Overview

Middle and High School Tennis Leagues and Clubs are instrumental in achieving the health and wellness goals of schools. The United States Tennis Association can assist schools in organizing intramural and interscholastic leagues, including programs that that attract students by focusing on the inclusive nature of team sports.

Your Role | Getting Started | Spread The Word | Play! | Grow Your Program

Your Role

No Cut052809Anyone can help to start a school tennis league: Parents, volunteers, faculty, administrators and /or after school providers Ideally, the league or club will have support from the following:

A Coordinator

Can be affiliated with the school system, an employee or volunteer with the local Community Tennis Association or District Tennis Association. Responsibilities may include:

  • Obtaining approvals and securing a playing area
  • Identifying prospective schools and coaches
  • Marketing the program to potential schools
  • Creating a Coaches contact list


Coaches


Coaches can be found anywhere and everywhere!

  • Parents, Physical Education teachers, HS coaches, retirees, and adult league tennis players
  • Tennis professionals interested in growing their youth programs can also be utilized

Getting Started

MSGroupforwebNecessary Approvals

  • Check the school system student activity handbook for any rules and regulations
  • Get required school clearance for all volunteers
  • Meet with the principal, athletic director and PTA/PTO president for approval
  • Determine if the proposed league can be a school sponsored and funded event
  • Leagues are often funded by the governing body for interscholastic and extracurricular activities or as an after school sports club

Set a schedule and a playing area

  • Determine the season
  • Consider weather, school terms, tennis court locations and availability and conflicts with other extra-curricular activities and sports
  • Identify all public and private tennis courts/facilities located nearby. Tennis can even be played on blacktops, gym floors and multi-purpose courts.
  • Contact court owners for permission to use the facilities
  • Obtain insurance
  • Available through the USTA to cover all sites to be used for the league, whether public or private.
  • If the league is run under the auspices of the District or Sectional Association, the league is covered by USTA insurance


Contact Area Schools to grow the League

  • Invite both public and private schools.
  • You may include all schools and children, including charter schools and home schooled children
  • Visit with the school district's administration office, athletic department and/or the community relations person
  • Contact the principals of the schools

Train Your Coaches

  • Host a USTA Recreational Coach Workshop to teach coaches:
  • How to handle large groups of diverse levels of players
  • How to Implement a play based approach for beginners by emphasizing play vs. instruction
  • Download coaching tips, practice plans and match formats
  • Contact your Local USTA Section Office for more information

Funding and Fees

  • Reasonable participant fees sufficient to support the costs of the league should be projected and charged.
  • Expenses may include:
  • A stipend for the coordinator, coaches and assistants (if not supported by the school system or by the District, Section or CTA, or volunteers)
  • Match balls, refreshments, team t-shirts, transportation, court fees
  • Year-end tournament costs such as trophies, t-shirts, refreshments, printing and supplies
  • Funding for team based school leagues may be found through district, sectional or national USTA grants or through section foundations
  • Student fundraising efforts such as car washes, bake sales, tennis fundraising events and tournaments should also be utilized

Organize a first meeting

  • Review league and/or club rules and policies, schedule of practices, and any other necessary information.

Spread The Word

  • Obtain permission from the school district’s administration office, athletic department and/ or community relations department to:
  • Create and distribute flyers and information to students on campus
  • Arrange for in school announcements to be made
  • Publicize through school newsletters, list serves, posters, and local newspapers
  • Make club T-Shirts - there is no better advertisement and it’s a great way to build team spirit

Play!

05_HighSchoolKidsPlayingHost a kickoff event

  • Include students, teachers, administrators, and parents
  • Consider offering refreshments, awards and prizes


Be flexible in your programming and tailor the match format to your situation, taking into consideration:

  • Number of courts available for practices and matches
  • Size of the schools
  • Balance of girls and boys participating
  • Match players against players of comparable skills by providing divisions such as Varsity, Junior Varsity and C team divisions. Be sure no one is turned away!
  • Start small with a handful of teams, whatever is manageable for your first season. Don't worry - it will grow each year!!
  • Sample formats for after school: We suggest a match format of one set, no-ad scoring, with a set (twelve point) tiebreaker at six games all. 


A 6 court facility, 12-24 players on a team fairly evenly balanced between girls and boys:

  • Play 3 boys’ singles and doubles and 3 girls’ singles and double


A 6 court facility, 6-12 players on a team with any number of girls and boys:

  • A modified format (Coed Mix & Match Division) may be used with 6 singles and 3 doubles played according to strength

Grow Your Program

  • Encourage students to embrace responsibility
  • Give kids recognition for maintaining and improving upon the program
  • Include everyone and sign up to be a No-Cut program
  • No-cut programs also open more opportunities for assistance from parents, school and the community that can result in much needed booster support
  • Create a Junior Varsity League
  • Mirror your local high school tennis formats as to gender, team size and season, allowing these JV or C Team players an opportunity to be a part of their high school programs.
  • Increased participation at the Middle School level means there will be increased participation at the High School Level. Have FUN!!
  • Get to know the Physical Education teachers, parents, and personnel of the school/s and distribute information
  • Offer to assist with Physical Education Classes
  • Kids are introduced to tennis in the Physical Education classes, which transition into the local USTA Jr. Team Tennis League and/or NJTL or other after-school programs
  • Ask your club to volunteer to teach younger kids
  • Maintain an open door policy--everyone gets to participate!
  • At the end of the season, gather the team to evaluate the program and plan for the next year

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To get started with USTA School Tennis, contact your local USTA Section Coordinator or e-mail us at schools@usta.com.
 
 
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