2006 Community Tennis Association of the year: Montgomery County
When it comes to developing tennis at the grassroots level for all players, you want to copy the best. And in terms of community tennis, the best is the Montgomery County Tennis Association in Silver Spring, Md.
The MCTA is committed to promoting the growth of tennis in Montgomery County for players of all ages and levels. The organization’s recent accomplishments include increasing adult and junior participation, forming a foundation that includes academic support, mentoring, advocacy, and much more. For all its accomplishments and initiatives, the all-volunteer MCTA is RSI’s Community Tennis Association of the Year.
For example, USTA Adult League play soared from 2,500 participants in 2003 to more than 5,000 players in 2005. And this past year, the MCTA formed the Montgomery County Tennis and Education Foundation to provide support in multicultural communities. Additionally, its TEAM program (Tennis, Education And Mentoring) offers tennis and academic support for at-risk middle-school students.
The MCTA’s Community Tennis Advocacy Committee successfully advocated for $1.4 million to save from demolition the public Wheaton Indoor Tennis Facility. “Before we got involved, the Montgomery County Council thought tennis was dying,” says MCTA President Frank Hatten. “They needed to be educated about how tennis can grow and prosper when given the right opportunity.”
It is this commitment to advocacy that impresses David Slade, the USTA’s national manager of CTAs. “The MCTA is leading the way for developing tennis at the grassroots level,” he says. “They’re doing a lot of what we want to emulate across the country.”
MCTA’s tips for success
- Go beyond typical league recruiting efforts by diligently matching adults with existing teams while creating new ones, and expanding the junior program into the summer.
- Establish a web presence, and keep it updated. A continual stream of relevant information keeps members coming back for more — online and on court.
- Become an advocate for tennis infrastructure and programming.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.