If you couldn’t tell from the blazing sun and rising temperatures, Florida summer is here which means summer tennis camps at USTA Florida’s-managed facilities kick off in just a few short weeks. The Racquet Club of Cocoa Beach, Play Tennis Gainesville, and the Fort Walton Beach Tennis Center will host youth summer camps beginning in June that closely follow safe play guidelines to ensure the safety of all camp participants.
“We’re fortunate that we’re in Florida – the camps are held outdoors and as the research shows, tennis is one of the best naturally socially-distanced sports,” says Frank Swope, Director of USTA Florida’s Tennis Management Division.
When play resumed at the facilities in 2020 after a shutdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and junior summer camps were announced, they followed a series of protocols such as limited participation, limited hours, and minimal interaction between groups. This year, the head pros and staff are looking forward to offering a full camp.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to as much normalcy as possible by offering full-day and half-day camps, while still being mindful of the protocols in place,” Swope says. “Masks will still be required while off-court, equipment sharing is discouraged, and our equipment cleaning protocols are still in place.”
The summer camps offer juniors of all skill levels from ages five to 14 years old the chance to learn the fundamentals 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 competition.
“Juniors will have the opportunity to enhance their skills, get some exercise, and spend some time outdoors,” shares John Sanders, Head Tennis Pro at the Racquet Club of 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 break.”
Enrolling children in a tennis camp can be very beneficial for a variety of factors, including positive social interaction, physical health benefits, and general life lessons that can be applied off the court as well.
“These camps can be the beginning of something special in a child’s life,” Swope explains. “We hope that exposure to fun and entertaining junior camps, including our spring and fall offerings as well, can inspire further connection with tennis and lead to a new generation of players enjoying this great sport.”
At the Racquet Club of Cocoa Beach, Sanders says summer camps have been well received by the community, with a high turnout of juniors. He is optimistic that his camp will be full this year, as the full-day option was highly requested.
“The kids always remember having fun and worthwhile experiences, so we hope to establish both of these aspects this year,” he says. “We want to encourage them to continue having positive associations with the game, and hope they go on 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 provide them with new opportunities in a positive atmosphere. Whether that is developing independence and confidence through taking on new challenges, bonding with the new connections they’ve made on and off the court, or discovering their enthusiasm for the sport; the experience can be extremely beneficial for young players.
“USTA Florida emphasizes learning and playing the sport in a safe and child-friendly environment, utilizing the right size courts and equipment to allow for success,” adds Swope. “Our junior tennis summer camps can be an introduction to the sport, that makes for a great summer and beyond.”
To learn more about USTA Florida’s Tennis Management Division, the facilities and event offerings, please visit www.USTAFlorida.com/TennisManagement.