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Diana Gardner Named New JTT LLC

April 1, 2009 03:25 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., April 1, 2009 – USTA Florida today announced that Diana Gardner of Jacksonville will be the USTA Jr. Team Tennis Local League Coordinator for the First Coast effective immediately. Gardner will be responsible for coordinating and supervising all USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) activities, including QuickStart Tennis (QST) – the new format of play for kids 10 and under – for Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. John’s counties. She rejoins the USTA Florida Section after a brief three-year hiatus and brings to the position an accredited tennis background including two USTA Florida JTT Area League Coordinator (ALC) of the Year accolades in 2004 and 2006.

“I am really excited to have been asked to rejoin the team and begin the promotion of QuickStart Tennis in the Greater Jacksonville area,” Gardner said. “Four or five areas have already been identified as hubs to begin QuickStart Tennis this summer.”

The QuickStart Tennis play format, one of the most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth, provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size. The beauty of this format is that it gets the kids into the game immediately and provides a direct feeder into USTA Jr. Team Tennis. Within the first hour of stepping onto the court, kids are actually playing the game, rallying with one another, moving around and having fun.

“Let’s make tennis fun for kids,” Gardner said. “Beginning players 10 and under will fall in love with tennis because they will be playing on shorter courts using lower nets, smaller racquets and larger balls with easier scoring.”

In Gardner’s three year history with USTA Florida from 2003-2006, she took the JTT program to new levels of success as the ALC. She modified the local programs to correspond with section and national standards, created new divisions of play attracting fresh players and developed and organized events beyond her coordinator responsibilities. In 2006, 64 teams comprising 448 players participated in the JTT spring season, while 33 teams comprising 250 players took part in the summer season.

“The JTT program needs to be re-energized and we’ll begin by bringing back the summer championship season wherein teams have the opportunity to participate not only in the Jr. Team Tennis Summer Section Tournament, but also advance to the GA/FL Challenge and even nationals,” Gardner said.

Her marketing and organizational skills built the Jr. Team Tennis program in Jacksonville to the biggest it’s ever been and put her at the forefront of JTT improvements throughout the state.

“We have great local resources with USTA National QST Trainers Dede Allen (Jacksonville) and Chuck Hormann (St. Augustine) leading workshops to train coaches as well as volunteers,” she said. “Both are also teaching professionals.”

Gardner’s involvement with USTA Florida does not end with JTT. Gardner plays on league teams from Queen's Harbour Yacht & Country Club and Jacksonville Beach Tennis Center. A resident in Jacksonville for 10 years, off the court, Gardner is and avid gardener and yoga devotee.

“I am thrilled that Diana has returned to Jr. Team Tennis; her enthusiasm is contagious,” said Michelle Willis, USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator. “I have high expectations that Jr. Team Tennis and QuickStart will grow in the Jacksonville area with Diana’s skills and ambition.”

For more information about USTA Jr. Team Tennis or if your facility would like to offer a QuickStart Tennis league, please contact Diana Gardner at (904) 247-5460 or hgc2mail@yahoo.com.






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