Organizer of the Month:
January 23, 2017
Each month, USTA Eastern selects one passionate advocate who has impacted lives through tennis on a local level. It all begins with a love of the game! These individuals have inspired us with their community tennis involvement.
Tennis Organizer of the Month: January 2017
Jim Alfalla, of Jersey City, N.J., is a hard-working tennis provider who presents youth and adults with access to the sport using a wide variety of playing surfaces and low-compression balls. He was chosen as USTA Eastern’s Tennis Organizer of the Month for January because of his success in introducing tennis, particularly through after school programming.
Alfalla is the Founder and CEO of TennisApproach, a tennis instruction business that develops beginner and high level players. Since 2010, TennisApproach has offered several types of tennis education and play opportunities including: school programming, clinics, summer camps and weekly programming, among others.ADVERTISEMENT
“One unique fundamental aspect TennisApproach utilizes is Total Dynamic Movement,” Alfalla said. “We focus on core principles like balance, movement, coordination and speed first, then work on proper technique.”
TennisApproach has utilized a progression tennis philosophy by teaching with differently sized low-compression tennis balls on smaller courts. Through using this method, TennisApproach has enabled hundreds of youth and adults each year to excel in tennis.
“We have hosted clinics on blacktop, concrete and gym floors,” Alfalla said. “We use any safe surface available to teach. With smaller equipment, lower-bouncing balls and smaller courts, it helps kids, as well as beginner adult players, have fun and get into it more.”
One program that is often hosted on different playing surfaces is after school tennis, one of TennisApproach’s most successful programs. TennisApproach first started working with schools in 2011 at Hamilton Park Montessori in Jersey City, N.J. They began by teaching an in-school program as well as an after school program. Today, the school has a physical education teacher who provides other sports during school, while TennisApproach is still running the tennis after school program twice a week.
In addition, TennisApproach does offer both in-school and after school tennis at Hudson Montessori School, providing kids with a fun introduction to the sport. Currently, TennisApproach is working with five schools to deliver a combination of in-school and after school Youth Tennis instruction.
“Schools are a great way to get kids going with tennis,” Alfalla said. “We offer school programs year-round and summer camps when school is out. This way kids always have a place to play.”
Alfalla, who has played tennis since he was 19 years old, shares his passion for the game with everyone he teaches. In doing so, he has been quite successful, as several of his former students are now excelling at National Junior Tournaments.
“It’s fantastic to see some of the kids I worked with move forward to the next phase,” Alfalla said. “I enjoy seeing their successes. It is a wonderful feeling.”