Sowing Seeds at the Grassroots
I just returned from San Diego and am all fired up. I was at the 2010 USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop (CTDW), undoubtedly one of the best things the USTA does for recreational tennis. Volunteers and USTA staff from around the country come to this workshop to share success stories, learn about spreading tennis to all corners, bring more people into the game, and yes, even make money at it.
Seminars, presentations and workshops all are geared to the mission of the USTA: to promote and develop the growth of tennis. And this year, USTA President Lucy Garvin, who is dedicated to living the mission of the organization, had all of the USTA board of directors and the section leadership at the CTDW. It was the first time that many of them actually saw how important and wonderful this workshop is. From what I heard from a few of them, it was quite an eye-opener.
One of the reasons I went to San Diego was as a member of my local Community Tennis Association. We started our CTA about a year and a half ago and still need to get our nonprofit status, but we’re working hard toward that goal. We’ve held a few fund-raisers and tennis nights, pushed to get new courts built in our town, and will be pushing more for that and for programming, too. A lot of the CTDW presentations apply directly to what we’re doing, things like attracting volunteers, getting funding, communicating with community members, grant writing, etc.
One thing I definitely want to push with our CTA is news about Recreational Coach Workshops, which are geared toward parents, coaches, park and rec instructors, really anyone who wants to work with entry-level players, to get them going in the game. It’s not meant to replace coaching or teaching by certified pros, but simply to help grow the sport at the most basic level. I’m hoping our CTA can sponsor a Rec Coach Workshop, which requires a minimum of 20 participants. (Visit usta.com/oncourttraining for more info.)
To continue to spread the good things that the CTDW brings to tennis, the USTA’s national CTA Committee (of which I am a volunteer member), wants to facilitate “regional” tennis development workshops, so that those who may not be able to attend the national CTDW can go to one closer to home. Whether you are a volunteer in your local CTA, teaching pro, school coach, park and rec employee, facility manager, or even a court builder or retailer, you’ll find useful, and profitable, tips in these workshops. Contact your USTA section to see what may be offered in your area, or to urge that they consider a regional CTDW.
Let’s take the time to grow the sport from the grassroots, then we all can reap the bounty.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.