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USTA Announces Official Launch of QuickStart Program

February 29, 2008 06:56 PM

ORLANDO, FL – February 29, 2008- At the Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios today, the USTA announced the official launch of QuickStart Tennis, an innovative new play format that will help to get more children 10 years of age and under into the game. The QuickStart Tennis format, one of the most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth, provides a way to bring kids 10 and under into the game by utilizing equipment, court dimensions, and scoring that is tailored to their age and size. Tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Mary Joe Fernandez were on hand to help demonstrate the effectiveness of the QuickStart Tennis play format.

Navratilova and Fernandez were able to give a “kids-eye view” of what a child experiences when they use adult-sized equipment and play on a regulation court. They utilized “giant-sized” racquets and balls and played on an “oversized” court – 50’ x 110’ (as opposed to 36’ x 78’ for a regulation court). This helped to demonstrate the frustration and difficulties that children experience while trying to play tennis when it is “designed for an adult.” QuickStart Tennis appropriately scales down all aspects of regulation tennis—including equipment, court dimensions, and scoring—so that the game becomes specifically tailored to their age and size. The format is broken out into two age groupings, for children ages 10-under and for those who are 8-under, similar to models used successfully in other youth sports (such as youth baseball).

“This format will make a significant impact on the skill development of tennis players in the United States,” said Paul Roetert, Managing Director, Player Development, USTA. “By bringing more kids into the game at a young age, and by providing them with a format that helps them to utilize proper stroke technique and overall skill development, we will increase the pool of high level players throughout the country.”

The QuickStart Tennis play format will roll-out this spring in over 1,000 facilities across the country, which are each expected to incorporate it within their existing 10 and under programming. The USTA will also organize and implement training sessions, both to coaches and volunteers including parents, to help early adoption of the format. In addition, the USTA has begun incorporating the play format into its coed recreational tennis league, USTA Jr. Team Tennis, and its tournament offerings. In succeeding years, it will continue to be implemented into programming with the goal of reaching all aspects of 10 and under youth tennis, including tournament, lesson based, recreational and team play.

For more information on how to get started or to find a program in QuickStart Tennis, visit www.quickstarttennis.com




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