December Letter From the President 2017

I hope this news article finds you full of peace, joy and love during this holiday season. It has been an extraordinary 2017 for tennis in Kentucky! To give you an idea of all that has transpired in 2017, I am posting my President’s letter below:    

Key Accomplishments - 2017

KY is second in the Section in First Year Free 10 and Under memberships with 920 and approximately 16% of the Section through mid-December 2017

KY approved for 10 Play it Forward grants since early 2016

Junior Matches showed increase of 15% through mid-December 2017

Jr. Team Tennis registrations showed increase in 2017 continuing a three-year trend

300 registrations at JTT State Championship

Mixed and Combo Leagues showing combined increase vs. 2016

Seven local areas offered Tennis Apprentice with over 100 total participants

Drop Shots program for young professionals added in two markets bringing total to four markets

Wild Aces and Wise Aces recreational programs for 50 and 60 being piloted and developed 

New tennis facility, Top Seed Tennis Club, being built near Lexington with 12 indoor and 9 outdoor courts

Sponsored and hosted successful USTA Appreciation Night at Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships in Lexington

Continued partnership with KHSAA by sponsoring Regional Sportsmanship Awards, provided technical assistance to their staff, and promoting USTA KY programs and initiatives

Provided assistance toward the development of a new KY High School Tennis Coaches Association

Two 4.5 18 teams (men and women), one 4.5 40  team (women), one 55 9.0 team (women), and one 55 4.0 team (men) advance to Nationals. The women’s 4.5 40 team were crowned national champions. 

Junior Tennis 

 We successfully implemented the Youth Tennis Progression pathway and are very optimistic about Net Generation’s impact. In addition to the nice results highlighted above and we continue to see growth in our fall school based programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Improving the quantity and quality of our competitive juniors was a goal and we added additional Early Development and High-Performance camps in 2017 with a theme of Team Kentucky for our juniors. New incentive plans were put in place increasing Southern Level 4 registrations and players trying a tournament for the first time. An overall number of tournaments increased in 2017.

Adult Tennis

We continued our focus of improving the overall player experience at our Championships in 2017. Player amenities improved by offering dri-fit shirts with additional upgrade options through a new vendor, a vendor village with local businesses, and a USTA KY booth with giveaways at each event. In addition to the heavy focus on Drop Shots, Tennis Apprentice, Wild Aces, and Wise Aces highlighted above, we implemented the “Coolest Cooler” give-a-way promotion impacting the growth in Mixed and Combo registrations. Our adult singles league continues to thrive in two markets and we hope to expand in 2018.

Community Tennis and Schools

 In addition to the 10 Play It Forward grants, KY has been awarded 13 Diversity and Inclusion grants from Southern in 2016 and 2017. One of the Play it Forward Grants, a collaboration between four CTAs and the Parks Department in Louisville has reached over 6,600 players with clinics, leagues, and tournaments. We started a closed Facebook page for community tennis discussions. KY was awarded funds from Southern’sHispanic Task Force to support outreach efforts. These efforts had quick success with 200 children and their families participating in programs at diverse community centers in Louisville. We more than doubled the size of the elementary school red ball league in Louisville from seven teams and 86 students in 2016 to 16 teams with 192 players in 2017. Junior Imperative continues to thrive with school programing increasing 33% and more school programing continually being added.

As we close on 2017 and look to an even brighter 2018, I want to thank all those that have made these achievements possible. First and foremost is the USTA KY staff. They are nothing short of amazing. They are dedicated, hard working and ALWAYS go the extra mile. Next, are the volunteers. They are the “Heart” of this organization and make the achievements at the grass roots level possible. They do all of this hard work, not for monetary gain, but for the sheer joy of bringing tennis to all in Kentucky. Finally, I want to thank all of the tennis professionals who are on the courts everyday teaching and making tennis fun for all.   I end this news article with the thought that one of the real joys of this holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you and wish you the very best for the new year.