The USTA today announced that Rita Gladstone of Port Orange, Fla., has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 USTA Recreational On-Court Trainer of the Year Award. Gladstone was chosen from the USTA’s team of trainers who promotes the growth of tennis through exemplary on-court training, assists the national office with the direction of this program, and is very well connected with their Section’s efforts.
"Rita Gladstone has had a remarkable impact on the game of tennis and her commitment and enthusiasm are unparalleled," said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "We deeply appreciate her efforts and proudly recognize her with this honor."
A lifelong tennis enthusiast, Gladstone takes every opportunity to grow tennis from a community grass roots level. She joined the USTA Recreational Coach Workshop (RCW) Trainer faculty in 2006 and continues to conduct workshops in her home state of Florida and across the country. In addition to RCW and 10 and Under Tennis workshops, she also conducts in-service trainings for physical education teachers and after-school program providers. As a trainer, Gladstone strives to give new coaches, P.E. teachers, parents and volunteers the confidence to provide a great "first time" experience for their players. Her goal is to instill enthusiasm for coaching players and also a love for tennis.
Gladstone is an active USTA volunteer on both a Section and National level. She has served on the USTA Florida Recreational Tennis Council since 2007 and is currently a member of the USTA 10 and Under Task Force and Vice Chair of the Jr. Team Tennis Committee. She is very active with local USTA programming, acting as League Coordinator for USTA Jr. Team Tennis in her county. Gladstone also is a past speaker at both the Tennis Teacher’s Conference and Community Tennis Development Workshop.
Gladstone has enjoyed over 30 years in tennis as a player, coach, volunteer, and national trainer. As a player, she competed on a national, collegiate and international level. A University of South Carolina alum (1984 –1988) her 127 career singles wins still holds a school record. She also competed professionally, attaining a world ranking from 1986 –1990.
Gladstone will be honored at the United States Tennis Association Community Tennis Development Workshop held January 13 - 15, 2012 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, La, the largest annual gathering of grassroots tennis leaders in the United States. This is also the first year that the award will be presented at this conference. In the past the award was given out at the Tennis Teacher’s Conference during the US Open.
The USTA Recreational On-Court Trainer of the Year Award was established in 2006. Previous recipients of this award included: (2009, 2006) Butch Staples, Chicago, Ill.; (2008) Tom Fey, Indian Wells, Calif.; (2007) Mike Carter, Austin, Texas.