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USTA Southwest Hosts Successful Workshop

USTA Southwest Hosts Successful RCTDW
RCTDW_post_389How to grow the sport, particularly the youth market in USTA Southwest, was the theme of the recent USTA Southwest Regional Community Tennis Development Workshop (RCTDW), held Oct. 9-10 at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Speakers and panelists from across the nation - including several USTA National staff members and high-placed volunteers – as well as renowned guest speakers on youth sports Dr. Bob Pangrazi and Gary Avischious, presented information sessions at the RCTDW on a variety of topics vital to tennis in their local areas.

The weekend started off with an opening speech given by noted educator Pangrazi on ‘USTA & Little Kids’.
PangraziPangrazi , who has worked with children for over 45 years, spoke about how most failed athletic dreams are due to parental notions and perceived confidences (or lack of) in the sport at a young age. Pangrazi also did a fun activity session on how to manage and keep control of large groups of children, something many tennis educators (particularly schools programs) encounter.
After Pangrazi’s session, attendees followed separate tracts of information based on their volunteer or staff role within the USTA. Saturday’s sessions pertained to effective board governance and roles/boundaries and was put on by Linda Searfoss, a recognized consultant and regular presenter on the subject for non-profits like the USTA.
Jamison_GroupThe other session was a two-part Youth Tennis Pathway discussion an on-court presentation put on by Jason Jamison, National Manager for Schools Tennis.
Jamison’s presentation touched on how to connect facilities (public and private) with their local schools to grow youth tennis programming like Jr. Team Tennis and QuickStart, and also included a “no court, no problem” presentation that was conducted in the outdoor patio area of the Hotel Valley Ho, and touched on some of the latest games and drills for young children.    

From there the scene shifted to the SoHo Ballroom for the USTA Southwest Annual Meeting and Hall of Fame/Awards Banquet. The Section’s top performing volunteers, organizations and players were honored for their achievements in 2010 (see list of winners HERE).

The Hall of Fame Class of 2010 was also inducted, as longtime USTA volunteers Anne Lane (Tucson, Ariz.) and Sally Grabham (Scottsdale, Ariz.) joined El Paso tennis legend Robert “Bobby” Goldfarb as this year’s inductees. The evening HOF/Awards ceremony was emceed by Scott Hanover, the Tennis in the Parks Committee National chair, from Kansas City, Mo.

A Silent Auction for the Southwest Tennis Foundation, which featured more than 50 unique tennis items from a variety of generous donors, was also held during the evening’s proceedings. The Auction raised over $6,000 for scholarships and other special programming efforts and grants for tennis in the Southwest.

Sunday’s presentations followed with an impressive list of USTA National and Southwest speakers including:
Taylor Cochrane (USTA Central Arizona) revealing how the district has worked to develop a clear line from school tennis to Jr. Team Tennis as well as a template of training and recruiting instructors for its schools programs.  

Rita Garza, USTA National’s Sr. Director of Corporate Relations/Communications who touched on how volunteers and local facilities need a coordinated communications/media strategy to work with the media as well as how to reach more people with their area’s/organization’s tennis information.   

ClaytonAndrew Feldman, Sr. Manager of Learning & Leadership Development, who went over best practices for volunteer management and how to better retain and prepare them for working with the USTA.
David Slade, National Manager, Community Tennis Association’s and USTA Southwest’s Community Tennis Manager explained the array of grant opportunities available from both USTA Southwest and the national governing body.

Kevin Clayton, USTA Chief Diversity Officer (pictured - right), gave a stirring account of where current ongoing diversity efforts are within the USTA, and explained how the Southwest is already a true “laboratory” and microcosm of the changing ethnic makeup of the United States.  
Karen Ford (National Manager – Tennis in the Parks), Hanover and Meghan Houk (USTA Southwest Section NJTL Committee Chair) spoke on how public parks can develop and grow a successful QuickStart Tennis pathway for both children and adults.
Gary Avisichious – of the noted www.coachingschool.org website closed the RCTDW weekend with a talk on how coaches and parents need to operate when looking at the skill development of children. Avischious stated that coaches and parents need to look at coaching as more like “gardening”, providing fertile soil for kids to strive to their dreams. Avischious also stated that nearly 75% of all youth sports participants drop out by age 13, so he gave plenty of tips on how USTA programs can be among those sports to be the best at retaining our numbers with solid coaching principles that are kid-focused.
The RCTDW was put on with the help of a $10,000 grant from USTA National and combined with the Section’s regular annual meeting. Sessions were attended by a variety of USTA Southwest Section and district personnel and volunteers, member organizations, city parks department employees, and other interested parties.
The Section would like to extend a special thanks to all those who supported and attended this year’s RCTDW, especially our presenters and national guests!

The Section also sends a special “Thank You” to our supporting sponsors
Tennis Channel, Head/Penn Racquet Sports, All About Tennis, The Village Tavern, Tennis Life Magazine, NetKnacks Tennis Awards and theMarting Group, Inc.
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