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Seniors Make an Indoors 'Masters Tennis' Racquet in Miami

August 22, 2014 09:02 AM
Never having played tennis, they picked up racquets with some trepidation -- but in the end it was difficult to get them off the courts.
The new 14,220-square-foot Arcola Lakes Park Senior Center in Miami hosted a "Masters Tennis Demonstration" day on Aug. 20, 2014 for players 55 and older. The event featured the Masters Tennis format with smaller courts, racquets and lower-bouncing balls, all designed to make tennis easy to master.
The demonstration day was led by USTA Florida Masters Tennis Coordinator Christine Murphy, and Miami-area USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund.
"You could see the faces on the participants when listening to Christine that they were not sure whether they could do this or not," said Nordlund about the 20 seniors, most who had never played tennis, who participated. "One lady asked if she gets tired in the middle of the point, could she rest. We assured her that she would be just fine. Once we had her on the courts we could not get her off, and she never took a break."
Masters Tennis is the new 60-foot fun short-court option played within a full-size 78-foot tennis court, or set up as a court on its own, indoors or outdoors. Masters Tennis is for a wide variety of players from veterans looking to get back in the game after injuries to adults newer to the game looking for a fun challenge. Players can use their regular tennis racquets, or smaller racquets which provide more control.
"Before we were even finished they were all asking where they could sign up, they definitely wanted to keep doing this, and said this was the most fun they have had in a long time," Nordlund said. "The laughter echoed in the room from all of them."
The Arcola Lakes Park Senior Center is Miami-Dade County Parks' first recreational facility specifically built for seniors. Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation Active Adults 55 Program Coordinator Allan Tayss is working with USTA Florida to further organize Masters Tennis in their senior programs at parks across Miami. Also assisting at the Arcola Lakes event were park manager Treneise Henderson, coach Bille, and senior center manager Linda Baker.
"Masters Tennis can also be utilized for indoor facilities, and we used painter's tape to create lines on the indoor carpet surface, along with the mini-nets and foam balls for easy rallying," Murphy said. "The seniors were given a chance to try something they would not have tried outside."
To learn more about starting a Masters Tennis program, or available Masters Tennis grants, e-mail USTA Florida Masters Tennis Coordinator Christine Murphy at murphy@florida.usta.com.

To learn more about the Masters Tennis format or current program sites, go to www.masterstennisflorida.com.






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