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Florida Tennis Briefs(5): 10-U Spreading; Fed Cup Preview; USPTA; Palm Coast Grant; More

February 3, 2011 09:29 AM
TOPS'L Tennis Resort Spreads 10 and Under/QuickStart to Local Elementary Schools

Approximately 300 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at Butler Elementary School in Destin, Fla., experienced 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart format of play on Feb. 1-2, 2011, courtesy of an outreach program by TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort and Director of Tennis Joe D'Aleo.

"We were able to teach the PE classes and for most of the kids it was there first experience to hold a tennis racquet," said D'Aleo, assisted by TOPS'L Head Tennis Professional Sam Vickroy, Jessica D'Aleo, volunteer Stacie Childress and Coach Creighton of Butler Elementary. "The look of happiness and joy on there faces was priceless to see that they could hit a foam tennis ball with a small racquet in which most of them thought tennis would be too hard."
 
TOPSL-web
TOPS'L organizers and students at Butler Elementary
TOPS'L received a USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant for QuickStart Tennis equipment, allowing D'Aleo and his staff to set up mini-courts in the gymnasium, converting it to five small tennis courts.

USTA 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format 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, Justine Henin 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 the PE coaches it was a great opportunity for them to learn more about QuickStart and see how they can incorporate tennis in their program," D'Aleo said. "I plan on going to more local schools in the hopes that some of these children will start going to our local QuickStart programs at Sandestin, Seascape, Hidden Dunes, Seaside, Freeport, Ft. Walton Beach, and TOPS'L. The local junior tennis programs are growing in the Panhandle and soon we will have a USTA Jr. Team Tennis league."

D'Aleo is also the District 1 president for the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) organization of tennis teaching professionals.

"As we discussed at the recent USPTA district meeting, with efforts like these we will triple the number of kids playing tennis in the next five years," said USTA Florida Executive Director Doug Booth.


Fed Cup Preview: U.S. at Belgium This Weekend

Former world No. 1 Justine Henin's shock retirement last week during the Australian Open means the U.S. will face only one former No. 1 rather than two this weekend when the U.S. Fed Cup team visits Belgium for first-round action on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5-6, 2011. The remaining Belgian former No. 1, Kim Clijsters, will be formidable enough in her effort to lead the home squad past the U.S. in Antwerp.

"Kim had a fantastic Australian Open and is full of confidence," said U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez on the 2011 Australian Open champion Clijsters. "We'll go out there, do our best and see what happens. It's a thrill to play Kim in her home country. She is one of the nicest players we've seen. It will be exciting, but challenging."

The No. 2-ranked Clijsters will be joined by the No. 26-ranked Yanina Wickmayer in singles. The U.S. will likely counter with standbys Bethanie Mattek-Sands (ranked No. 48) and Melanie Oudin (61). Also available for the U.S. squad is No. 86-ranked Vania King, and Liezel Huber who will feature in doubles.

The U.S. remains the underdog without the services of former No. 1s Venus and Serena Williams, sidelined with groin and foot injuries respectively.

Oudin says she is looking forward to likely being chosen by Fernandez for a first-time meeting against Clijsters.

"Playing Kim would be a real honor because I grew up watching Kim," Oudin said. "She's always been a great player, an idol to me. Getting to play against her would be pretty cool. I am definitely looking forward to it."

Clijsters remains wary of the underdogs.

"They perform great when they feel they are part of a team," Clijsters said of the U.S.

The U.S. has reached the Fed Cup final the last two years, both times losing to Italy. Matches will be aired live on Tennis Channel at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday.


USPTA Announces Upcoming Florida Tennis Teaching Certifications

The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) provides tennis-teaching professionals with the opportunity to participate in USPTA Certification Exams scheduled nationwide in 2011.

USTA-PTA-USPTA-logoExams in Feb.-March in Florida include:

Feb. 20 -- Clearwater, Fla., Countryside Country Club

March 6 -- Bonita Springs, Fla., Pelican Landing Tennis Center

March 19-20 -- Boca Raton, Fla., The Oaks at Boca Raton

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.

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 pro-rated USPTA membership dues.


Hillsborough County Tennis Assoc. Plans Free Lessons for Kids

By Nancy Morgan, TennisLife-Florida Region 3 writer

The Hillsborough County Tennis Association (HCTA) kicks off 2011 with the introduction of its HCTA Inner City Youth Tennis Program initiative, a free tennis program for inner-city kids in the Tampa area with special emphasis on the USTA QuickStart Tennis play format for 10-and-under children, as well as older beginning players.

HCTA logo-newThe three-year-old HCTA hopes to impact more than 450 kids in economically-disadvantaged areas through its partnerships with Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, Target Tennis Group, Tennis 4 Everyone and a local middle school.

With HCTA leaders dedicated to offering tennis for those youths in under-served areas, they pooled their resources, applied for a USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant and began developing their strategy.

"We will be starting with two Boys and Girls Club facilities and monitoring their progress," said Ray Harrison, HCTA director of junior tennis. "Our goal is to bring on more facilities and continue to promote and grow QuickStart Tennis. Slowly but surely we'll seek more programming to partner with and look for other avenues for QuickStart Tennis such as after-school programming, public parks, the YMCA and more."

For more info on the HCTA visit www.tampatennis.org.


Kemper Sports in Palm Coast, Fla., Receives USTA Florida Tennis Grant

Alena Dvornikova and Kemper Sports out of Palm Coast, Fla., have been announced as the recipient of a $2,000 USTA Florida "Share the Love" grant for 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format.
 
From left: instructors Alena Dvornikova and Ken Obermeier and students
Alena Dvornikova (back left) and students
"We are really excited about this grant as it will allow us to expand our programming to neighborhood parks around Palm Coast," Dvornikova said. "With the 'Share the Love' grant and scholarships from the Friends of Tennis, it will also give us an opportunity to make programming not only accessible, but also affordable."

USTA 10 and Under Tennis featuring the QuickStart play format 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, Justine Henin 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.

Dvornikova is also the supervisor of tennis for the City of Palm Coast, which in 2010 received a "Share the Love" grant and was selected to receive a national 2010 USTA Outstanding Facility Award. Kemper Sports manages the Palm Coast Tennis Center for the City of Palm Coast.

USTA Florida annually directs 90% of member dollars back into the community to support tennis programs and projects throughout Florida. USTA Florida's Share the Love grant program helps fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities include 10 and Under Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to permanent 10 and Under courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.

"We look forward to hearing of the future success of 10 and Under Tennis in Palm Coast," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "It is with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these."

Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more information on the 10-and-Under Tennis play format in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com.

For more information on Palm Coast Tennis Center junior and adult programming go to www.ci.palm-coast.fl.us/city/attractions/tennis/programming.aspx.

 
 

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