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Mehan, Gainesville QuickStart Tennis Guru, Named USTA Florida June VOM

July 1, 2010 09:12 AM
Bobbie Mehan and a QuickStart participant
Gainesville's Bobbie Mehan began volunteering for USTA Florida roughly two years ago, and in that span she has radically changed how tennis is taught to 10-and-under players, not only at her club but throughout the city. Her volunteering has paralleled the rise of QuickStart Tennis, which was introduced roughly two years ago, and is rapidly being adopted as the "t-ball of tennis" for teaching 10-and-under children.

When the Jonesville Tennis Center opened in Gainesville in early 2009, Mehan was immediately on board to help organize junior players and implement a new program that wasn't being used at any other club in Gainesville -- QuickStart Tennis.

"We started with five kids the first season, then 10 kids the second season, now in our third season we have four different clubs doing QuickStart league play," Mehan says. "What happens is the kids come every week and take a lesson and leave, unless you get them involved in league or tournament play. And then it becomes more of a team sport, and it becomes a lot more fun."

Mehan developed into the QuickStart director for the Jonesville club, in addition to captaining several of the USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) squads. This year Mehan was hand-picked by USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone as one of five sites across Florida to host pilot QuickStart tournaments, and Jonesville hosted its first QuickStart tournament this past May.

"QuickStart tournaments are the vision for the future for competitive 10-and under-tournaments," Gladstone said. "Bobby is one of five top-notch tournament directors who will keep Florida on the right path in QuickStart tournaments."

In addition to captaining Gainesville's "G-Power" USTA Jr. Team Tennis squad to the state 12-Advanced title this year, edging out Orlando's "The Acers," Mehan has helped other clubs merge teams to participate in the state championships, has coordinated after-school QuickStart programs at eight area elementary schools, a season-ending Tennis Fun Day for 130 kids, and provided clinics at area high schools for disabled children.

"Bobbie has been instrumental in introducing QuickStart Tennis into after-school programs and several local facilities," said Gainesville USTA league coordinator Linda Green. "She helped get other pros in the area familiar with QuickStart and urged them to offer the format at their facilities. Bobbie is organizing a series of QuickStart tournaments - the first ones in the Gainesville area. She knows how to make tennis fun and really connects with players of all ages. I'm really excited that Bobbie is being recognized by USTA Florida for all of her hard work."

Mehan's love of tennis dates to her junior and high school days in Kansas, where with her older sister Bonnie she won the Kansas High School Doubles State title. Honored as USTA Florida's June 2010 Volunteer of the Month, Mehan is a medical journal administrative assistant by day, but by evenings and on weekends changes, without the need for a phone booth, into a super volunteer for USTA Florida and Gainesville's junior tennis population.

"I started playing tennis in the USTA Missouri Valley Section when I was nine, and tennis has been such a huge part of my life," Mehan said. "I want all kids to have the opportunity to enjoy the sport!"

ABOUT BOBBIE
Birthplace: Kansas City
Family Members: Daughter Lillie
Favorite Movie: Wimbledon
Favorite Food: Tennis Ball Stew
Favorite Travel Spot: Florida Tennis Center, Daytona Beach
Favorite Tennis Shot: O'Brien-Mehan overhead

My earliest tennis memory was..."Taking a lesson with Earl Bucholz in Kansas...forehand tip...open the door shut the door!"
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and of course my daughter, Lillie."
When I am not playing tennis I am..."planning the next tennis activity."
Best-ever tennis memory..."winning Kansas High School doubles with older sister Bonnie."
I like to volunteer in tennis because..."I enjoy seeing kids starts as beginners and experience Jr. Team Tennis. It is so exciting to see the kids come back from a JTT Sectional and see how much they have grown from such a great time! After Sectionals they are practicing more, entering more tournaments, and now they are checking their ranking points. Starting the QuickStart leagues at Jonesville has also been great. The kids are not just coming for a 30-minute lesson. They are coming on the weekends to play matches with their team. It is rewarding to see them actually keeping score, rallying the ball back, and cheering their team members on. Now they are even traveling to other clubs to play matches."

 
 

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