WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., December 11, 2008 – The USTA announced today the latest step in its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions when it named the first two USTA Certified Regional Training Centers — The Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington, D.C., and The Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta.
The USTA Certified Regional Training Centers will expand the USTA Player Development program’s reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs and tennis centers that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players.
The USTA plans to name approximately a dozen Certified Regional Training Centers during the next five years.
“This is the start of the USTA’s new philosophy regarding player development,” said Gordon Smith, Executive Director, USTA. “We will continue to reach out to new partners throughout the country that share a similar vision – all with the goal of creating future American tennis champions.”
In addition to continuing their already existing programs, the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers will now also host USTA training camps for players in their region ages 10-14. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA national coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Coaches Commission. The Centers also will help identify talent in players as young as 6-years-old, run QuickStart* tennis programs and host QuickStart tournaments for players 8-and-under and 10-and-under.
The camps will be staffed by the top coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers with assistance from the USTA national coaching staff. The coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers also will serve as an extension of the USTA Coaching Education program by working with and training the top coaches in their region and respective USTA Section. Additionally, the coaches will attend training sessions at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
“We have built a coaching philosophy among our national coaching staff that we are eager to share with the coaches working in the private sector,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “At the same time, through our partnerships with these facilities, we can learn from the personal coaches in the field who are developing our best young talent. We feel strongly that together we can work towards our common goal – developing American champions.”
The Junior Tennis Champions Center is located on 11 acres of parkland in College Park, Md. The facility features 27 courts, 12 indoor/climate controlled, 8 har-tru clay courts (4 indoor/4 outdoor) and the only two Roland Garros-style red clay courts in the Mid-Atlantic. Ray Benton is the CEO. Frank Salazar, Vesa Ponkka and Misha Kousznetsov are the coaches.
The Racquet Club of the South is one of the largest tennis facilities in the Southeast. The facility has 28 courts, with 26 lit, 8 indoor/climate controlled, 4 har-tru clay courts and 16 hard courts, and is the home of the RCA Tennis Academy. Steve Gareleck, Brian DeVilliers and Grant Stafford comprise the management team at the facility.
The new USTA Player Development unit has been created to identify and develop the next generation of American champions by surrounding the top junior players and young pros with the resources, facilities and coaching they need to reach their maximum potential.
* QuickStart Tennis is a new play format that has been developed to help kids ten and under play the game of tennis. To make the game more accessible to children, several elements have been modified including the court size, the racquet size, the balls, the scoring system, and even the net height.
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The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with 725,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.