The Community Tennis Development Workshop was a smashing success held recently at Bill Barber Community Park in Orange County. The one-day event was sponsored by the Southern California Tennis Association and it offered coaching education, resources and tennis support to approximately 40 participants.
Melanie Bischoff, the Director of Community Tennis, said the Community Tennis Development Workshop has been offered for about a decade in Southern California. The conference was previously located at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden but was moved due to construction at that site. When the SCTA was searching for a new venue, City of Irvine Tennis Director Steve Riggs immediately offered accommodations at City’s offices and Bill Barber Community Park. Also, the seminar was restructured from a two-day to a one-day seminar.
“It was a pleasure for the City of Irvine to host the CTDW,” said Riggs, also incoming member of the SCTA Board of Directors in 2018. “We feel it’s important to give back to the tennis community and one great way to do this is by hosting tennis education seminars. We look forward to helping out again in the future.”
The CTDW morning kicked off with a comprehensive On Court Net Generation Training led by USTA National Coach Karl Davies. The three-hour session offered an in-depth look at the USTA’s Net Generation Red Ball program for beginners focusing on tennis progressions, easy games, and activities with a fun flair.
After lunch, the SCTA staff led a “Welcome to Net Generation” program headlined by USTA SoCal Director of Marketing Cari Buck, and Tennis Service Representatives Karen Ronney and Aisling Bowyer. They informed of Net Generation resources, programs, teaching support and a vast array of coaching guidance for 10-and-Under Tennis. The workshop was designed to assist teaching pros, coaches, teachers, park and recreation leaders, and those associated with Community Tennis Associations.
Additional sessions included a historical look at the development of tennis in the African American communities led by representatives of the American Tennis Association. Other offerings were breakout focus sessions led by local experts.
In addition to the tennis education workshop, lunch and dinner, the CTDW had its first awards presentation. The First Serve of Santa Ana was named the “Community Program of the Year”, and the group received a plaque and recognition for its efforts. They said the fundamental concept of First Serve was to teach tennis to kids, and encourage older players to mentor younger ones. This program develops responsibility, community spirit and leadership skills in youth. First Serve said it credits their successful model to tennis legend Vic Braden, who provided assistance in their earlier years of operation. Other award winners were Beth Kuney for Volunteer of the Year, Mark McCampbell received an award for Coaching Excellence of the Year, and Braemar Country Club was named Community Partner of the Year.
“The workshop is an opportunity for Community Tennis Association (CTA) members, park and recreation professionals, teaching pros, facility personnel and community tennis advocates to get together to learn and to continue to find ways to grow the game,” said Evan Smith, USTA SoCal Manager of NJTL, Diversity & Inclusion. “This is also a great way to network, meet new people and build friendships. It’s one of the highlights of the year in Community Tennis at the USTA.”