Five junior development programs in four states have been named USTA Certified Regional Training Centers as part of its continuing effort to develop the next generation of world-class American players. The five programs will service the junior players in four USTA sections across the country.
The Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego and the Northwest High Performance Tennis program in Seattle, are the first Certified Regional Training Centers named in the USTA Southern California and USTA Pacific Northwest sections, respectively. The 4 Star Tennis Academy in Fairfax, Va., will join the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., in an RTC network for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. The Rochester Athletic Club in Rochester, Minn., and the Life Time Fitness center in Lakeville, a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, will comprise a USTA Certified Regional Training Center network for the USTA Northern Section. (See below for an overview of each program.)
As USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, the five programs will enhance the training and development of junior players in their respective areas of the country, and USTA Player Development will use these new partnerships as vehicles to educate and collaborate with junior tennis coaches in these four USTA sections to work together toward developing the next generation of world-class American players.
In addition to continuing their existing programs, the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers will host USTA Player Development camps for players, ages 8-12, in their respective regions. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA national coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Coaching Commission. The Centers will also help identify talent in players as young as 6 years old, run programs using 10 and Under Tennis* and host 10 and Under Tennis tournaments for players 8 and under and 10 and under.
"Now in its fourth year, the Certified Regional Training Center initiative continues to expand and flourish as we at USTA Player Development work collaboratively with more programs and coaches," said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. "We are happy that we are continuing to see positive results from some of the young players who train at these USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, and these new programs will help us continue to expand our outreach as we continue to try and develop the next wave of world-class American players."
The camps will be staffed by the top coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers and throughout their respective USTA sections with additional assistance from the USTA National coaching staff. USTA Certified Regional Training Center coaches will also participate in the USTA Coaching Education program by working with and training the top coaches in their respective region and/or USTA section. Additionally, the RTC coaches will attend training sessions at USTA National Training Centers in Boca Raton, Fla., Carson, Calif., or Flushing, N.Y.
The USTA Certified Regional Training Centers expand the USTA Player Development program’s reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs and tennis centers that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players. In December 2008, the USTA named the Atlanta-based Racquet Club of the South, which was recently acquired by Life Time Fitness and rebranded Life Time Tennis Atlanta, and The Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland as its first two USTA Certified Regional Training Centers. In addition to the five programs named today, the USTA also has named a network of USTA Certified Regional Training Centers in the USTA Midwest, Missouri Valley, Northern California and Texas sections, along with a network of facilities throughout the Northeast corridor of the U.S., and an individual facility in Las Vegas. The USTA has now named USTA Certified Regional Training Centers in 13 of the 15 USTA Sections in the continental U.S., and will host USTA Certified Regional Training Center Camps in all 17 USTA Sections, including USTA Hawaii and USTA Caribbean.
The mission of USTA Player Development is to develop world-class American players through a clearly defined training structure and competitive pathway, as well as through the implementation of a comprehensive coaching philosophy and structure. The Player Development program is based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA Training Center-West in Carson, Calif., the USTA Training Center-East in Flushing, N.Y., and a network of Regional Training Centers throughout the country. USTA Player Development encompasses several areas of oversight, including coaching education, player id and development, sport science, strength and conditioning, junior competition, collegiate competition and player services.
* 10 and Under Tennis is a play format that has been developed to help kids 10 and under play the game of tennis. To make the game more accessible to children, several elements have been modified, including the court size, the racquet size, the balls, the scoring system and even the net height.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, "like" the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.
OVERVIEW OF PROGRAMS NAMED AS USTA CERTIFIED REGIONAL TRAINING CENTERS
The 4 Star Tennis Academy operates at the Four Seasons Tennis Club in Fairfax, Va., which features 10 indoor hard courts, four outdoor clay courts, and four outdoor hard courts that are bubbled during the winter months. The program also utilizes the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. The program was founded in 1973 and strives to not only develop world-class players, but also to contribute to students’ overall life experience and enjoyment of the game. The 4 Star Tennis Academy is run by Executive Director Bob Pass.
The Rochester Athletic Club is located in Rochester, Minn., and features 11 indoor and two outdoor hard courts, along with six outdoor clay courts. Classes are offered for children as young as four years of age and offer extensive 10 and Under Tennis programming. The Rochester Athletic Club’s development program is run by Director of Junior Development Brent Frueh.
Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE: LTM), The Healthy Way of Life Company helps organizations, communities and individuals achieve their total health objectives, athletic aspirations and fitness goals by engaging in their areas of interest, such as tennis, both inside and outside of Life Time’s national base of large sports, professional fitness, family recreation and spa destinations. Life Time currently offers 158 tennis courts and associated training and programming, leagues and tournaments in seven states. Among the 16 Life Time locations that offer tennis are the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers in Lakeville, Minn., directed by Craig Gordon, and Atlanta, directed by Grant Stafford.
The Northwest High Performance Tennis program hosts tennis programming at the Outreach and Performance Tennis Center and Central Park Tennis Center in Kirkland, Wash., as well as at AV Performance Tennis in Bellevue, Wash. The program’s mission is to provide a pathway to Division 1 and professional tennis, developing each player to their full potential in an environment that is both competitive and supportive to maximize the development of all athletes. The program is run by Directors Dan Willman, Mike Calkins and Justin Bower.
The George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center is located in San Diego and is a public facility owned and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego. Dedicated to San Diego’s youth, the Barnes Tennis Center is open to the public, and all kids play for free. The facility features 21 lighted hard courts and four lighted clay courts, along with multiple sand courts for beach tennis. The facility hosts more than 20 tournaments annually that range from entry-level novice events to national championships and offers tennis classes and clinics serving players of all ages and skill levels. The tennis programming is run by Tennis Director Steve Bickham and Director of High Performance Luda Makarova.