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Zero to 80 (Kids): McCracken Named USTA Florida July Tennis VOM

July 7, 2010 10:36 AM
Fred McCracken
Fred McCracken and his USTA Jr. Team Tennis squad
If there exists any hesitancy in starting a junior tennis league, or if you're an organizer in search of a blueprint, look no further than Naples' Fred McCracken. A relatively new local league coordinator (LLC) for the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis and QuickStart leagues in Collier County who has since left his LLC duties to concentrate solely on QuickStart, McCracken built the two leagues from the ground up, from zero to more than 80 players.

"I believe the key to building the USTA Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) league in Collier County was drawing upon my background as a sales representative for the past 25 years," McCracken said. "I physically met with each tennis community teaching pro that has a junior program. I established a good working relationship with each and every one of the pros. I pointed out the benefits of participating in the JTT league. This was a start-up program. Our first season had 53 registered players, and the second season grew to 83 players."

McCracken's passion for QuickStart Tennis, the new official USTA nation-wide format for children 10-and-under featuring smaller courts, nets, racquets and foam or low-compression balls that allow small children to quickly pick up the game, has led to his new focus solely on developing QuickStart in the Naples area.

"My goal and objective is to create a very large QuickStart program in Collier County," McCracken said. "We are establishing new QuickStart offerings in communities with large populations of young families. We have recently started a QuickStart program in Pelican Bay Community Park, one of the premier tennis facilities in Naples. Working in this community will assist us in further promoting the program due to its community presence and high media exposure."

Far from a one-man effort, Team McCracken consists of Fred and his wife Janet, his tennis business partner who handles the administrative aspects of running programs. This leaves Fred with more time for "sales," promoting QuickStart Tennis to Collier County facilities and advising teaching pros, P.E. teachers, parents and anyone else interested in working with 10-and-under children to take one of the QuickStart Workshops offered by USTA Florida.

"Fred built the Jr. Team Tennis league in Collier County," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for the Naples area Susie Bessire. "He has since resigned that position, but is dedicated to growing QuickStart in the parks in Collier County. He found his passion was for developing QuickStart kids and wants to focus on that aspect of tennis. He believes in the QuickStart format of play for those young kids, and he is a great promoter of the sport."

USTA Florida congratulates Fred McCracken, July Volunteer of the Month, for his work in promoting junior tennis and introducing 10-and-under children en mass to the game in the Naples area.

Wichita, Kan.
Family Members: My wife, Janet
Favorite Movie: Braveheart
Favorite Food: Pasta
Favorite Travel Spot: Kauai, HI
Favorite Tennis Shot: Slice backhand crosscourt

My earliest tennis memory was...buying my first used Wilson Jack Kramer racquet for five dollars.
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be...Bjorn Borg, Roy Emerson, and Steffi Graf.
When I am not playing tennis I am...teaching lessons in my own program.
Best-ever tennis memory...playing Missouri Valley tennis tournaments as a junior player and meeting Earl and Butch Buckholz in tennis clinics in Wichita, Kan.
I like to volunteer in tennis because...it's a way for me to give back to a sport that has provided me with decades of enjoyment. It gives me great satisfaction to teach others to play the game, as well.






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