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Innovation: Quick Start in Schools

Here is a school based program partnered with Quick Start that has been very successful.. Quick Start is played before school and after school in Reading, Pennsylvania. The partnership started with one inner city school and eventually Quick Start in Schools spread to other schools by word of mouth and training at in-service days. It has grown to 13 elementary schools and 2 out of 4 middle schools. The morning session at school is from 7:30-8:30am and after school is from 3-4pm, although some of the more advanced players stay longer. Four quick start courts are set up in the school gym with school purchased equipment and they use the foam and orange quick start balls. In warmer weather they moved to the school’s courtyard if one is available. The morning program consists of playing tennis games while the afternoon program has instruction; teaching the rules of the game, technique, and sportsmanship.
Matthew Lubas, Athletic/Aquatic supervisor for the city of Reading oversees this program and Larry Zerbe is the Tennis Director. In Matt’s words, "I am not a tennis guy but a swim guy. Tennis use to take 10% of my time and now it is 90% of my time."

Matt and Larry find an enthusiastic organizer (not needing to be a tennis player) to run the program. It usually is someone already involved with the school. They help for the first week setting up the program and the students sell it to other students. Over 5000 children participate now. They have seen the school organizer checking homework in the morning and teachers have seen how students in the tennis program handle frustration and conflict resolution more effectively. These students then move to the Parks and Rec tennis program in the summer where a child can earn a racquet to keep. Larry commented:  "The spreading of this program initially with inner city children to communities with means has led to multi-culture tennis in the summer. The children bring their parents and the adults pick up a racquet and play Quick Start and have fun too."

Proven Where: Reading Pennsylvania

Quote from Innovators: Matt: "I see a change in the players lives. They have learned accountability, self respect, and conflict resolution. Tennis is a way to connect to these kids."
Larry: "It was hard to have fun playing tennis when you were just learning the sport, but with Quick Start now it is fun and easy."

For More Information
Matthew A. Lubas, Administrator
Recreation Supervisor
City of Reading

Larry Zerbe, Tennis Director

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