A $1,000 grant from the USTA Florida "Share the Love" initiative has allowed the Country Club of Ocala to expand it's 10-and-under tennis program with scaled-down equipment for smaller children.
The 10-and-under Tennis 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 the 10-and-under Tennis play format in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com
"We agree with the USTA that the 10-and-Under Tennis program will encourage students to stay with the sport and entice newcomers to tennis," said Country Club of Ocala Tennis Coordinator Michiele Sherman. "We want to continue to offer quality programs and believe 10-and-Under Tennis is such a program."
Country Club of Ocala offers junior tennis to both members and non-members, and supports two USTA Jr. Team Tennis league teams.
"With athletic programs being cut from schools, more parents are looking to programs like 10-and-Under Tennis for their children," Sherman said.
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 play format 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 further success of this program," 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the 10-and-Under Tennis play format in Florida, go to www.ustaflorida.com