2007 Junior development champion of the year: Craig Jones
Craig Jones’ commitment to growing the game is evident by his long list of awards, distinctions and volunteerism. A popular speaker and accomplished USTA High Performance coach, he has also become one of the country’s foremost advocates of the USTA’s QuickStart Tennis format for kids 10 and under.
And for his many accomplishments bringing tennis to kids, Jones is RSI’s 2007 Junior Development Champion of the Year.
Director of tennis and majority owner of the Petersburg Racquet Club in Martinez, Ga., Jones embraced QuickStart (formerly called Project 36/60) as a pilot program in May 2006. “Ever since we started it,” says Jones, who is certified by both the USPTA and PTR, “it’s like our junior program has been on steroids.”
Its popularity has even surprised Jones, who has hired another teaching pro amid plans to build additional courts — some with permanent QuickStart lines — to keep up with demand.
“Craig is a respected high-performance coach, but he also sees the big picture of needing to find new ways to attract and retain players,” says Kirk Anderson, director of the USTA’s Recreational Coaches and Programs. “He believes in QuickStart and has done an excellent job of implementing it. He’s clearly a cut above most teaching pros.”
Tips for success
- More courts, more kids. With the QuickStart format, 12 youngsters can comfortably rally per court under the supervision of just one teaching pro.
- Sell modified equipment in the pro shop. Allowing parents to purchase transition balls and racquets may generate another benefit: their interest in adult lessons and equipment of their own.
- Learn from the Europeans. While the best U.S. teaching pros are usually reserved for the most advanced teens, Europeans have the opposite mindset. An experienced pro can make game improvement decisions more quickly and efficiently with beginners.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.