USTA Northern | March 15, 2018
Felicia Raschiatore has been in the tennis business a long time – first as a former top-100 player in the world and now as a 32-year teaching professional at Williston Tennis Center in Minnetonka, Minn. Having seen all the efforts looking to increase youth engagement in tennis over the years, Raschiatore thinks she has finally found the ace the industry has been seeking – Net Generation.
Net Generation is the USTA’s groundbreaking initiative welcoming a new generation of players into the next era of tennis. By offering full support of coaches, schools and parents, the USTA is looking to break new ground on and off the court with youngsters ages 5-18 by focusing on empowerment, unity and play. Through a comprehensive program of adaptable curricula, teaching and learning tools, promotional and communications materials and player and provider incentives, Net Generation aims to capture
the imagination of kids of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels.ADVERTISEMENT
“The USTA has spent an enormous amount of time researching and talking to established and successful tennis professionals in compiling a comprehensive, all-encompassing program for anyone to promote and grow the game of tennis,” Raschiatore, who is one of USTA Northern’s three Net Generation Ambassadors, said.
“Net Generation is fantastic as it is easy to understand and turnkey because the USTA did all the work for us!”
So what makes Net Generation different from past USTA initiatives?
A few of Raschiatore’s favorite features include mandatory background checks, the Net Generation provider directory and marketing generator, the partnership program between tennis providers and schools and the mobile coaching app.
“Did I mention, it is all FREE,” Raschiatore said with a smile.
For the first time in history, all providers must submit to a FREE national background check and complete a SafeSport education course developed in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee before becoming an approved provider.
“The safety of our kids is so important, especially in this day and age after seeing what has happened in other youth sports,” Raschiatore said. “It is definitely a positive selling point for both parents and employers.”
Another great feature of Net Generation is all approved programs and coaches are listed on a national Net Generation directory located at www.netgeneration.com. This allows parents with children that want to play tennis and looking for programming to go to one central location to find the program that works best for them in their community, while coaches and providers have a new outlet to promote and grow their business for FREE.
All approved providers also have access to FREE marketing and promotional materials through the Net Generation Marketing Generator. Now tennis deliverers can produce consistent, customized and professional marketing materials with a recognizable brand identity to current and future customers with flyers, posters, post cards, lawn signs and more.
Net Generation also encourages partnerships between community programs and local schools. Schools receive FREE equipment while introducing more kids to the joys of tennis, providing a win win for everyone.
But perhaps the greatest asset of Net Generation according to Raschiatore is the new curriculum and FREE mobile coaching app which includes lesson plans, videos, competencies and assessments for red, orange and green ball levels right at one’s fingertips.
“Coaches do not have to create lesson plans anymore as they are already done for them from the warm-up, to athletic and tennis skills, to corresponding games and finally take-home exercises,” Raschiatore said. “It is easy to learn and the kids really love it.”
Raschiatore says the curriculum also creates a consistent level of instruction and advancement to the next level, especially when you have kids taking multiple classes with different coaches.
“With 20 instructors using the app and following the curriculum, we all are doing the same thing from both a teaching and evaluation standpoint. And for those on my staff who are not comfortable using a mobile device on court, the USTA provides the same information in a paper format which is super convenient."
Another great thing about the app and the new curriculum for Raschiatore and her coaches is that they can modify it as needed depending on age and ability level.
“We love that we can adjust the existing curriculum depending on level of play or time frame allotted per class. That is one of the great things about Net Generation as the USTA has emphasized to use the resources however works best for your existing programs and don’t be afraid to add your own personal touches to it. Right now, all of our players ages 4 to 12 are on the Net Generation curriculum, and we cannot wait for the yellow ball curriculum coming soon.”
To become part of the changing face of youth tennis and to receive all of these great FREE incentives, visit www.netgeneration.com.