ORLANDO, FLA., March 29, 2023 – USTA Florida today announced the expansion of its “Women in Tennis” initiative, making a further commitment to inspiring women and girls of all ages, to take on more roles in tennis, both on and off the court.
“We are committing to this initiative because we believe to our core that tennis is not only the best physical activity, but the best character-building activity. It is socially engaging and fun! In a world of constant snapshots on social media which tends to make us compare, I believe we can make a positive difference in women’s and girls’ lives by working together and feeling secure to share our struggles and to be an encouragement to one another,” said Dana Andrews, USTA Florida Immediate Past President.
The organization launched its Women in Tennis initiative to “Inspire, Represent, and Recruit” women and girls in tennis in 2021. During the past two years, USTA Florida has partnered with both USPTA and PTR to host women’s coaching events, hosted its first-ever all-girls tennis camp, spotlighted the many women working in all aspects of Florida tennis, and launched a speaker’s bureau to help improve representation at Florida workshops and meeting.
In 2023, USTA Florida will continue to build on these foundational components and is adding a research project to further explore issues previously identified and uncover additional opportunities for growth.
Issues identified by the organization are often highlighted: few opportunities for girls to be coached by women and to engage in play opportunities exclusively with other girls; not enough women tennis coaches and low representation in certification ranks; small pool of women speakers and thought leaders in the industry; no independent or statistically relevant research on why women do or don’t participate in Florida tennis and the challenges women face.
USTA Florida is working with an independent firm to conduct statistically sound research that digs into these issues and identifies what more we can do to address them. The study will include information garnered from the first two years of the Women in Tennis initiative, combined with surveys and other important data and insights.
“The research being conducted will help us identify specifically where the gaps are and how we as an organization can step in and start to fill specific needs in the tennis ecosystem for girls and women of all ages to help bring more supportive leaders into the sport,” Andrews said.
While the research is being conducted, USTA Florida will work to expand its offerings for girls and for women coaches and leaders. The organization will host a minimum of four all-girls tennis camps across the state in 2023. The first one will take place in conjunction with the Billie Jean King Cup in Delray Beach on April 14th. These camps are open to girls of all levels and ages, but more importantly, will be operated by an amazing all-female coaching staff. At each camp, girls will get to interact with female industry leaders in a panel session with many inspiring women.
In addition to the camps, USTA Florida has committed to hosting three women-focused Community Coach Program trainings in 2023. Nearly half of all community coaches trained in 2022 were women. By adding women-specific trainings, the organization hopes to increase that number. These workshops will be organized by women for women and will be delivered in partnership with PTRw and USTA Florida’s Community Coach Program. The first of these workshops will be a USTA Level 1 workshop hosted on April 14th and 15th at the Billie Jean King Cup.
In parentship with PTRw, USTA Florida also has committed to hosting two exclusive speaker-training workshops this summer. These workshops will give women hands-on speaker training, development opportunities, and expert guidance. USTA Florida and PTRw will also work with all participants to get them involved at future industry speaking events. More details on both workshops will be available online soon.
USTA Florida is extremely excited to watch this Women in Tennis initiative take off and empower women and girls across the state to get involved with, remain active, and grow in the sport of tennis.
For more information, visit ustaflorida.com/women-in-tennis and learn how you can get involved today!