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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): 10 and Under "Real Tennis"; 'Sets in the City' Registration Open

August 4, 2011 11:16 AM
President's Message: QuickStart Format for 10 and Under Tennis is "Real Tennis"

By Dan Casey, USTA Florida president and volunteer

I recently was playing tennis with my wife when a dedicated father walked out to the next court with two rackets and two cans of balls with his young son. He proceeded to feed the six balls from the net to the beginner near the service line, but he missed many more balls than he touched. After six swings, they were off picking up balls.  

The father was imploring the son to "focus, focus, focus."

Shortly thereafter, I walked over to them and excused myself for butting in, but informed them about QuickStart, the new 10 and Under Tennis initiative from the USTA that uses smaller courts, smaller and lighter rackets and foam or lighter balls to introduce the game to young players. The father snapped back abruptly, "My son is already playing real tennis, he has had 12 lessons," and I walked off.

OK then.

As he was leaving the court, the father asked me what the USTA was, and I explained. Given the chance to once again talk, I told him that I felt his son could hit over 100 times the number of balls under a QuickStart program than the number his son hit in the last hour while playing "real tennis." More importantly, his son would have lots of fun, and would learn proper technique with balls in his strike zone. I hope he followed through.

The parents, pros and parks departments are documenting the successes; new tennis kids are coming out in large numbers and having loads of fun. 

Parents, keep an eye out for US Open Series advertisements explaining QuickStart and the 10 and Under Tennis initiatives. Google "10 and Under Tennis." It is the best way for them to develop a love for the game, and it's "real tennis."

Registration Open for Jacksonville 'Sets in the City' Young Professionals Tennis Event
sets in the city jacksonvillle
Online registration is now open for the Jacksonville "Sets in the City" social and tennis event for young professionals, raising money for the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation (MWKF). United States Tennis Association-Florida (USTA Florida) is teaming with the MWKF to provide young professionals who enjoy a social tennis experience the opportunity to play at and raise money for a good cause on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.

"We are targeting young professionals age 21-40, or those young at heart, of any tennis level who enjoy fun social gatherings that raise money for a good cause," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Jacksonville area Amanda Becker. "All levels of players are welcome, and if players don't have a racquet we will provide one. This is a chance to brush up on your tennis skills and meet other young professionals that love the sport."
The tennis event from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the MaliVai Washington Youth Center on Saturday, Oct. 8, will be preceded by a player's social on Friday, Oct. 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Whiskey River restaurant in the St. Johns Town Center. Registered players will receive two free drink tickets and enjoy complimentary appetizers.
The Saturday event will feature a tennis clinic and round robin play, with a break for lunch provided by TacoLu Baja Mexicana. Registrations accepted for the event will be limited, so register today. The fee for early registration (before Sept. 30) is $40, and $45 after Sept. 30. The social-only registration is $25 (no tennis, but entry to player social at Whiskey River and TacoLu lunch on Saturday).
All proceeds from the event will benefit the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, whose mission is to develop champions in classrooms, on tennis courts and throughout communities via after-school programs and summer camps for at-risk youth. Event sponsors include USTA Florida, The NETworkers Young Professionals Group of Jacksonville, the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, and restaurants Whiskey River and TacoLu Baja Mexicana.

To register online go to www.malwashington.com/Sets%20in%20the%20City%20Event. For more information contact Amanda Becker of USTA Florida at becker@florida.usta.com, or Erika White of the MWKF at Erika@malwashington.com.

Travel Pays Off for Treasure Coast USTA Senior Tennis Team

By Laura Toth, TennisLife-Florida Region 6 (Treasure Coast) columnist

region 6-Senior 4.5 BoulevardThe Treasure Coast has some dedicated USTA League tennis players.
This year there was only one Senior 4.5 men's team in the Treasure Coast area. The team opted to play in Brevard. This required they travel at least 50 minutes each way to the Kiwi Club in Indian Harbor Beach for each of the regular six matches.  
The team, from The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, traveled to Daytona Beach for the USTA Florida Senior League Sectionals the weekend of May 14-15t. Only six of the nine team members could travel to Daytona for the weekend, so the team played with just the minimum number of players for all their five matches. They won their flight, beating Duval and Hillsborough counties twice in round robin play, advancing to the finals with nine individual wins and three losses.
In the finals the team faced Pinellas County in a tough match. Pinellas was victorious 2-1 but the Vero/Brevard team gave it their all.  

Congratulations to the six team members who traveled to Daytona: Ray McNulty (captain), Ron Perry, Mark Morein, Roger Marcil, Scott Turner and Jeff Schmit; as well as the three other members who couldn't make the trip but certainly helped the team during the local league: Gary Boss, Boo Graves and Walt Zanon.

These players showed how dedicated there are to USTA League tennis during a time when gas prices are climbing and many players cringe at the thought of traveling for a league match.  

Thanks guys for your support and commitment to USTA League tennis. Congratulations on a great season!

Mamma Mia (and Mama Mi) Tennis Moms Show Support

By Barbara Eisner Bayer, TennisLife-Florida Region 8 (North Gold Coast) columnist

region 8-MiYoung2
From left: Mi Young Lee, Sheridan Lee, Martina Pani, Anna Maria Aste
Tennis dads have long been part of tennis lore, and not necessarily in a positive way. Tennis moms, on the other hand, are a force to be reckoned with -- in a good way.

A week before Mother's Day, at the USTA Girls' 16 Local Champs at the Swim & Racquet Center in Boca Raton, tennis' brightest young stars competed under the watchful eyes of their loving moms.

Hard-hitting 13-year old Martina Pani, a student at the Evert Academy since 2007, who dreams of turning pro, played passionately as her mom, Anna Maria Aste, supported her on the sidelines. Originally from Sardinia, Italy, Martina -- who was not named after a tennis star -- started playing at age five. When the family visited her older brother, a U.S. exchange student, Martina visited the Evert Academy, and decided to attend full time. Mom stays with her in Florida, while Dad visits every two months.

"I try to be supportive, and I love seeing Martina fight," Anna Maria says. "I have watched her grow as a player, and become stronger inside. She has a tendency to be emotional -- she's Italian! -- so we're working together to learn how to control it. We don't know the result of this adventure, but now is the moment to try."

In the first round, Martina faced Sheridan Lee, a 15-year old from Boca Raton, who was there with her mother, Mi Young Lee. Sheridan started playing tennis four years ago, and finds it challenging competing against girls who have been playing for a lifetime.

"Sheridan and I talk a lot about losing graciously," Mi Young says. "Because she started at an older age, she's at a disadvantage against younger players. She has to lose a lot in order to learn how to win."

Sheridan, who is at the top of her high school class and competes on the Spanish River High School varsity tennis team, sincerely appreciates her mom's support.

"Mom takes care of my drinks, my rides, and my emotions," Sheridan said. "She stays positive and makes me feel good, even when I lose. After matches, she sums up what I did well, and what I need to work on. She always cheers me on, even if I don't like it."

But what makes mom the happiest?

"For our children, it's exercise and being outside on a gorgeous day," says Mi Young. "They're learning a lifetime sport."

Mother knows best.






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