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    USTA/Midwest Section Bringing Tennis to Ohio Schools

    April 14, 2014 03:51 PM

    Schools continue to be a successful entry point for bringing the game of tennis to the younger generation, and the USTA/Midwest Section has had recent success in establishing new partnerships with several school districts in Ohio.

    Within the past 6 months, the USTA/Midwest Section, working closely with the local Districts, have been able to bring tennis to 19 schools in the Canton School District, 31 schools in the Akron School District, and 16 schools in the Cincinnati School District.  The coordinated effort culminated in March 2014 when 75 schools in the Cleveland Metro School District, the second largest district in the state of Ohio, also added tennis to their physical education curriculums.

    SchoolTennis2Cleveland Metro Schools will begin including tennis in their curriculums in the fall of this year.  Training for all participating physical education teachers will take place in August, and each school will receive new equipment including 20 racquets, 2 dozen balls, tennis tape, station cards and a curriculum guide.  The training package is valued at $650 but is provided to schools at no cost through financial assistance provided by the Northeastern Ohio District and the USTA/Midwest Section.  

    “We know that budgets for physical education programs keep diminishing each year,” said Jim Amick, Tennis Service Representative Manager for the USTA/Midwest Section.  “With the Districts and the Section working together, we are able to offer the equipment and training at no cost to the schools.”

    The goal is to make it as easy as possible for schools to bring tennis to their students, but there’s a lot of work - and time - that goes into making it happen.  Amick explains that the first step is finding the right person within a school or district who’s willing to listen and learn about what the USTA and tennis can bring to them and their students.

    “The key is finding someone who loves the sport of tennis or just loves fostering healthy youth,” said Amick.  “Once you’ve identified an interested person, then hopefully you can move forward with a meeting, and possibly an assembly, a visit to physical education classes or an after school program visit.”

    Amick acknowledges receiving help from Kevin Callahan, Vice President of IMG Tennis, in bringing tennis to the Cleveland schools.  He also believes that the recent Fed Cup Tie, which took place Feb. 8-9, also brought excitement about tennis to the community.  As part of Fed Cup activities, the USTA was able to leave legacy tennis gifts to schools in Canton, Akron and Cleveland.

    During the 2012-2013 school year, Columbus, Ohio schools, the largest district in the state, began teaching tennis to students.  The USTA/Midwest Section, the Ohio Valley District and the Greater Columbus Tennis Association, all worked together to make inroads into the school system, secure funding, and train teachers.

    “It takes a partnership between many entities to make projects like these a reality,” said Amick.  “Sections, districts and local community tennis associations must work together to help schools see the value of tennis and working with the USTA.”