Nickelodeon's Jeff Sutphen took time to enjoy some tennis with kids attending the Worldwide Day of Play.
By E.J. Crawford, USTA.com
Tennis got another chance to do what it does best – play – at the 2013 Worldwide Day of Play event on Saturday, Sept. 21, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hosted by Nickelodeon, Worldwide Day of Play features games and fun for kids of all ages. During the annual event, Nickelodeon doesn’t air any TV shows for three hours in an effort to encourage kids to get out of the house and get moving.
“A big part of childhood is getting outside and being active,” said Jeff Sutphen, the host of Nickelodeon’s “Figure it Out” and the emcee for 2013 Tennis Night in America youth tennis demonstration. “And what better way to do that than with the game of tennis?!”
For the third consecutive year, the USTA played a starring role in Worldwide Day of Play. SmashZone, the fun, interactive tennis experience for kids, was set up on-site, with Sutphen stopping by hit with the kids – and their families.
Also, in conjunction with Worldwide Day of Play and Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the USTA has encouraged clubs and programs throughout the country to hold free tennis play events – with more than 1,300 having already taken place or scheduled for September.
“Tennis is a great family activity, whether you’re all playing together as a family, playing some mixed doubles, or if you’re out for some good recreational fun,” said Sutphen. “It’s a great game even if you’re just going to a match to be supportive. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than going out and watching your kids play tennis.”
The USTA’s participation in Worldwide Day of Play is a continuation of its youth tennis initiative, designed to get more kids active and in the game with equipment and courts sized right for age and ability. To date, the USTA has constructed or refurbished more than 10,000 kid-sized courts in the U.S., and thousands of facilities across the country now offer youth tennis programming. In 2012, the largest growth in participation, at 13 percent, was among 6- to 12-year-olds.
To further that growth, the USTA over the next three years (2014-16) has committed to install at least 5,000 new kid-sized courts; to train at least 15,000 new youth coaches, trainers and volunteers; and to engage at least 300,000 kids in after-school and summer programs through the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network.
For more on how to get your child started in tennis, and to find a program and facility near you, visit YouthTennis.com.