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'Tennis on Campus' Advocate Roesch Named Volunteer of the Month

April 28, 2014 02:59 PM
Jimmy_Roesch"We want to take a traditional tennis lesson about as much as you [older people] want to be on social media." 

That statement, declared in front of attendees at this past December's USTA Florida Annual Meeting and Volunteer Weekend, was delivered by a group of recent college graduates. They took part in USTA Florida's "U30 Team Challenge" to come up with ideas to increase tennis participation in the 18-30 age demographic, both on and off the court.

It was an eye-opener for many in attendance that young people had little interest in standing in lines waiting to be fed balls by a teaching pro. They wanted fun and social interaction, reflected in every innovative idea brought forward during the U30 Team Challenge. Each group in the challenge presented their ideas, which were voted on by those in attendance, and the winning group received funding to make their idea a reality.

Jimmy Roesch, a member of the winning "Team Capriati," has since December been laying the groundwork for turning his team's idea into a reality. Roesch is a former player in "Tennis on Campus," the co-ed club program at Florida colleges and universities that allows students to practice together, build camaraderie, and compete against other schools in 8-10 events a year without the time commitment of playing NCAA tennis.

"Our idea was to further tennis among younger tennis players by helping to bridge a gap between high school and college tennis," said Roesch of his team's idea, which was funded by USTA Florida. "We are setting up Tennis on Campus tournaments for high school-aged kids so that they will be familiar with the benefits of club tennis in college."

Each year the Florida "Tennis on Campus" state winner and runner-up teams advance to the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championships, where they compete among the 64 top college club tennis teams in the nation. In 2014 the University of Florida team finished runner-up at nationals. University and college teams competing over the years in Florida have included Barry, Eckerd College, Embry-Riddle, Flagler, Florida A&M, Florida Gulf Coast, FIT, FIU, FSU, New College of Florida, Rollins, St. Thomas, Stetson, UCF, UF, UM (Miami), USF and and UT (Tampa).

Under Roesch's guidance, the Tennis on Campus format is now being introduced to high school-aged players in a tournament format to acquaint them with Florida Tennis on Campus series before they get to college.

"I just ran the first-ever Tennis on Campus High School Tournament at Suntree Country Club [in Melbourne], and the kids loved it," Roesch said. "Desirae McLaughlin is the Florida Tennis on Campus coordinator, and the kids loved talking to her to find out how to pursue their passion of tennis at the college level."

So popular is the Tennis on Campus series at major schools such as the University of Florida and Florida State that some students admit the club teams played a part in their college choices.

Roesch says his driving passion is his fondness for Tennis on Campus and a desire to share the college tennis experience, whether at the NCAA or club level, with kids approaching college age.

"I love to play the game, and love to see others love it too," he says. "I still like to play as much as possible, and I think it's one of the only sports in the world that one can get competitive exercise so easily."

The Melbourne resident was also instrumental in helping organize the upcoming U30 Slam Series, a series of five events across Florida starting in May where under-30 players come together for music, tennis, food, prizes and more. He has worked with U30 efforts for both USTA Florida and USPTA-Florida.

USTA Florida congratulates Jimmy Roesch as the 2014 April Volunteer of the Month for his efforts in exposing junior players to the Tennis on Campus program and growing tennis participation among 18-30 year olds.

ABOUT JIMMY

Birthplace: Melbourne, Fla.
Family: wife Erin, brother Clifton, mother Helene, and father Jim
Favorite Movie: Waterboy
Favorite Food: I love all food
Favorite Travel: In the Rocky Mountains somewhere
Favorite Shot: Return of serve

My earliest tennis memory was..."when I was 7 years old, playing tennis with a wooden racquetball racquet with my father...I think the racket weighed 2 lbs. Thank God they made 10 and Under Tennis."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Roger Federer."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."doing something else active...or sleeping."

My best tennis memory is..."Winning the high school No. 1 singles state championships at Sanlando Park in 2005, and several super tiebreakers played with my wife at the Tennis on Campus national championships."


 
 

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