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Palm Bay, Brevard Co. Receives USTA Florida QuickStart Grant

September 22, 2010 11:14 AM
QuickStart Tennis
Brevard County tennis advocate John "Coach Poppie" Massetti has given of himself and his own funds over the years to promote tennis in Palm Bay and the surrounding areas. Now the tennis instructor and organizer will be spreading the fun new format of QuickStart 10-and-under tennis with the help of a 'Share the Love' grant for QuickStart equipment from USTA Florida.
 
Massetti has been working with 10-and-unders with the QuickStart smaller racquets, nets, and low-compression balls since late 2008, formerly building his own mini-nets and spending personal funds of more than $2,000. He works with the City of Palm Bay Parks and Recreation to provide services, but has received no funding or assistance.
 
"I have been carting my gear to the schools in the area as a community service for the last two years," Massetti says. "I am in the process of aligning with the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Dept. to expand QuickStart to a higher level of player development."
 
QuickStart Tennis is the new USTA-approved and ITF (International Tennis Federation)-approved format for teaching children age 10-and-under, 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 QuickStart Tennis in action go to: http://10andundertennis.usta.com.
 
"There are 10,000 K-6 students in the school system in just Palm Bay," Massetti said. "The current QuickStart program is offered at Veteran's Memorial Park, with plenty of room for expansion. I am a PTR professional 4A [rated] and attended the first USTA QuickStart training held in 2008, and QuickStart training at PTR headquarters in 2009."
 
USTA Florida's "Share the Love" campaign is a $500,000 initiative on top of the organization's regular annual giving to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times. Funding priorities for the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' initiative include QuickStart Tennis and Jr. Team Tennis (coordinator training, start-up, etc.), public facility funding (schools, parks, conversion to QuickStart courts, etc.), community tennis awareness (innovative pro-active start-ups, program expansion), school programs and senior tennis programs/projects.
 
"It's with USTA membership dollars that we are able to offer program grants to communities like these," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director, Play Tennis Division, Andy McFarland.
 
Share the Love grant applications are still being accepted by USTA Florida at www.USTASharetheLove.com, or questions can be e-mailed to grants@florida.usta.com. For more info on tennis in the Palm Bay area to go www.palmbayflorida.org/parks/partners/tennis.html.
 
 
 

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