first come first serve basis.
    * There must be a minimum of at least twelve teachers for the USTA to conduct an in-service.
    * School teachers should be expected to attend an in-service at least once every three years. Annual refresher

in-services can be an effective way to develop rapport with key programs.
    * In-services are typically 3 hours in length. Expanded in-services can be offered in conjunction with state requirement

for continuing education credits. Requirements vary per state and school district.
    * Each school with a physical educator who attended a USA School Tennis Teacher Training has the option to have an

assembly (based on staff and clinician availability).


    * Assemblies are typically 30 – 60 minutes in length and are intended to get kids excited about tennis and promote after

school tennis opportunities.
    * Program leaders should be utilized in the assemblies and fliers should be on hand to provide to the children, with

school approval.
    * Whenever possible, program leaders should be trained to conduct the assemblies and in-service trainings, which will

result in a stronger link between in-school and after school programs.
    * The USTA Section staff member or clinician will conduct an assembly on one selected day per school year based on

    * To maximize the time of staff and clinicians, assemblies should not be arranged or conducted for less than 100 students

and ideally should be conducted for at least 50% of the student population.


    * Individuals interested in conducting USTA Teacher In-Services and School Assemblies should complete a clinician

application with their respective section.
    * Clinicians should be required to attend a section clinician’s training or Development Coaches Workshop and apprentice

under the leadership of a staff member or experienced clinician for a minimum of 2 assemblies and 2 in-services.
    * USA School Tennis Teacher Trainings and Assemblies must be cleared through the appropriate Section or District Schools

    * Sections and districts should have trainer equipment kits that can be loaned to clinicians for trainings and

assemblies. Suggested equipment includes: 24 racquets, short court set, large foam balls, low compression balls, bean bags,

set of throw-down lines, roll of barrier tape, and rubber spots.
    * Payment of clinicians to conduct in-services and assemblies is left to the discretion of each section.
    * Please refer to the section on Tennis Clinicians for examples of section and district procedures.

Working with Colleges and Universities:

    * Collegiate Physical Education Department Heads or Instructors can contact their respective USTA Section Schools

Coordinator to set up a free, three-hour USA School Tennis Teacher Training (In-service).
    * Requirements for the training include at least twelve physical education degree students, a three-hour block of time,

an established date, and an appropriate location (usually a school gymnasium or cafeteria).
    * Once a physical education degree student attends and participates in the teacher training (In-service) he/she will be

given a USA School Tennis Curriculum Guide (which explains a variety of drills and activities). Once the physical education

degree student obtains a full time teaching position (within three years of the original training), agrees to add tennis into

his/her curriculum, and teaches a minimum of six tennis classes per year, his/her school is eligible for FREE and discounted

equipment through the USA School Tennis Program.

USTA Section Schools Coordinator Mentoring Program:

Newly appointed section school staff members will be eligible to visit another section in close proximity for a 2-3 day time

period and receive on the job training with an existing schools director. This program is intended to fully maximize the

knowledge and expertise of section school staff and create a unified team-based approach with how USA School Tennis is

managed nationally.
Annual Reporting:

The USTA National office would like to have the following information submitted by January 15 th of each year (for the

previous year):

    * How many schools offer tennis in P.E. annually and how many kids are affected approximately
    * How many teachers were trained
    * How many assemblies were given
    * How many after school tennis programs were initiated in partnership with the USA School Tennis program and

approximately how many kids were affected?

It is expected that Section and District staff keep a regular log of school contact information and a history of school

tennis support including trainings, assemblies, equipment provided, and after school linkage information.

In late 2005, the USTA is scheduled to roll out an on-line registration system for tracking USA School Tennis participation

that will be available directly to section and district staff.

It is important to know the status of each school program serviced by the USTA on an annual basis. Establishing rapport with

active school sites and conducting regular follow-up is the best strategy for creating long lasting school tennis programs.

A liberal distribution or racquets without proper training and follow-up actually undermines the purpose and functionality of

the program. The “racquet welfare” approach can further create a vicious cycle in which racquet supplies are not adequate for

the requests, and time that could be spent in establishing firmly rooted programs is compromised.

“ USA School Tennis should not be viewed as a racquet donation program but be respected as a community enrichment program.”

Ultimately, by focusing on quality and accountability, we will be able to affect long term growth on a much greater scale. We

need to create value for the equipment and services we are offering and require accountability for the time and energy

invested in each school.

USA School Tennis 2005 Requirements

    * PE teacher attends a 3-4 hour in-service training workshop
    * School has a close alliance with an after school tennis program that uses a team tennis format as opposed to having a

student from their school in an after school tennis program simply by chance
    * PE teacher agrees to teach a minimum of 6 contact periods of tennis in their PE classes
    * PE teacher agrees to assist the state USTA office in the promotion of local after school tennis programs
    * PE teacher agrees to provide the USA School Tennis state coordinator with the dates they offer a tennis unit each year

Please note:

   1. Schools who are unable, or do not wish to participate in the program under these requirements, may purchase tennis

equipment at special negotiated prices from Wilson, or other vendor of their choice.
   2. States may include additional requirements, such as USTA organizational membership, etc.

What is a Connected School

A Connected school is one that meets BOTH of the following requirements:

    * Teaches tennis in their PE classes OR has had an assembly in the current year at which a local team tennis program was

promoted OR has a PE teacher who attended an in-service in the current year.
    * At least one student from that school signed up for a USA Team Tennis program. USTA used to have a 90 day window for

both A and B to occur, but don't worry about that.

Each state will be asked to keep track of their activity (what schools they are connecting this year) on the spreadsheet

handed out at the CTA annual meeting. This spreadsheet is due in the ATA office no later than November 1st.

Pros can do the 3-4 hour in-service workshop for the PE teachers, but we need to be sure they have been trained to do it.

Also, the agenda for that event has just changed as USTA wants us to do more of a "game-based (play based)" training as

opposed to showing them how to just teach skills in an isolated environment.

As far as setting up in-services in the 4 corners of the state, Jeff Smith from the Southern office is willing to conduct the

in-services for you as long as he does not already committed to another event on the days you select. Keep in mind that many

school districts now have designated "In-service days" on which training is provided for the teachers. You may want to

contact the school districts in those areas and find out when their in-service days are. If you don't schedule an in-service

training workshop on their in-service days, most schools probably won't give their teachers permission to attend.






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