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Polk County's Dennis Bruckel named USTA Florida Tennis Volunteer of the Month
If you are new to tennis or want to brush up on your skills, then you certainly would sign up for classes. Now, imagine if you could do this for free. That’s where USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month, Dennis Bruckel, really gives back to the community.
Burckel first got involved with volunteer coaching in the late 2000s, where he went to his local high school and helped get the team ready for matches. However, he quickly realized that teaching high schoolers the basics of tennis was too late to start, so he had a new idea.
In 2010, Bruckel started to offer Saturday tennis lessons to kids in the community. The best thing about this is that all lessons were, and are still, completely free.
“We average around 20-30 kids per week in attendance,” Bruckel said. “We get a lot of help from our other volunteers, like Javier Munet and Curtis Miller, along with the more advanced high schoolers.”
These lessons focus on the fundamentals, such as stroke production, serving, and basic mechanics of the sport. He also has singles and doubles play for the kids to test their skills.
Bruckel also said that parents are a huge help to his Saturday lessons as they are the ones encouraging their kids to come out and are donating to keep these lessons free for everyone. All of the equipment is fully provided by him, his coaches and donations, which includes tennis rackets, balls, and courts.
“We have been supported by individuals from our local community with cash gifts, USTA with equipment donations, USPTR with tuition fees for advanced training for Tennis Under 10, and Performance Youth,” he said.
It’s been 12 years since Bruckel first started this amazing program, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything. He loves to see the smile on his participant's faces when they get to come out on a weekend to play tennis and make new friends.
USTA Florida thanks and congratulates Dennis Bruckel as the USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month for September 2022as a volunteer and coach, organizing free tennis and promoting positivity among the community in Polk County.
Birthplace: Rochester, New York
Family Members: Wife Esther Towle Bruckel and Daughter Tammy Titus
Favorite Movie: Sciatica has prevented sitting through a movie comfortably for years
Favorite Food: Lasagna
Favorite Travel Spot: Local Tennis Court
Favorite Shot: Lefthanded topspin forehand, drop shot ia a close second
My earliest tennis memory was… “Playing (and learning from) an uncle who was a college player in his youth.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be… “That uncle, my Dad, and my daughter, who is a pretty good high school player.”
When I’m not playing tennis I am… “Gardening, my second passion, career choice, and real talent.”
My best tennis memory is… Winning several singles and doubles tournaments at fairly low levels of competition.”
I like to volunteer in tennis because… “It allows me to continue to be active in a game I've loved for most of my life, played around the world, and to share that love long after my competitive career has ended.”
Interested in volunteering in tennis? Visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteers to learn more about available opportunities.
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