The USTA's Community Tennis Development
Workshop, or CDTW, is a meeting of those who work to grow the game of
tennis on the grassroots level. Participants include representatives of
community tennis associations, rec and parks departments and more. This
year's meeting was held in Crystal City, Virginia.
USTA staff in attendance at the CDTW
includes those who work with these people, and those who work with
various programs that grow tennis in communities. Examples include USTA
officials who direct Tennis On Campus, Tennis Service Representatives,
those who work with the QuickStart Tennis Format and more. USTA Section
staff members are also out in force.
Attending this meeting provides an excellent
way to understand concerns of the actual public tennis-playing
community. For example, there was good attendance to learn about the
USTA's resources for facilities; the USTA sponsors a grant program,
provides expert advice and guidance and more to those who are seeking to
build or upgrade their current facility. National Facility Consultant
David LaSota spoke to a standing room only crowd, discussing various
types of design and construction (good and bad), and the importance of
both to a workable, successful facility at any budget.
Tennis facilities in general are a big
concern for this group; one concern that was voiced repeatedly was the
old Catch-22: it's hard to grow the game if facilities aren't kept
up-to-date and safe, and it's hard to get a municipality to invest the
money to fix the facilities if they don't see the game growing. (This
provided an excellent opportunity for me to tell a few people about ASBA,
and about its publications, including the Tennis Courts book).
Other very popular programs included how-to
sessions on bringing tennis into public schools as part of the P.E.
curriculum or after-school recreational offerings, and sessions on
social media and how to use it to expand the popularity of tennis.
The overall theme of this year's conference
was the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis, particularly important in light of
the rule change that will take effect on January 1, 2012. USTA is
encouraging all its community partners to get on board with the
QuickStart Tennis Format, and to avail themselves of USTA's resources to
make it work, and to grow the game from the ground up. It was noted that
the QST Format can be used to create courts at events like street fairs,
festivals, field days and even near the tailgate area at professional
sporting events like MLB or NFL games.
The CDTW offers a mini-trade show as well as
receptions and other gatherings. Its awards dinner honors those who have
worked to bring tennis to their communities. Honors include the NJTLs of
the Year, the Janet Louer USTA Junior Team Tennis National Organizer of
the Year Award, the Adaptive Tennis Community Service Award, Community
Tennis Association of the Year Award and the Eve Kraft Community Service
Members of the Tennis Division who want to
learn more about delivering tennis on a community level, and connecting
to the people who do, might want to make a note of next year's CDTW.
Information will be posted on the USTA's website at
www.usta.com as soon as details become