Tennis has always been an accessible sport for all ages and skill levels. It’s known as the sport of a lifetime, and USTA Florida wants new adult players who think it may be too late to learn how to play, to get in on the fun of adult beginner tennis.

“Studies show tennis is a great activity to help people stay fit, live longer, and be social all at the same time; not to mention the fact that it is FUN for all ages,” said Christine Ducey, USTA Florida Director of Adult Tennis. “Our world is increasingly connected online but being connected to others in your local community through sports, like tennis, can be beneficial too. Meeting and interacting with people whose only similarity may be an interest in tennis, is a great opportunity to make new friends.”

In 2019, USTA Florida put a strong focus on growing adult beginner play, with dozens of programs held at several facilities throughout the state. Adult beginner programs aim to be a judgment-free zone to help those unfamiliar with the sport feel welcomed into the community and comfortable on the court. Like the sentiment “dance like no one is watching”, USTA Florida wants new players to play tennis like no one is watching. The organization and teaching professionals encourage and motivate new players; all while helping them grow a connection to the local tennis network.

This year alone, more than 500 new beginner players were attracted to the sport by USTA Florida created and piloted “Love to Learn” and “Love to Play” programs. The Ocala and Gainesville areas saw exponential growth, with nearly 200 new players picking up a racquet to take part in those programs, that offer an easy and fun path to learning the sport in just a few weeks.

“We are trying to engage adults who have never played tennis before with our new adult beginner programs,” said Ducey. “We partner with tennis providers to offer a low-cost, easy to join group class for adults to learn to play in just a few weeks. With the innovation of low-compression balls and play-based instruction, today’s teaching professionals can get players actually playing tennis really fast.”

These adult beginner programs give new players everything they need to know about the game of tennis in a fun, fast-paced, no-pressure environment. They’ll work with teaching professionals to build the fundamentals and learn shot basics, and before the players know it – they’re on the court rallying with others. After graduating from a “Love to Learn” course, players can opt to take part in a “Love to Play” program which features more advanced match play. The program utilizes volunteer sport Ambassadors who support and mentor the new players through their first play experiences.

“Our hope is that our program will make tennis more accessible to adult beginner players. When I talk to people about tennis I often hear, ‘I would love to play but…’ and that is what inspires us to try to take the obstacles out of learning tennis as an adult because we know that starting something new can be intimidating,” said Ducey. “Now that we have new ways of teaching, tennis really is a great option for adults to reduce stress, enjoy their friends and family, and play tennis for a lifetime. We hope new adult beginners will love to play as much as we do!”

It’s never too late to start playing tennis. To find an adult beginner program in your area, click here

For more information on programs for adult beginners, visit www.ustaflorida.com/adultbeginner.

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