As part of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative, encouraging kids to try playing tennis as one way to stay active, the Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department has teamed up with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the USTA Florida Section and the Friends of Miami Tennis (FOMT) to make tennis playing a whole lot easier for youngsters in our community, by adding kid-size tennis courts to its Tamiami Tennis Center. These new facilities will debut September 10, with a tennis-themed "Play Day" for residents and their children from 3-5 p.m. that features games, prizes and refreshments.
"This is a giant step for kids' tennis in this community" said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. "We are proud to be the first facility in the County to showcase permanent USTA 10 and Under Tennis courts, specifically designed for kids age 10 and under."
Through the efforts of FOMT, and in collaboration with the USTA, USTA Florida Section, Miami-Dade Parks was awarded a $24,000 grant to build four 36-foot 10 and Under Tennis courts at the Tamiami Tennis Center, each half the length of most adult-sized tennis courts. As part of the upgrades, blended lines were also painted on six existing full-size tennis courts to accommodate the USTA 10 and Under QuickStart Tennis play format.
"These new courts will allow younger kids to stay ahead of the curve and start enjoying the game right from the start," said Cathy Nordlund USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. "Scaling the game down to their size gives them more control of the ball and its direction, making their first experience with the sport a positive one."
The USTA QuickStart Tennis play format utilizes age and size appropriate racquets, balls and court sizes to allow kids to play the game of tennis. Originally called 36/60, when it first launched in America in 2006, this system offers two stages of play before progressing to a 72-foot full-size tennis court. The first stage advocates a 36-foot long court and at the second stage, a 60-foot court. The format has long been popular in Europe where current stars such as Roger Federer, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters first learned the game.
Those interested in participating in the "Play Day" opening festivities at the Tamiami Tennis Center can pre-register online at ustamiami.com, which also allows them to be entered into a drawing for a free QuickStart mini net, jr. racquet and balls, valued at $200.
The Tamiami Tennis Center is located at 11201 SW 24 St., Miami, is fully lighted for nighttime use. For information on activities and programs at the Tamiami Tennis Center, call 305-480-2099, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.
About Friends of Miami Tennis, Inc.
Friends of Miami Tennis, Inc. (FOMT) is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit corporation, established in 2004 for the purpose of promoting and growing tennis in South Florida. Its' mission is to work with parks, tennis professionals and community tennis associations in South Florida to promote the healthy lifestyle of tennis by exposing our wonderfully diverse community to our lifetime sport. Its' goal is to provide quality tennis programming and service to the residents of Miami at a reasonable cost in welcoming environment at beautiful Tamiami Tennis Center.
About the Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 263 parks and more than 12,848 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1 or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.
To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call 305-365-6706.