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Florida Tennis Briefs(4): Ocala 10 and Under Tennis Delights Parents; More

May 12, 2011 04:19 PM
Ocala C.C. Sees QuickStart Growing Tennis, Delighting Parents

OcalaThe USTA's new 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart format is not only growing the clientele of children at the Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, Fla. -- it's also growing the staff.

"We started with two kids and one instructor six months ago, and currently have 20-plus kids and three instructors," says Director of Tennis Roy Miller. "The QuickStart format of teaching tennis to 10-and-under kids has transformed our junior program. Most importantly, the kids are having a great time while learning tennis skills."

The club featured a QuickStart tournament for the first time in April, when 17 children, the majority of who were participating in a USTA-sanctioned tournament for the first time, enjoyed a low-competitive, fun experience with child-size QuickStart racquets, nets, smaller courts sizes and low-compression balls that saw participants engaging in long rallies and learning the basics of match play.

Troy Leonard is a club member whose 6- and 8-year-old children played in the event.

"In truth, I often watch them knock the little red and yellow ball (beginner-level) balls around and wish that there was a developmental program like this when I was growing up and learning the game," Leonard said. "I really believe that if something like this had been made available to me when I was in the 8-12 year old range, it might have kept my interest enough to stay focused on tennis. Instead I ultimately got more involved with the traditional sports such as football, basketball and baseball."

As an adult Leonard came back to the game, and he and his wife play tennis 2-3 times a week. They now look forward to hooking their kids on the "sport of a lifetime."

"(My wife) Lynn and I both attended the inaugural QuickStart tourney, and we were very pleased to see everything come together like it did," Leonard said. "We especially enjoyed watching all of the kids running around with smiles on their faces, win or lose. The kids in many cases actually put together nice rallies, many times hitting as many as 10-12 ball rallies. And let's face it, if the kids feel like that they can already start to emulate what they see the bigger kids doing, or the pros on TV, they are much more likely to become impassioned about the game."

USTA 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, and net heights, all 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.

Leonard says his experiences with children trying to learn the game in the U.S. on full-size courts with adult-sized equipment have shown him that growing the next generation of players in an easy-to-learn format will be key to children having fun, and staying with the game.

"I have watched other kids in the 8-12 year old range try to play matches with adult equipment on adult courts, and it usually turns into a 'snore-fest,' with the kids basically pushing the ball around the court and not really hitting the ball with the correct form or technique," Leonard said. "I gotta believe that this isn't much fun for the kid -- or the parent for that matter."

Since QuickStart Tennis encourages the set-up of mini-nets in driveways and neighborhoods, it is encouraging tennis and non-tennis parents alike to get out and hit with their children with the easy-to-use equipment. Leonard says it has his family always waiting to return to the club for more 10 and Under Tennis league or tournament experiences.

"Our family has already saved the date on our calendar for the next QuickStart tournament," Leonard says, "and we can't wait."

For more information on play opportunities and events at the Country Club of Ocala go to: https://thecountryclubofocala.memberstatements.com/tour/tours.cfm?tourid=82645.

PTR to Offer 10 and Under Tennis Course as Junior Certification Supplement

PTR.jpgProfessional Tennis Registry (PTR) announced that it will offer a new course to supplement its Junior Development Certification to teach 10 and Under Tennis players.

In an effort to provide additional education to those tennis coaches who have successfully completed the PTR Junior Development Workshop and Certification, PTR is set to offer a follow-up online course that will enable them to more effectively teach 10 and Under Tennis. The new course, which will debut in August, will be titled "Programming, Benchmarking and Coaching 10 and Under Players."

"The combination of the USTA's three-hour QuickStart Recreational Coaches Workshop and PTR's 12 hour Junior Development Workshop provides a solid foundation to start teaching 10 and Under Tennis," said Dan Santorum, PTR's CEO. "This course will be crucial to help tennis coaches plan lessons, better assess 10 and under players against well-researched criteria, as well as work with their parents."

PTR has more comprehensive education on the horizon. PTR's Master of Tennis for Junior Development, which is the most extensive education for 10 and Under Tennis providing more than 200 hours of education and online course work, is set to debut in November. 

For more information on this course or the prerequisite Junior Development Workshop, visit www.ptrtennis.org.

Palm Coast to Host USTA Recreational Coaches Workshop for 10 and Under/QuickStart Tennis

USTA Florida will host a 10 and Under Tennis Workshop for Recreational Coaches on Saturday, June 11, 2011 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Palm Coast Tennis Center in Palm Coast, Fla.

The workshop will be led by Dave Brown, and registration must be made online at www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=917428.

"This is a great opportunity to get all area summer camp staff trained," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Volusia area Molly Zimmer. "This interactive three-hour workshop is for beginning tennis teachers, recreation and parent coaches and volunteers interested in working with 10 and under youth while implementing USTA 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format."

Attendees receive on-court training from a 10 and Under Tennis/QuickStart certified trainer and practice and play planning materials. Cost for the workshop is $15 for registration before June 4 and $20 after June 4.

For more info contact Molly Zimmer at zimmer@florida.usta.com.

USPTA Announces Upcoming Florida Tennis Certification Exams

USPTA_logoThe United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), which provides tennis-teaching professionals with the opportunity to earn tennis-teaching certification, has announced upcoming workshop dates in June and July for Florida.

USPTA's Certification Exam includes an on-court evaluation of tennis strokes and playing skills, stroke and grip analysis, private and group lesson instruction, and other skills needed in the tennis-teaching profession. The exam also includes a two-hour written test covering teaching, playing and business management skills, rules, club activity programming and other topics. Applicants can now opt to take the written and grip exams online after completing the on-court portions of the certification test.

The exam process also offers the Professional Tennis Coaches Academy I (formerly Certification Review Course) that covers test topics. The PTCA I can be taken at Regional Testing Centers, which offer tests every other month on the same weekends, or it can be taken online. The course is also useful to current USPTA members who wish to review specific exam areas before upgrading their certification ratings. Topics include student psychology, developing student rapport, class organization, lesson progression and a review of teaching techniques.

Upcoming Florida exams will be held on June 5-6 in Port St. Lucie at Club Med Sandpiper Bay; June 19 in Winter Springs at Tuscawilla Country Club; July 9-10 in Boca Raton at The Oaks at Boca Raton; and July 17 in Ocala at The Villages.

Contact USPTA at (800) 877-8248 or e-mail membership@uspta.org to register for an upcoming exam, or for further details. Advance registration is required. The total fee for the exam and application is $175, plus prorated USPTA membership dues.





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