Parks Conference Presentation Shouts Out Tennis
Michael Marotta — USTA Missouri and USTA St. Louis tennis service representative (TSR) — provided a presentation and exhibit booth at the 2021 Missouri Park & Recreation Association (MPRA) Conference & Expo, which took place April 13-16 in Columbia.
Marotta presented and worked alongside John Terpkosh, USTA Missouri Valley Parks & Recreation program manager and TSR for USTA Iowa. The duo gave a wide-ranging 75-minute presentation to attendees on the many ways USTA can benefit park & rec departments.
According to a recent survey by the Physical Activity Council, 66% of all tennis is played in public parks and public facilities.
“The presentation went really well. John and I tag-teamed and went through the different areas of how we can provide resources on equipment, grants, our Serve Tennis platform — pretty much the whole shebang,” Marotta said. “We gave everybody a breakdown of what they can use for their tennis programming and just some ways of how they could use it as well."
Marotta said it was fulfilling to be face-to-face with individuals he hasn’t seen in quite some time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those folks was Jodie Adams, a longtime key figure in the Springfield parks arena.
The MPRA conference “brings together park and recreation professionals from around the state to connect and network with their peers during three exciting days of quality education, professional development and fun events.
“The biggest thing is for everyone to be aware the USTA is here to help,” Marotta said. “There are a lot of different avenues we could take to benefit their programs. That might be something along the lines of working with a school and having a partnership.
“It could be where they just want to start tennis, and they don’t know how to do anything or where to begin. If they talk with us, we can send them down the right path and get them the right resources — like a community equipment grant or something similar — to start the program for the first time."
One of the central focuses of Marotta and Terpkosh’s presentation was the advantages of park & rec departments adding the new USTA Serve Tennis platform to their repertoire. More information on this platform — which automates administrative processes with online payments, player registration and more — can be found here.
“Serve Tennis is an all-encompassing platform that allows facilities to put in their programming to be accessed on the USTA website for people to see and then create a website out of it,” Marotta said. “They can use Serve Tennis for registration, court bookings and can access their contacts. It really allows people to do everything on one platform rather than using all these tools on multiple platforms.”
Marotta said there were individuals in attendance at the MPRA Conference who already have a partnership with USTA, while others expressed interest both after his presentation as well as during the open exhibit. Nearly 100 exhibitors showcased their products and services at the expo hall, according to the MPRA website.
The USTA Missouri Valley vendor booth was set up for two separate two-hour windows at the conference.. Marotta said there was a strong turnout. Folks swinging by the booth dropped off their business cards, with a winner receiving a tennis court construction manual valued at $50.
“People came in, walked around, checked out the different vendors and stopped by to chat with us,” Marotta said. “We let them know about the benefits we have. We went over the same thing as what we included in the presentation, and we gave out flyer handouts. We let them know we are out and are helping the public. This is how we can help.”
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