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May Volunteer of the Month – Dave Dickinson

May 4, 2009 09:06 AM

By: Tori Townsend

Birthplace:  Indianapolis, Ind.
Family Members Include:  Wife, Mimi, daughters Ginny (tennis professional) and Beth, sons Mike (also teaches tennis), Robbie, plus nine grandchildren.
Favorite Movie:  Hoosiers
Favorite Food:  Hamburger and fries
Favorite Travel Spot:  Jackson, Wyo.
Favorite Tennis Stroke/Shot: Whatever stroke/shot wins the point!

Dave Dickinson of Winter Park represents the best of USTA Jr. Team Tennis. An advocate for the program, he’s had at least three teams involved since 2004 and led one team to a fourth place finish at the 2008 14 & Under (Advanced) USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships in Mobile, Ala.

Dickinson is head tennis coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School and serves as director of tennis for the after-school tennis program, which includes coaching his five Jr. Team Tennis “Wildcat” teams, holding clinics and teaching private lessons. His motto is to teach fun by finding things the kids enjoy doing while they are on-court.

“If it’s not fun, they aren’t going to come back,” he said. “I tell them that there is no pressure to win or lose, but that they are out there to have fun. The only thing the parents and I expect is that they try, respect their opponent and use good sportsmanship.”

Help from parents is one thing Dickinson attributes to the success of his teams.

“I have got a lot of help from parents and they are great,” he said. “I have five teams and they are all captained by parents.”

Dickinson holds optional practices every Saturday at Lake Highland and requires all the kids do is play.

“I am more interested in kids hitting the ball [in match format] because that’s how I think they learn how to play,” he said. “I have five extra courts when I teach on Saturday morning and there is nothing worse than having five extra courts and no one use them.”

Dickinson pays it forward as much as he can when it comes to USTA Jr. Team Tennis because he views it as a stepping stone to future success. One thing’s for sure, he isn’t afraid to stand up to those who disagree.

“The junior competitive thing can be stressful and tough and team tennis is totally different,” he said, remembering how it was for his two kids, Ginny and Mike. “The kids are out there sharing with their teammates, having a good time and they become like family. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.”

Tennis has given Dickinson a lot over the years which is why he feels it’s a great opportunity to pay it forward. “It's very rewarding to work with kids and see them grow in their sport.”

USTA Florida is pleased to recognize Dickinson as its May Volunteer of the Month for his perpetual support of USTA Jr. Team Tennis and for passing along sound traits to the kids he coaches.






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