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Palm Coast Celebrates USTA Florida $1,000 Share the Love Grant with QuickStart Tennis Kick-Off

June 24, 2010 12:37 PM
QuickStart Tennis mini-courts at the Palm Coast Tennis Center
QuickStart Tennis instructors work with beginner children
From left: instructors Alena Dvornikova and Ken Obermeier and students
The Palm Coast Tennis Center received a $1,000 USTA Florida 'Share the Love' grant in June and celebrated with area children, hosting a QuickStart Tennis Kick-Off event for 10-and-under players.

QuickStart Tennis is the USTA-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. Funding comes from the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' campaign, a $500,000 initiative on top of the organizations' regular annual giving to help fund tennis programs and projects throughout Florida communities during challenging economic times.

"The Palm Coast Tennis Center is thrilled to receive this grant for many reasons," says Ken Obermeier, tennis superintendent of the City of Palm Coast and a certified USTA high performance coach. "Primarily it allows us the opportunity to purchase the necessary equipment to offer the QuickStart program to the children of Flagler County. It is also great to be able to offer a fun, quality tennis experience to a large number of new players all under the age of 10."

The Palm Coast QuickStart Tennis Kick-Off event featured upbeat music during one-hour practice and play sessions.

"Our event was divided into two groups," Obermeier said. "First was the 7-10 year olds and the second was the 10-12 year olds. I did have several volunteers from our community tennis association on hand to help us out. It went very well and I hope to continue to get more children involved."

USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland was on hand as Obermeier and his assistant Alena Dvornikova roamed the courts to manage the sessions, while volunteers from the Palm Coast/Flagler Friends of Tennis, an official USTA Florida Community Tennis Association (CTA), assisted with feeding balls and instruction.

"In the future, these volunteers from the local CTA could also act as tennis mentors for these new tennis players," McFarland said. "I was so excited to see how interactive the QuickStart session was with no standing in lines! It was great to watch volunteers ball feeding to kids, kids ball feeding to kids and watching the tennis teachers walk around and manage the flow of the lesson rather than feed balls from a stationary position on court. This is just another positive example of what a proper QuickStart Tennis practice session should look like!"

Dvornikova, tennis supervisor for the City of Palm Coast, submitted the grant to USTA Florida.

"We are very excited about receiving this grant because it gives us an opportunity to offer QuickStart at our facility," Dvornikova said. "This program is a great starting point for kids that are interested in a sport, and will feed into our other programs which will give participants a structured way of reaching their full potential."

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. 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.
 
 Palm Coast QuickStart Tennis
 

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