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USTA Girls Camp – The Search for Talent

March 14, 2007 09:51 AM

By ANDY GLADSTONE

Life does not get any better for an 8-year-old girl with a passion for tennis and rivers of potential athletic talent. Twenty four, 8 and 9-year-old girls were brought together on March 10th at the prestigious Evert Academy in Boca Raton to showcase their abilities and be evaluated by some of Florida’s top coaches and Ann Pankhurst of USTA Player Development.  Being an accomplished tennis player was not the sole criteria for selection, the USTA was looking for athletic talent.  The one day camps are being run across the country in an effort for the USTA to identify talent at a young age and assist in their development.

The spirit and enthusiasm of the day could not have been more perfect.  One parent remarked, “How wonderful it is to pull only girls together at a similar level to just play tennis all day.  My daughter had a wonderful time.”  The day’s activities included a full menu of tennis benchmarks, physical fitness and coordination tests and point situations.  A few examples of the tests included different jump roping skills, the spider drill and throwing ability.

Ann Pankhurst of the USTA identified jump roping as an important criteria to judge athletic talent.  “You get to see if a child can coordinate two different body parts at the same time, just like tennis,” she said.  Coach Pankhurst also keenly remarked about the importance of speed to produce a great tennis player.  Some of the tennis tests performed was the amount of forehands and backhands past the service line out of 15 feeds.

Even though a full gamut of results was carefully recorded all day and every girl was judged, the spirit and enthusiasm for tennis was full steam ahead.  Elite coaches Liz Levinson, Kasey Gladding, Mike Kypriss and Brett Kurtz made the day fun with their energetic personalities and caring attitudes.  The girls were extremely fortunate to receive coaching from some of the best coaches in Florida.  Coach Pankhurst emphasized during the coaches’ meeting that the girls should not just be tested, but rather enjoy themselves and learn something. 

Mission Accomplished!

 

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