January 25th, 2018

Orlando Connects Schools with Tennis Pros via USTA’s Net Generation

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There are approximately 300 schools in Orlando, and if tennis teaching pro Greg Heartt had his way, each one would be partnered with a tennis club.

Heartt is connecting schools and tennis facilities through the USTA’s Net Generation, a new kid-friendly approach to tennis that makes it easier for children and parents to get into the game through partnering schools with certified Net Generation teaching pros and facilities. In Central Florida, Heartt as the regional USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) president is making school connections to help introduce kids to tennis and provide parents with a nearby venue to take to the courts.

“I’ve got about 4-5 schools I’ve been in contact with and am helping out,” Heartt says. “I recently spent one week with a school doing their tennis unit. The kids were fired-up for sure, they loved it and I had a good time with it.”

The head pro at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in the metro-Orlando city of Windermere, Heartt directs parents and children to local public facilities, as Isleworth is a private club. The former junior competitive and collegiate player says it’s all about getting kids active and introduced to tennis.

“For me it’s about giving back to tennis too,” he says. “Whether it comes back to me in lessons or not, that’s not why I’m going out to the schools. My goal is to get some of our Orlando-area certified pros that are working at public facilities to get involved with Net Generation so they partner with the schools so they can promote their programs. They can get involved and do a tennis unit or a summer camp and make that connection with a school.”

On the courts at his own club, Heartt uses the Net Generation App which has a full suite of Net Generation tools for teaching pros, including interactive lessons, adaptable curriculum, drills and other tools developed by leading professionals around the world.

“On court I use a [wifi] tablet and everything is right there via the app,” Heartt says. “So if I’m with some kids on court, I can show them the next thing we are doing, and we have it set up and ready to go, it’s a quick interaction, it’s a quick visual aid. It’s been a great teaching tool and the kids love it.

“All the pieces of it, everything is right there for you — the lesson plans, the games that are there, everything is very visual. When you’re explaining to parents the red ball to orange ball, and orange ball to green ball, it’s all right there and easy. And it works — all the games and formats in Net Generation work extremely well so the kids pick it up really quickly.”

Last fall Heartt attended a USTA Florida workshop for P.E. teachers, subsequently making connections with local teachers registered in the Net Generation program. He now serves as a resource for those teachers that don’t necessarily have a tennis background or even tennis courts, as Net Generation provides equipment to set up mini-courts anywhere for kids.

Less than a year into his Net Generation certification, Heartt says he eventually sees Central Florida covered by partnerships between schools and their local tennis facilities.

“With the great transitional-level information for players, if a parent says, ‘Why isn’t my kid in the orange ball?’ I can show them right, which is really great,” Heartt says. “Net Generation is going to change the way we get more kids involved in the game and more kids out on the courts.”

For more info on Net Generation as a tennis provider, or as a tennis parent to find pros in your area, go to www.netgeneration.com.