Community Tennis Association of the Year: Tri-County CTA
If you’re into tennis in the Jackson, Miss., area, you want to get involved with the Tri-County CTA, which serves Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties. Founded in 2006, Tri-County is dedicated to promoting, developing, growing and supporting tennis, and they’ve been — as USTA Community Tennis Development Coordinator Jon Thompson says — “a model CTA.” And for 2012, Tri-County is RSI’s Community Tennis Association of the Year.
“Tri-County offers quality programming while growing the game at all levels,” Thompson says. “Providing everything from 10 and Under Tennis to senior tennis, Tri-County has created an outstanding tennis community where everyone is welcome.”
Tri-County manages leagues for all types of players, says Elizabeth Lyle, the CTA’s marketing coordinator. One key to growing tennis, she says, is making sure league captains feel “extra special. Sometimes we’ll have a wine and cheese gathering for them. When the captains are happy and on board, tennis grows.” The CTA also works with community groups such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and with area schools.
Plus, “We try to do a lot with area teaching pros,” says Lyle, who herself is a USPTA pro. “There are a lot of private clubs and public facilities here, and we want to make sure our programs and events jibe with them. We even host a free luncheon twice a year to tell teaching pros what we have coming up, and to get their feedback.”
CTA President Gary Nowell also praises the tennis volunteers in the Jackson area. “A lot of our activity and growth comes from people giving back to the community and supporting tennis.”
Tips for Success
- Maintain a positive partnership with area teaching pros; everyone stands to benefit.
- “For every event we help to sponsor, we try to put our logo on T-shirts, etc., so people can get to know us,” Lyle says.
- League captains are a key to local tennis participation. Make sure captains always feel special.
- When programming, involve as many people or other organizations and companies as you can. Get companies to donate for goodie bags, too.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.