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Centercourt in Chatham: A QuickStart Tennis Region Pioneer

May 5, 2010 02:45 AM
Chatham Quick Start

Centercourt in Chatham: A QuickStart Tennis Region Pioneer

On Sunday, April 25th, 2010, Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham, NJ ran its first QuickStart Tennis 10 and Under Practice Tournament. This was the first event of a series designed to prepare juniors for sanctioned competition and expose parents to the benefits and joys of the new format. The feedback was very positive from the parents and the 20 junior participants. Jeff Rothstein, the club’s QuickStart Specialist and event organizer stated: “I knew that the kids had a good time, but I wasn’t certain about the parents. Afterwards I spoke to the parents individually and they were very, very happy.”

Centercourt is the only tennis facility in the Eastern section that has 8 indoor tennis courts with permanent QuickStart tennis lines. Adding the lines makes the transition from traditional lesson formats to the QuickStart formats, both 60 feet and 36 feet, much more seamless, which is crucial for a club as busy as Centercourt. This is Centercourt’s first competitive event utilizing the 10 and under QuickStart Format. Juniors have been participating in QuickStart group and private lessons since the start of the indoor season. The practice tournament is a transitional activity on route to making QuickStart an integral part of the Centercourt culture.

In addition to his QuickStart efforts at Centercourt, Jeff is a USTA National High Performance QuickStart trainer. He provides QuickStart training for the USTA to certified tennis teaching professionals. While Jeff is absolutely sold on the benefits of QuickStart, he explained that it will take time to obtain parent’s and junior’s total endorsement because of the format’s unique approach to the game. The format adjusts 6 components including transitional balls, shorter racquets, smaller court dimensions, and more, all used to make tennis easier to learn. Additionally, there is a well defined teaching methodology that promotes juniors playing the game more quickly. It’s similar to other sports such as soccer, baseball, softball, etc. that all use age-appropriate modifications.

Jeff explained to some parents that their kids weren’t ready for tournament play and they appreciated the honest feedback. One player at the practice tournament is in Centercourt’s 36 ft court regular lesson program. She jumped at the opportunity to play at the practice event. Unfortunately, she was not ready for the transition. “At least the player and her parents were open to more tennis activities and that was a great sign”, said Jeff. Several of the players in the practice tournament normally play on 78 ft courts. They knew the tournament was on 60 ft courts and they still wanted to play and enjoyed the competition. Jeff was encouraged to see that the players, and their parents, didn’t dismiss playing on a smaller, but age-appropriate court.

I enjoyed participating on-court, along with my regional counterpart Jocelyn Cruz. We were both impressed with the excitement and enthusiasm from the juniors, parents and Centercourt staff. he Additionally, the USTA supported the event by providing medals and Play Tennis America hats to each junior participant. That was a big hit. Centercourt ended the event with pizza and drinks for the juniors. To encourage additional tournament play the club offered the participating juniors a free 1-year USTA membership if they sign up for a USTA Sanctioned QuickStart Tournament in 2010. This way, the players will be able to register for additional Sanctioned Tournaments and Centercourt’s new QuickStart Junior Team Tennis program beginning in the fall. Centercourt already has a number of 10 and under and 8 and under sanctioned QuickStart tournaments on the USTA 2010 schedule, a great way to encourage participation and develop the club’s younger market.

Jeff is planning a similar practice tournament on June 6th for QuickStart kids on 36 ft courts. This event will include both on-court match play, on-court individual skills tests (i.e. throwing, running, hitting) and an assortment of team games.

For more QuickStart tournament information, contact Jeff Rothstein at