Playing the Game, Growing the Game

Philadelphia-area’s Victoria Walters is a standout tennis player on her high school team and her USTA Junior Team Tennis team.

victoria walters and justin
Walters with Middle States staff member Justin Landis

Her favorite part of the game, though, is getting others on the court.

Walters, a to-be senior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, recently developed a program called Victoria’s Acers, which aims to grow tennis by teaching the game to elementary school-aged kids in Philadelphia. In June, Walters officially kicked off the program at Russell Byers Charter School, instructing kids on how to learn, play and enjoy the game.

For Walters, it all started when she began brainstorming senior project ideas.

“I really enjoy teaching kids tennis, so I wanted to do something like that,” she said.

So Walters began fundraising for racquets, balls, nets and prizes. She developed a curriculum that included one to two days of drills that warm up muscles, teach racquet grip and explore the basics of the game in a fun, exciting way.

Even when it turned out that she wasn’t going to complete the project for her graduation project, she knew it was still something she wanted to do.

“I had a lot of my friends volunteer with me, too, and they had fun. Now I’m thinking about how to bring it to other schools.”

Walters, who began playing tennis in third grade, isn’t new to teaching kids. For the last several years she’s helped teach elementary-aged kids at Cedarbrook Country Club in the summer months, and has also taught at Magarity Tennis Club during the school year on occasion. She applied all of those skills to her first session of Victoria’s Acers and expects to continue building up on that success.

Walters said one of her favorite aspects of tennis is the team format. As a Junior Team Tennis player, she enjoys the camaraderie and excitement of competing together, something she also gets to enjoy at the high school level. She’s seen rapid improvement over the last several years, making the varsity team in her first season of high school tennis and becoming one of the team leaders.

Walters is set to begin her senior year in just a couple of months, and will serve as Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s team captain. She’s currently battling a wrist injury, but expects to be all set for the season.

And in the meantime, she’ll continue spreading the game to everyone she can.

“As long as I’m on the court, I’m happy,” she said.

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