Partnering To Fill Tennis Courts

“This program is successful because it is a true community partnership between the parks, the schools, the CTA, and the New Haven Open at Yale [a professional tournament],” says NHYTE Executive Director John Pirtel. Through the partnership, kids not only learn to play tennis and benefit from a healthy, lifetime sport, but they also develop key educational and life skills. And the park fills its courts with programming. When people see full tennis courts, it produces even more interest in tennis—and more players.

How To Get Started

Not sure where to start? USTA.com is a great springboard. You’ll be able to locate section and district contacts, including Tennis in the Parks Peer Advisors, who can provide all the further information you need.

And importantly, the USTA—at the national and section levels, and in some districts—has various grants available that parks and rec agencies and CTAs can apply for.

Pairing with a CTA might take a little leg work initially, but once roles and boundaries are established, both sides benefit. Shortly after the Macon tennis centers were renovated, Larry Fennelly, a longtime tennis player and columnist for The Telegraph newspaper, wrote: “The achievement at our public tennis facilities is just a small example of what can be accomplished when we join hands and pull together.”

Park and rec departments have tennis courts; CTAs have resources, funding, the backing of the U.S. Tennis Association, and a seemingly endless supply of volunteers. Together, you can form an unbeatable doubles team.

Robin Bateman is the site coordinator for the Tattnall Tennis Center in Macon, Ga., where she coordinates tennis programs and leagues, is a tournament director, serves as a team captain, and assists junior teams competing at district, regional, and section events.

Peter Francesconi is the editorial director for Racquet Sports Industry Magazine.

For more information, visit www.usta.com.

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