USTA Player Development Names Chicago Facilities as USTA Midwest Training Center
*WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 22, 2009 - *The USTA announced today facilities and programs in the Chicago area as the locations of a network of USTA Regional Training Centers as it continues its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions. The Midtown Tennis Club, Score Fitness and Tennis Club and the CARE Academy, which offers programming at the Lincolnshire and Libertyville Tennis Clubs, will comprise the Chicago Midwest Training Center Network.
The USTA chose to partner with three of the strongest junior programs in the Midwest to form this Regional Training Center network. The network approach was crafted with the invaluable help of Andrea Calvert-Sanders, the USTA Midwest Section’s Director of Junior Tennis, and the Section’s Coaches’ Commission Chairman, Mark Faber.
USTA Regional Training Centers will expand the USTA Player Development program’s reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs and tennis centers that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players.
In December, the USTA named the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta and The Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland as its first two Certified Regional Training Centers. A third RTC was announced at the Austin Tennis Academy in Texas in May. The USTA plans to name approximately a dozen Certified Regional Training Centers during the next five years.
“Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the country and having a network of facilities located there is a key component of our strategy to reach and help develop as many young tennis players as possible,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “All three programs feature established, dynamic coaches who are developing some of the best young talent in the Midwest, and we are excited about the prospect of sharing the USTA’s coaching philosophy as well as hearing their ideas as we continue to work with the top American coaches to grow the base of American tennis and develop American champions.”
“We are pleased that Chicago has been selected as the home of three new USTA Training Centers,” said Bill Scherr, Chairman of World Sport Chicago and Director of Sport for Chicago 2016. “Chicago 2016 is dedicated to providing youth with athletic opportunities, and this honor highlights the city’s love of sport as well as the quality of our programs and facilities.”
“I would love to see the summer Olympics return to the United States and Chicago would be an excellent choice to host the Games,” said three-time gold medal winner Venus Williams. “I am glad to see that the USTA Player Development Program is expanding its effort to identify the next group of American tennis champions and potential Olympians for 2016 through its Regional Training Centers.”
In addition to continuing their already existing programs, the USTA Midwest Training Centers will now also host USTA training camps for players in their region ages 10-14. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA national coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Coaches Commission. The Centers also will help identify talent in players as young as 6-years-old, run programs using the QuickStart* format and host QuickStart tournaments for players 8-and-under and 10-and-under.
The camps will be staffed by the top coaches at the USTA Midwest Training Centers with assistance from the USTA national coaching staff. The coaches at the USTA Midwest Training Centers also will serve as an extension of the USTA Coaching Education program by working with and training the top coaches in their region and respective USTA Section. Additionally, the coaches will attend training sessions at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Midtown Tennis Club is located in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park and is the largest indoor tennis facility in the world. The facility has 18 hard courts and has hosted tennis legends such as Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters. The Midtown Tennis Club was founded in 1969 by former USTA President Alan Schwartz.
The Score Tennis and Fitness Center is located just outside of Chicago in Countryside, Ill. The indoor facility has eight hard courts and since 1982 has been a top training center for a number of nationally ranked junior players. The center is under the direction of Paul McDonald.
The CARE Academy program is under the direction of Mark Bey and is designed for elite junior tennis players. Since 1995, the program has sent 68 players onto NCAA Division I varsity tennis teams. The CARE Academy conducts classes at both the Libertyville Club and the Lincolnshire Club, which combine to provide 12 outdoor courts and six indoor courts.
The new USTA Player Development unit has been created to identify and develop the next generation of American champions by surrounding the top junior players and young pros with the resources, facilities and coaching they need to reach their maximum potential. The Player Development program is based at the USTA Training Facility in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA West Coast Training Center in Carson, Calif. Last year, the USTA announced its first two Certified Regional Training Centers, in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., as part of its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions. The USTA expects to name approximately ten more Regional Training Centers over the next five years.
- QuickStart Tennis is a new play format that has been developed to help kids ten and under play the game of tennis. To make the game more accessible to children, several elements have been modified including the court size, the racquet size, the balls, the scoring system, and even the net height.
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