Louisville Elementary School Leagues Double

Louisville Elementary School Leagues Double

In 2016, USTA KY working with the Louisville 10 and Under Tennis Association, began the Elementary School Tennis League in the Jefferson County Public School district.  The league started small, with 7 teams and 81 students total.  In 2017, the league has grown to 15 teams from 12 schools and 169 individual participants from grades 3-5.


Each school has at least 3 after school practices and will then have 3 matches against other participating schools.  Schools have the option for both home and away matches, and many schools have embraced home matches by offering concession stands and spectator seating areas.  There are between 6 and 12 students on each team and matches consist of 6 singles matches and 3 doubles matches.  By playing short sets, this match format ensures that everyone gets to play at least once each match.


At the conclusion of the season, teams will come together for an end of season tournament and celebration.  The students play singles in a single elimination bracket and the winners of each division receive new tennis racquets and tennis balls.  Regardless of their placing in the competition, each participant receives a small prize, a healthy snack and a bottle of water (supported by donations from the local community).  Schools who placed in the top of the league receive a trophy to take back to their school. 


This program is partially funded by USTA Southern Diversity & Inclusion and Hispanic Initiative grants.  The average percentage of students on free and reduced lunch at the participating schools is 76.6% and the average student body of the participating schools is made up of 20.5% Hispanic students and 31.6% African American students.  The remainder of the funds for the tennis league are paid by the school in various ways.  The majority of the schools use money that’s been allocated to their Family Resource Center, which handles the bulk of after-school programs.


We are already seeing the impact of this league on other tennis programs throughout Louisville.  The Community Tennis Associations (CTA’s) in the neighborhood where the league schools are located have seen an increase in their summer programs.  We are beginning to see students who have league experience looking for other more competitive opportunities to play.  We are also diligently working to continue the growth of tennis within these schools by offering revenue producing K-2 feeder programs.  USTA KY and the Louisville 10 and Under Tennis Association are looking forward to continuing this program which helps us bridge the gap between traditional after-school programs and competitive JTT leagues.