More Than A Coach
When Megan Foster looks at a tennis court, she sees much more than just tennis.
So when she took over as varsity coach at Washington and Jefferson College (W&J), she envisioned the campus courts (Janet Swanson Tennis Center) as a place where students and the surrounding community could come together.
Luckily, that vision matched one of USTA’s main goals for the year: turning collegiate complexes into community hubs.
Foster had three goals in pursuing her vision:
- Collaborate with the LeMoyne Community Center – A new NJTL (National Junior Tennis and Learning) chapter that is within walking distance to the courts
- Hold USTA Junior Tournaments
- Host a Coaching Essentials Workshop, to get her entire team and motivated high school students certified as teaching professionals
Check, check, and check.
Over the summer, Foster and USTA Middle States staff member Kelle Cunningham worked with local high school students and counselors to deliver tennis to 100 new players (K-12) from the LeMoyne Center. Tennis was offered as one of the activities each week for eight weeks to all the kids. The W&J tennis team will continue to work with the kids throughout the school year as part of the kids’ after-school programming.
In addition to the camps, Foster and assistant coach Nate Wang held multiple junior tournaments at the Tennis Center. They held junior circuit green ball, Level 6 and Level 5 events. Because W&J is located near West Virginia and Ohio, Foster can facilitate tri-state (PA, WV, and OH) competition. This has been a great opportunity for W&J to gain exposure to its premier courts and beautiful campus, while also connecting with the tennis community in a creative, new way.
The local court impact went beyond helping kids and running events. Foster is also passionate in getting her team certified as tennis instructors, and by running a Coaching Essentials Workshop, the players can now help with the NJTL throughout the year, as well as offer them an opportunity to teach in their hometowns during the summer. Overall, 30 students can now work through online certification following the workshop, and become USPTA and/or PTR pros.
This training was the first one held in the country. Because of all the great work over the last several months, W&J received a Collegiate Community grant to help defray costs of starting up all these programs.
“We’re thrilled with the progress and with the impact we could make locally here through tennis,” Foster said. “Being able to connect to kids in our community and see the looks on their faces as they learn tennis has been amazing. I’m so proud of everyone here for the work they’ve done.