Organizer of the Month
August 15, 2018
Each month, USTA Eastern selects one passionate advocate who has made unique contributions within the community through tennis. This teacher is a tireless advocate of our sport as well as a doting dad who supports his daughter and many other New York City kids who are intrigued by what tennis can teach on and off the court.
Tennis Organizer of the Month: August 2018
New York City teacher Shawn Chandler grew up playing and loving basketball. He learned a lot from the sport, but when his daughter Summer tried tennis at the age of three years, he learned about a sport with unique life lessons and experiences that resonated with him as a teacher and father.
“When Summer was three, her grandfather bought her her first racquet,” said Chandler. “I played basketball recreationally a lot and had a bias about the value of team sports. ADVERTISEMENT My wife played tennis is high school and as Summer became acquainted with the sport, and became good at it fairly quickly, I grew to appreciate the power of this individual sport.”
As Summer’s affinity and talent for tennis became apparent, Shawn took her to the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA), which offered her a scholarship to train at the tennis academy on Randall’s Island.
“On the court, tennis players need to learn to make fast decisions with no outside guidance,” said Chandler. “As a teacher, I know these experiences build self-confidence and can be powerful teaching tools in problem-solving and dealing with challenges on their own.”
Through Summer’s training at JMTA, Shawn was introduced to a USTA program called Junior Team Tennis (JTT). JTT is a junior program that provides individual technical tennis skill and strategy development in a team-centered atmosphere. JTT is available for boys and girls, ages 6 to 18; co-ed teams are organized by age, and give junior players a chance to engage in match play in spirited and supportive team setting.
“About two years ago, JMTA and USTA Eastern reached out to me to see if I could help put a JTT team together at the academy,” Chandler said. “I had come to know a lot of the parents who had children participating in the Johnny Mac Tennis Project programs. So I helped put two teams of the youngest kids together, serving as captain for one, which was great because the kids could get that team experience in.”
Shawn Chandler enjoys his role as a JTT parent volunteer. “It’s been a great way for these kids and parents to develop their own special community. With JTT, kids get the best of both worlds – playing individually but also working together as a team. Merging these two perspectives together is the ultimate learning and character-building experience.”