If you couldn’t tell in the scorching sun and rising temperatures, summer in Florida is here, which means summer tennis camps at facilities managed by USTA Florida will begin in just a few weeks. . the Cocoa Beach Racquet Club, Play Tennis Gainesville, and the Fort Walton Beach Tennis Center will host summer camps for youth starting in June that will closely follow safe play guidelines to ensure the safety of all camp participants.
“We are fortunate to be in Florida – the camps are held outdoors and, as research shows, tennis is one of the best sports with natural social distancing,” says Frank Swope, division manager. of USTA Florida Tennis Management.
When play resumed at facilities in 2020 after a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic and junior summer camps were announced, they followed a series of protocols such as limited attendance, limited hours, and minimal interaction between groups. This year, Head Professionals and Staff are looking forward to delivering a full camp.
âWe are eager to regain as much normalcy as possible by offering one and half day camps, while always being mindful of the protocols in place,â says Swope. “Masks will always be needed off the field, equipment sharing is discouraged and our equipment cleaning protocols are still in place.”
Summer camps offer juniors of all skill levels from 5 to 14 years old the chance to learn the basics of tennis in a fun environment under the supervision of a USPTA certified professional. The environment is kept engaging with a progression of tennis activities, technical work, drills, games and team competitions.
âThe juniors will have the opportunity to improve their skills, exercise and spend time outdoors,â says John Sanders, tennis manager at the Racquet Club in Cocoa Beach. “Our goal is to provide a summer camp that is not only educational, but also gives juniors a fun way to spend their summer vacation.”
Enrolling children in a tennis camp can be of great benefit for a variety of factors, including positive social interactions, physical health benefits, and general life lessons that can also be applied off the court.
âThese camps can be the start of something special in a child’s life,â says Swope. âWe hope that exposure to fun and entertaining junior camps, including our spring and fall offerings, can inspire more connections with tennis and bring a new generation of players to enjoy this great sport.
At the Racquet Club in Cocoa Beach, Sanders says the summer camps have been well received by the community, with a high participation rate from juniors. He is optimistic his camp will be full this year, as the full day option was in high demand.
âKids always remember having fun and worthwhile experiences, so we’re hoping to establish those two aspects this year,â he says. “We want to encourage them to continue to have positive associations with sport and hope that they will continue to develop a passion for the sport.”
Summer tennis camp isn’t just a way to get juniors out of the house – it’s a way to give them new opportunities in a positive atmosphere. Whether it’s developing independence and confidence by taking on new challenges, bonding with the new connections they’ve made on and off the pitch or discovering their enthusiasm for the sport; the experience can be of great benefit to young players.
âUSTA Florida emphasizes learning and playing the sport in a safe, kid-friendly environment, using the right size courts and equipment to enable success,â adds Swope. âOur junior tennis summer camps can be an introduction to the sport, making it a great summer and beyond.â
To learn more about the USTA Florida Tennis Management Division, facilities and event offerings, please visit www.USTAFlorida.com/TennisManagement.