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Making the Game of Tennis a Game Again

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Who says learning a sport should be based on the boring repetition of watching an instructor and then repetitive drill, drill, drill?

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) led a Quick Start tennis clinic on Gallaudet University's tennis courts on May 21 to benefit the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) tennis program. A group of volunteers from the Clerc Center community, CREATE Tennis participated to earn free tennis equipment for the school.

Murphy Jensen, former grand slam champion and coach for tennis world champions Serena and Venus Williams and the Washington Kastles, led off the clinic with a pep talk. "Tennis can change your life. It changed mine. I've gone all around the world through tennis," said Jensen. He said the USTA developed Quick Start tennis to put young players on the fast track to successful playing, and Quick Start is how the Williams sisters got their start.

Quick Start Tennis is a method used to teach children from ages 5-12 how to play tennis. The beauty of the program is how it quickly builds skills through using graduated-sized balls, racquets, and court sizes, and lots of fun games. Alanna Broderick, community tennis manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, led the adults through the clinic while encouraging them to think like kids-what would a 5-year-old play like versus a 7- or 10-year-old? The participants practiced warm-up and skill building exercises, a game strategy, and a take-home assignment for each age bracket. The exercise volleying with squishy koosh balls was a particular favorite. Broderick kept everything fast-paced and interactive; no one stood around on the sidelines waiting for a turn to play.

CREATE Tennis, the organization that is helping KDES establish a year-round tennis program for its deaf and hard of hearing students, sponsored the USTA tennis clinic. They organized the event to help earn free USTA tennis equipment for the CREATE Tennis coaches to use at KDES. The organization's goal is diversify the tennis community to make playing tennis available to any child who wants to play no matter where he or she lives and to make it FUN!

More information on CREATE Tennis