Middle States

Tennis, Music & Education


Tennis Rocks Tutoring and Music Association


Tennis Rocks Tutoring and Music Association

Tennis stars Pat Cash and John McEnroe play guitar. Yannick Noah, the French Open Champion of 1983, has a successful music career. The Bryan Brothers have their own band.


It all adds up. Tennis and music simply go together, and Tennis Rocks Tutoring and Music Association is proving that on a daily basis. 


The Delaware-base youth organization makes it a priority to foster physical, academic and social growth and development among its participants, including recent graduate Anika Devotta.


Devotta, 18, is quick to point out the program’s community impact. As a freshman at the University of Delaware, she participated in the Tennis Rocks program throughout her teenage years, eventually spending time as a coach. Devotta is currently studying abroad in Athens, Greece, and credits the program for much of her own development and overall outlook.



“The greatest lesson I learned from working with Tennis Rocks is the amazing and often-underestimated power of simple networking,” she said. “Tennis Rocks is an incredible example of a program made by the community, for the community.”


That’s been a goal of Executive Director and coach Harry Shur for some time, along with coach and organization founder Monty Collum. As a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Tennis Rocks is part of a nationwide group of community tennis organizations seeking to develop the character of young people through tennis and education.


Like many NJTLs, Tennis Rocks offers year-round educational opportunities to its participants.


Devotta, from Delaware, has the unique perspective of seeing Tennis Rocks as a participant and a coach.


“This program is unique in that it is diverse beyond the superficial meaning of the word,” she said. “There was never a day I came to work and did not learn just as much as I taught the campers. Whether it was simply a card game the campers taught me or even how to say "hello" in many African languages, everyone involved in Tennis Rocks brings their own personal experiences, and perspectives to the program.


“While I was a Camp Counselor, there were many times when I sat back and others assumed the role of teaching — including the children. I think very few, if any, programs encourage such a remarkable fluidity of learning between the students and staff and the directors and the community.”


Shur is excited by the difference Tennis Rocks had made in the community in recent years. He said that in the last two years, every senior in the Tennis Rocks year-round programming has graduated high school and attended college. There are more than 700 participants of varying ages in the year-round programming, with an additional 150 children in the Family Focus tutoring program.


Overall, the USTA’s wide-reaching NJTL network features nearly 300 chapters that reach approximately 180,000 youth on an annual basis, providing free or low-cost tennis and education programming to the 50 largest markets in the U.S.


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