Finding the right tennis pro to partner with your school is key to the success of your program.
A primary focus of the USTA Schools Program is to ensure children are introduced to tennis in an environment that is suited to their age and skill level and to make learning tennis fun and easy. At the core is the use of tailored equipment, including smaller courts, racquets and low-compression balls. Simply put, the idea was to shrink, simplify and create easy access to the game of tennis for any child under the age of 10—which is referred to as “10 and Under Tennis” (TAUT). Central to that mission is understanding the needs of the PE teacher and after-school staff and recognizing the resources you need to provide coordinated, follow-up programming.
- It’s all about access, and it starts in the schools!
The USTA has partnered with the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) with the realization that the support of your local teaching professionals and venues is a vital component of developing the strategy of delivering tennis for the youth recreational and competitive pathway.
- No budget for tennis?
- No experience playing tennis?
- No tennis courts?
No problem, just solutions that will allow you to decide on the level of involvement and commitment that you would like to make in delivering tennis. We are here to support you and make you feel comfortable with tennis. This will ensure all children have a fun and engaging experience.
How do we get started?
- Be sure that you work closely with your USTA section office to coordinate efforts for schools and/or district offices. The schools coordinator or 10 and Under Tennis coordinator can work with you to decide the type of program that will best suit your needs and develop a plan of action utilizing the resources and trusted partners available to you within your neighborhood. To find your coordinator’s contact information, click here.
- Whether you decide to offer a unit of tennis as a PE module, a stand-alone field trip or an on-going after-school or club program, the USPTA and PTR teaching professionals can be a great resource to help you.
- Finding the right tennis pro to partner with your school is a key step. The person you are looking for should be energetic with children and enthusiastic about introducing new players to the game, particularly children.
- In preparation for this, you should have a realistic goal for what you want to achieve from the program and be aware of any regulations that are acceptable in your school.
- When making calls to find a suitable tennis pro, be prepared to explain your goal, how you see him or her fitting in, and what the benefit will be for him or her in the partnership.
- Be sure that your candidate has the proper training and on-court experience, specifically in Youth Tennis Development, carries the appropriate liability insurance and is prepared to comply with all background checks required by the school/school district.
- Be knowledgeable about your school’s regulations, sign-in procedures and policies. If possible, it will make the partnership more attractive to the teaching pro if he or she is able to hand out flyers on instructional programs offered in the community and provide awareness of USTA Festivals, Play Days and Recreational Play opportunities that include Junior Team Tennis, rookie tournaments and more.
- Once you have found the right individual, you can work with the pro to design a program that is a good fit for you.
- We recommend meeting the tennis pro at your school or desired location prior to the first session to cover all of the details and allow him/her to see the area you plan to use and explain how they will use it.
- The tennis pro should be able to bring a supply of TAUT equipment along for the first session and work with you to make sure that you have on hand what will be needed to sustain the program through USTA discounted equipment programs or grants.
- At your first session, be as proactive as possible in assisting the tennis pro. If you have a large group or specific class rules that the children must follow, then your assistance will be a major help. It is also a great chance to learn some tennis teaching skills or games from a trained professional.
Where do we go from here?
- Once you have completed the first session, then the growth and future of your program is really up to you and the tennis pro. If you’re able to partner with the pro for the long term, then the sky really is the limit.
- Openly discuss your goals for tennis at your school, which could be as simple as an introductory school tennis assembly, one PE module per year or forming a Kids’ Tennis Club.
USTA School Tennis just makes sense, and our partnerships are helping to serve up tennis in a big way. This is an excellent time for all schools to embrace the sport of tennis and link with their local community in creating positive pathways for children to be active. We look forward to working in partnership with you to provide this opportunity to all children in your school.
The USTA has resources and programming that can address the health and wellness needs of schools:
- Training workshops
- School Tennis curriculum kit
- Kids’ Tennis Club materials (playbooks, pocket playbooks, sportsmanship poster, achievement awards)
- Equipment assistance
- Program start-up materials and grants
- Access to network USTA trainers and staff
Special thanks to Scott Colebourne, PTR Certified Teaching Professional, for his contribution to this article.