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Florida Tennis Briefs(3): Village of Wellington (Palm Beach Co.) $100K USTA Grant, Brevard 10-U, More

July 19, 2011 10:39 AM
Village of Wellington (Palm Beach Co.) Added to Florida USTA 10-U $100,000 Tennis Grants

Jeff Davis
Ron Hakala
Debbie Ellsworth
rivas cheryl
Cheryl Rivas
Following two United States Tennis Association (USTA) target market grants earlier this year in Hillsborough and Seminole counties, the Village of Wellington (Palm Beach County) is the latest Florida market to receive a $100,000 grant in an effort to grow 10 and Under Tennis through local community partnerships.

The USTA national Target Market Initiative is a $2.5 million investment in 25 tennis communities throughout the United States in 2011 to grow the game and encourage young people across the country to get active and participate in the format specifically for small children on child-sized courts with age-appropriate equipment. 
The Village of Wellington is the newest Florida market among 100 planned nationally by the USTA national office by 2013, an investment of more than $10 million to promote 10 and Under Tennis pathways in key communities. USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator Jeff Davis was hired in July to oversee the three markets, and future markets to be announced in Florida.

"We have an exciting and unique window of opportunity to positively transform the landscape of youth tennis at the grassroots level through national, state, and local cooperation," Davis says.

Davis is a certified USTA recreation coach national trainer, and from 2001-2009 served as the community coordinator for USTA Florida Region 3 (Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk counties). He played professionally until 1981, and among his achievements are being honored as the 2003-04 USPTA Florida Division District 7 Volunteer of the Year, and receiving the 2008 USPTA Florida Division/USTA Florida Section Service Award.

Davis was formerly the coordinator for the local Hillsborough County market, and will be replaced in that position by Ron Hakala, the general manager for the Tampa Tennis at HCC public facility, which currently boasts the most 10 and Under Tennis courts in Florida (12 permanent 8-and-under courts, 6 blended-line 10-and-under courts). Hakala also spent 12 years as a manager with the Club Corporation of American (ClubCorp), overseeing numerous pro tennis and golf events.

Debbie Ellsworth of Lake Worth, a former 10 and Under Tennis organizer and veteran school teacher, will be the coordinator for the Village of Wellington market. The Florida State University graduate has long been an organizer and player in the local tennis community, as well as coaching sports at the K-12 level.

The Seminole County market will be overseen by coordinator Sheryl Rivas, an Altamonte Springs resident who has organized 10 and Under Tennis festivals, and whose husband is a teaching pro. Her company, Ace Tennis Events, contracted with Seminole County Parks and Recreation to provide tennis birthday parties for ages 5-15 using 10 and Under Tennis equipment, and provided various special events for adult tennis participants.

The $100,000 USTA grants are for a three-year period to provide a pathway for 10 and Under Tennis to USTA Jr. Team Tennis, middle school and high school play, onto college, USTA Tennis on Campus and adult league/tournament play. The primary effort is to boost the number of players age 10 and under, where the U.S. trails many of the larger developed countries.

"These three-year initiatives in Hillsborough and Seminole counties, and now the Village of Wellington, are unique because they bring everyone to the same table, whereas in most communities, all these entities are working independently to grow the game," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "The local coordinators' jobs are to help lead these efforts for their target markets, bringing local partners to the same table to grow the game."

The USTA's 10 and Under Tennis is at the center of the USTA's Target Market Initiative. 10 and Under Tennis is designed for children featuring smaller court sizes, racquet sizes, foam and decompressed balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where current stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes. To see a video of 10 and Under Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.

For more information on the USTA Florida Target Market Initiatives in Hillsborough County, Seminole County or the Village of Wellington, contact USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator Jeff Davis at davis@florida.usta.com.

