By: Katie Timinsky & Kailyn Finnegan
At this year’s National Campus Championship the more than 500 Tennis On Campus players won’t be the only ones showing of their tennis skills.
The USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis program, developed in 2008, which gives kids the opportunity to play tennis in a fun and non intimidating environment utilizing age appropriate equipment, has invaded Cary Tennis Park and will give college students and children alike the opportunity to not only play tennis together but learn from one another as well.
Although most of the kids participating in the 10 and Under event this year are a decade away from actually being a part of the Tennis On Campus program, these talented young stars are already giving these college kids a run for their money.
10 and Under Tennis follows the same logic as other youth sports like baseball or soccer: kid-sized courts and kid-sized equipment. The benefits for kids are immediate and within an hour kids are rallying, having fun and truly learning and enjoying the sport of tennis.
Many of the club tennis teams in the Tennis On Campus program are involved with 10 and Under tennis whether they are teaching it, offering it on their campuses or simply encouraging younger players to try it out.
"I love watching the kids improve over the period of time they are in our class," said Allison Hernandez, Club President of Texas State University. "It’s great to see how much fun they have and it’s great to be a part of it."
For the Harvard University Tennis On Campus team, their involvement with the Tenacity program, which combines literacy and teaching tennis to the inner-city Boston youth, has been a great way to give back to their local community and introduce more young people to the sport.
"I think the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis program is a great concept," said Harvard Senior, Winnie Liu. "At Tenacity, we work with middle school students and we see how much fun they have playing tennis. By implementing smaller courts and appropriate-sized equipment for children under the age of 10, tennis becomes more accessible and kids are able to learn good technique at an earlier age."
Although, many clubs have begun implementing 10 and Under programs within their community, there is still a great void on campuses across the country. The Cary Tennis Center is hosting a 10 and Under exhibition tonight at 5:30 pm where college students will have the opportunity to share a court with youth tennis stars, win free starter equipment, raise money, gain skills for future employment and most importantly make a huge impact on the next generation of players.
For more information and to sign up today, visit TennisOnCampus.com.
for more news and photos from the 2011 USTA National Campus Championship.