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Orlando's Shishima USTA Florida November 2010 Volunteer of the Month

November 8, 2010 09:40 AM
shishima-stacy-webOrlando's Stacey Shishima became the USTA Jr. Team Tennis site coordinator for the Hunter's Creek Community Association in the fall of 2009, adding to her other position as tennis committee chairman for the association. The double duty "kept it simple" with one lone contact person for Jr. Team Tennis, which then saw her Jr. Team Tennis participation doubling-up, and more.

"The Hunter's Creek Community has doubled their Jr. Team Tennis teams this past season to four teams, including one 12-and-under Novice, one 12-and-under Intermediate, and two 14-and-under Intermediate teams," Shishima said. "Next season, I hope to have another team in the 18-and-under Intermediate division."

As the site coordinator, Shishima finds captains, recruits new players and coordinates the necessary permits and fees for teams. Perhaps most importantly she makes sure kids are eased into the team format in a sport that is historically individual.
 
"USTA Jr. Team Tennis is great for developing team spirit and match play skills and confidence," Shishima says. "I believe young kids should start in the novice division, not because of their tennis skill, but as a player new to the concept of team tennis. Most tournaments are focused solely on singles or doubles, but not a whole team. Even if you win 3 of 5 matches, you still may lose [the overall match] because of a low number of games won. This fact motivates every team member to try and win every game, even in a losing situation."

In addition to teaching kids to fight hard 100 percent of the time, she believes Jr. Team Tennis is a great training ground for high school tennis.

"The team format is what these kids will see in their high school tennis teams," she says. "Each teammate should encourage each other's game and help the team to improve. Often, the team camaraderie can motivate the spirit of a losing player. Knowing your teammates are rooting for you can be a mental boost and change the outcome of a match."  

Shishima says the combination of having public courts available for children at Hunter's Creek and a burgeoning Jr. Team Tennis program in turn create more lesson and clinic opportunities for area teaching pros. The league drives junior tennis in the community, located midway between the center of Orlando and Kissimmee, and is creating new fans of the "sport of a lifetime."

"This is where tennis begins as a life-long passion," says Shishima of Jr. Team Tennis, the team format that children see repeated in high school, then varsity college or club Tennis on Campus play, then in USTA adult leagues. "The Jr. Team Tennis sectional tournament at the end of each season really is a great chance for kids to see other teams from around the state and the excitement of participating keeps the kids motivated to improve...As long as the kids enjoy playing and the desire to improve motivates them, they can play in all the stages of their lives."

ABOUT STACEY
Birthplace:
Los Angeles, Calif.
Family Members: husband Randy Mariano, and daughters Celina and Simone Mariano
Favorite Movie: BBC's Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth
Favorite Food: cheesecake
Favorite Travel: Italy
Favorite Stroke/Shot: slice

My earliest tennis memory was..."taking lessons with my older brother when I was around 10 years old."

If I could play tennis with three people, they would be..."the Bryan brothers and Martina Navratilova, mixed doubles."

When I am not playing tennis I am..."busy with my family, reading or playing Word with Friends!"

Best ever tennis memory..."watching the kids get better and finding their confidence."

I like to volunteer in tennis because..."I want the kids to play and love tennis for life."

 
 

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