Largest US after-school program to add tennis

August 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA — The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and its national youth tennis partner, TGA Premier Youth Tennis (TGA), continues to expand its partnership across the country by introducing tennis enrichment programs to elementary schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. (LAUSD)

In a unique collaboration, the USTA Southern California Section (SCTA) and TGA, which stands for Teach Grow Achieve, have developed a new initiative to bring tennis to the district’s elementary schools as part of the Beyond the Bell program, the largest provider of after-school programs in the country.

“Partnering with the USTA and TGA to provide a program that supports student success was an easy decision to make,” said Alvaro Cortès, Executive Director of the Beyond the Bell Branch. “Athletics play an important role in the growth and development of children. While participating in an activity that provides physical exercise with mind and body coordination, students also learn teamwork, goals setting and how to follow rules.”

The after-school enrichment tennis programs will begin in 12 LAUSD elementary schools this fall with a goal of being in over 50 schools by fall 2014. The program will enhance the lives of Los Angeles youth through TGA’s 5-level enrichment curriculum in the elementary schools, transitioning the students to USTA Kids Tennis Clubs in the middle schools.

With the goal of creating team spirit while fostering competition, students will also experience USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT), and be introduced to competitive tennis through a culmination tournament the USTA Southern California will conduct in the spring of 2014. The top two students in the event will receive an invitation and scholarship into a SCTA Junior Satellite tournament.

The SCTA, which was founded in 1887, is one of the 17 national sections in the sports governing body. Although the SCTA is one of the smaller USTA section areas, it is one of the largest contributors of tennis talent and innovative programming to grow the sport.

“The Southern California Tennis Association looks forward to working closely with TGA and Beyond the Bell to provide an opportunity to learn the great game of tennis,” said Tiffany Geller Reed, SCTA School Tennis Coordinator.

At each participating school, there will be two 10-week sessions during the year with 20 students from grades 3-6 going through two 45-minute classes per week. The SCTA will handle all of the staff training, working closely with TGA on the enrichment components of the program. In addition, Wilson Tennis will be providing the “10 and Under Tennis” equipment for the students.

“Collaborating with the SCTA on this game-changing program will open so many doors for youth to be introduced to, and play the sport of tennis,” said Joshua Jacobs, TGA’s founder and CEO. “The model we have developed for Beyond the Bell in the LAUSD is something that can be duplicated nationwide in other USTA sections enriching our youth and impacting the long term growth of the sport.”

The USTA and TGA formed a national partnership in 2011 to develop a school based model to introduce tennis to kindergarten through 8th grade children throughout the country. The partnership has supported USTA’s “10 and Under Tennis” youth initiative, designed to get more young people to participate in tennis.