Junior Team Tennis in USTA Middle States
Why wait until high school to join a tennis team? USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT) brings together boys and girls, ages 6 to 18, to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other coed teams.
Over the years, more and more tennis clubs and organizations are experiencing and seeing the benefits JTT can have on their kids. One of those clubs is Winning Touch Tennis, which has locations in Princeton, N.J. and Allentown, Pa.
“We do see more of our JTT players taking the step toward USTA Tournaments earlier than non-JTT players,” said Mario Beckles, who is the Co-Managing Partner at Winning Touch Tennis with Martin Kamara. “JTT does exactly what we want, which is opening a path to competitive play that does not discourage a player.”
Winning Touch’s New Jersey-based facility hosts a variety of JTT league offerings for all ages and skill levels, and presents a fun, team-based experience, which is a different side of tennis that some have not considered or participated in.
“The parents always say how wonderful JTT is,” Beckles said. “Most parents enjoy watching their child compete in a lower-pressure, team-based atmosphere. As for the players, their feedback come through smiles, fun and the socialization they have when playing.”
Dhruv Pokhri plays Junior Team Tennis in New Jersey. His mother, Surabhi, has also noticed the benefits of the program.
“Dhruv loves playing tennis as a team sport and really enjoys the matches he plays,” she said. “Junior Team Tennis offers a friendly and not excessively-competitive environment for young kids like him to improve his game while having fun.”
“The Junior Team Tennis environment has not only brought his game up a notch but also taught him good sportsmanship,” she said. “And most of all I am happy as he is making new friends who have similar interests.”
There are even more benefits to JTT from a club perspective. To learn more, we sat down with Beckles to get his input on the program.
You have offered JTT to Winning Touch Players for a number of years. Have new players also joined your club’s specific programs?
When JTT leagues are offered, we always promote it to our players. We feel this is a major stepping stone for a player to grow on and off the court in tennis. We have also seen JTT players who were not previously in our own programs eventually attend classes, camps and private lessons.
Give your thoughts about the levels of JTT (Orange Dot, Green Dot and Yellow Balls) and how it fits with Net Generation Pro Lesson Plans.
JTT programs are a great way for students in any ball (orange, green or yellow) to experience team competitive tennis. Net Generation has also done a great thing with offering Pro Lesson Plans to its certified professionals. These plans are well organized, level- based and range from higher level plans to fun and engaging lessons for beginners. It’s a great way for a professional to broaden their teaching.
Anything else you want to add?
JTT has been a welcomed addition at WTT since 2015. Students that attend these programs experience so many things that influence their games in a positive way. From team-based competition, fun, parent involvement and much more, students end up wanting more tennis because of this exposure. I would recommend JTT to anyone looking for fun and team tennis.