Tennis Industry magazine

 

Our Serve: The High School Push

By Peter Francesconi

One of the areas USTA President Katrina Adams has identified as a huge opportunity for tennis is with high school players. Right now, there are an estimated 350,000 or more students who play on high school teams, but the vast majority of them don’t play beyond their high school seasons.

Fifteen years ago, the USTA did an amazing job when it realized tennis was letting go of hundreds of thousands of players who, after graduating from high school, had few or no opportunities to play tennis in college. That’s when the USTA created Tennis on Campus, one of the most successful programs in this sport. TOC continues to grow and is now at nearly 680 colleges and universities, involving nearly 40,000 students.

Now, Adams has recognized the need to do more to keep high school tennis players engaged right now, during their high school off-seasons. They already play tennis; we should be able to find more ways to keep them playing year-round. It helps everyone: the players, the school teams, local tennis retailers and facilities, tennis manufacturers.

To tackle this, the USTA has created a High School Task Force and, here’s where it can get really cool. One of the key people on this task force is Glenn Arrington, the USTA’s director of TSRs/High School/Tennis On Campus. Glenn will never admit this (and I’m sure he’s cringing right now reading this), but it was in large part his guidance starting in 2000 and continuing today that truly drove TOC to be the fun, engaging, tennis powerhouse it is. Glenn loves hearing about ideas to grow tennis — no matter where these ideas come from — and he lets people do what they do best when it comes to growing this game.

Of course, the H.S. Task Force is loaded with great talent, all with solid credentials when it comes to growing this sport, including its chair, Mark Faber, a tennis director, USPTA elite pro, and National Community Service Award winner, among many other honors.

Over the next few years, expect to hear much more from the High School Task Force. And I’m sure they’d welcome your thoughts, too, about how to keep high-school players engaged and on the courts year-round.

Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director
peter@tennisindustrymag.com

As we were finishing up this issue, we received some very sad news. Mary Lloyd Hodges Barbera, the director of marketing, membership & special events for USTA North Carolina, passed away unexpectedly April 22, at age 49. Mary Lloyd was one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and a true joy to work with in every way — always with a ready smile, witty quip, encouraging words, and always advocating and pushing for tennis. When I think of an ideal tennis person — and just a wonderful person overall — Mary Lloyd comes to mind. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and colleagues at USTA North Carolina. This sport, and all of us in it, will miss her.

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.

 

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