10 and Under Tennis local coordinator contacts:
Hillsborough County -- Ron Hakala, ron.hakala@hotmail.com
Seminole County -- Sheryl Rivas, sheryltennis@embarqmail.com
Village of Wellington -- Debbie Ellsworth, debd1756@bellsouth.net

Brevard County 10 and Under Tennis at 5 Area Facilities This Summer; Free USTA Membership

mediawall-10-U-USTAFLThe Brevard County area will be experiencing the fun of USTA 10 and Under Tennis this summer as nine parks and tennis clubs are offering the easy-to-learn format featuring child-sized equipment that has children experiencing success on the court immediately.

As a teaching pro, it is exciting to see children as young as 5-years old succeeding at tennis and beginning to rally.  The format allows much more success for the younger players.  The slower balls and the smaller courts allow the participants to develop the correct stroke technique and fundamentals which will be advantageous as they progress from the QuickStart format to full-court tennis.

Similar to other youth sports, such as soccer and baseball, USTA 10 and Under Tennis features equipment and courts scaled to kids' size. Racquets are shorter and lighter, and courts are smaller. Balls bounce lower and move slower, thereby making them easier to hit and keep in play. Kids have fun learning the game and build confidence at the same time. Pros such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters learned the game as children in their home countries using similar child-scaled equipment.

"It's a chance for kids to learn real tennis and have real fun doing it," says USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Molly Zimmer. "10 and Under Tennis using the QuickStart Tennis play format allows kids to rally and play real tennis shortly after picking up a racquet for the first time. And for the first time, kids can fall in love with tennis right away -- a love that can last a lifetime. Any child between ages 5 and 10 can start playing tennis almost immediately, even if he or she has never picked up a racquet before." 

Permanent blended lines used to create 60-foot courts for children 10 and under can be found at Kiwi tennis on three of the hardcourts. They are the first permanent blended lines on 60-foot courts in Brevard County.

The USTA is also offering a free USTA Junior Membership to first-time junior members age 10 and under until Dec. 31, 2011. This special USTA membership offer will allow more kids to try USTA programming, including USTA Junior Tournaments and USTA Jr. Team Tennis. In addition, participating junior members will receive a variety of benefits, including Bounce, a special quarterly publication geared toward young players and their parents; preferred ticket access to pro tennis tournaments throughout the country; and discounts on merchandise and apparel.
To join the USTA and receive the free membership, new junior members can sign up by one of the following ways using source code: NEWGAME.

* Calling USTA Membership Services at 1-800-990-8782
* Visiting USTA Membership Services online at

See below for sites and contact information in the Brevard County area regarding facilities offering USTA 10 and Under Tennis:

DeSoto Park -- (321) 773-3313
Fee Avenue Park -- (321) 674-5720
Jimmy Moore Park -- (321) 255-4613
Kiwi Tennis Club -- (321) 773-2116
Titusville YMCA Tennis and Racquet Center -- (321) 269-3763 
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For additional inquiries contact USTA Florida's Molly Zimmer at zimmer@florida.usta.com.

Ft. Lauderdale Police Athletic League (PAL) Partners with KAPTA

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department announced the partnership of the Police Athletic League (PAL), the Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department, and KAPTA, the "Kids and Police Tennis Association."

KAPTA is an after-school program focusing on teaching the basic skills of tennis to predominantly at-risk children. The main objective is to improve the quality of life skills for children under 10 years of age and to provide a venue where the children can learn how to make the right choices.

The technical teaching aspects of the program include, but are not limited to, the rules of the game, preparation, etiquette, game emotional management, and proper diet. The program focuses on developing leadership skills as well as responsibility, integrity, and courage. The staff consists of local law enforcement officers, tennis professionals, and volunteers from the community who are committed to excellence.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Athletic League and KAPTA are hosting the kick-off event at Carter Park on July 19, 2011, starting at 3 p.m. Carter Park is located at 1450 West Sunrise Boulevard in the City of Fort Lauderdale. For more information please contact Sergeant Hugo Fontalvo at hfontalvo@fortlauderdale.gov or (954) 828-5477.






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