USTA Wheelchair to focus on
May 1, 2018
In the past year, USTA Wheelchair Tennis has experienced monumental growth across the board. Tournament play rose 20 percent in 2017, 17 programs were granted funds to continue programming, and the Collegiate Wheelchair Programs gained momentum as well. As USTA National Wheelchair Staff began to strategize for 2018, it quickly became clear that the focus should shift on junior programming nationwide.
Although the Junior World Team Cup crew had a three-peat world championship this past year, the majority of those juniors have aged out and will now be competing in adult divisions. With very few players coming up behind them, the USTA Wheelchair Tennis Department is starting to put forth a great effort in developing new junior programs to ensure the sport’s future.
National Staff member Jason Allen is currently adapting Net Generation curricula to meet the needs of wheelchair tennis programs. ADVERTISEMENT In the latter half of the year, the USTA plans to start an aggressive campaign to begin junior programming that will be under the USTA’s Net Generation. This platform will allow children who are interested in playing wheelchair tennis to find programs near them via Net Generation.
“We are competing with many sports and activities to which children are exposed. We hope to show tennis as a viable option that children with disabilities can use to play with their family and friends,” said Jason Allen, USTA Manager of Wheelchair Tennis. “Tennis is the most integrated of all the disabled sports and thus can easily be played with other people with disabilities or with non-disabled players. We are unique in that respect. We also have a complete pathway from beginner to professional to Paralympian. With these new partnerships with nationwide children’s hospitals, we are confident that junior numbers will multiply within the next few years.”
Jo Wallen, USTA Director of Wheelchair Tennis, added, “We are very excited that by 2019 wheelchair will have curricula in the Net Generation app that all coaches will have access to. It is important to the life cycle of wheelchair tennis that more tennis teaching professionals are becoming engaged with our athletes.”