» News

Sunland Village East Community Kicks off QuickStart Tennis Program for Children

February 10, 2010 08:30 PM


Twenty children from Mesa are being introduced to tennis through a FREE USTA QuickStart Tennis Program

Group QST photos

Mesa, Arizona, February 6, 2010 Sunland Village East, a very active tennis community in East Mesa, Arizona, launched its FREE Tennis Lessons for Children program on Saturday. This program is in partnership with USTA Central Arizona. Ten Sunland Village East members, directed by Al Sondergaard, put the program together to give more young children the opportunity to be introduced to the “sport of a lifetime.” The children will all meet at the Sunland Village East community tennis courts for the next six Saturdays where they will receive tennis instruction. The program will teach the children the basics of tennis, from hitting forehands and backhands, to competing together as part of a team. The ages of the children range anywhere from eleven to eighteen years old, and will begin their learning on small 36’ QuickStart courts to get a feel for the game. By the end of the six week session, they will be rallying and playing on a 60’ court using low compression tennis balls.

The East Valley is a network of 16 communities that participate in a league called the East Valley Senior League. USTA Central Arizona has been working with some of these communities on USTA sponsored “Tennis Carnival Fun Days.” The clubs are using these events to promote tennis inside of their communities. Al Sondergaard is looking to expand the QuickStart Free Tennis Lesson program to the other sixteen parks. “The goal is to launch a successful program and create a successful model for other facilities to follow,” said Al Sondergaard. “They all have the opportunity to make a difference in hundreds of kids’ lives. This program is about instilling life skills and creating a positive environment for every child. Tennis is just the vehicle that we use.”

“This partnership with Sunland Village East has been amazing. Their leadership, starting with Al, has been amazing. They have really taken control of this program and turned it into something special,” said Geoffrey Russell, Managing Director USTA Central Arizona. “It is programs like these that really make a difference in the tennis community

About QuickStart Tennis:
QuickStart tennis is a new play format to help children learn how to play the game of tennis with age and size appropriate equipment. QuickStart tennis includes six specifications - including age, court size, racquet length, ball weight and speed, net height and scoring format. This enables youngsters to practice and play real tennis to scale and allows them to play and learn at the same time—as opposed to the traditional model of learning skills before playing the game. Since rallying and playing is much more fun than standing in line, children will want to continue to learn the game and develop the skills necessary to play with their friends on a team.

The United States Tennis Association developed the QuickStart curriculum to help make tennis more enjoyable for the kids. What makes tennis fun is being able to rally a ball back and forth over a net with a partner. The sooner the youngsters can rally, the sooner they can actually play the game and participate on a team. The curriculum was designed to give coaches and parents who work with children at the beginning stages of development the necessary tools to get children playing the game during their first practice—tools such as simple lead-up activities and ways to modify the court, net, racquets, and balls.

About USTA Central Arizona

USTA Central Arizona is the local governing body for the sport of tennis in the Greater Phoenix Area 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. A not-for-profit organization with 5,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game of tennis. USTA Central Arizona provides grants and scholarships through private donations which helps underserved youth and people with disabilities to improve academics, build character, and strive for excellence. For more information on USTA Central Arizona, log on to www.phoenixtennis.com

For more information, contact:
Geoffrey Russell, Managing Director, USTA Central Arizona
(480) 639-6700;