High school-age girls can learn tennis in collaborative setting

MIDDLEBURY — For the second consecutive year, the New England Branch of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will sponsor a one-day workshop event to promote young women in tennis in Vermont. The organizers of Women in Tennis Together are encouraging local athletes to register to secure one of the 18 slots available to girls in grades 9-12.
Register online at acafvt.org.
Through the assistance of Karen Didricksen, Vermont Tennis Service Representative, the USTA continues to further its initiative to help individual states throughout our region grow tennis by bringing together young female tennis players in a workshop format. Middlebury Indoor Tennis center will host the Women in Tennis Together event and partner with Middlebury College this Saturday, April 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event has a fee of $5, which includes event admission, breakfast and lunch, a gift, fun tennis activities, and one free ticket to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on Friday, July 19.
Erin Morrison, programs and communications manager at the Addison Community Athletics Foundation, is the primary organizer for the event. She and a team of area players, pros and USTA officials hope the chance for young women to connect with fellow players, pros, and area educators will encourage a lifelong love of the game.
Event organizer Jeanne Hulsen is athletic director at Burlington High School and an accomplished coach and player. She is excited for area girls to come and see what it means to embark on a lifelong tennis journey.
“This event offers female student/athletes the exposure to strong women leaders, coaches, and educators with a rich history, passion, and life experience influenced by tennis,” Hulsen said. “By including high school, both former and current collegiate players and coaches, administrators, and adult and senior USTA teammates, this event uniquely explores the many ways tennis can be ‘sport for a lifetime.’”
Rachel Kahan, Middlebury College women’s tennis coach and an accomplished collegiate athlete, agrees wholeheartedly.
“Lessons learned on the court are those young women will use for the rest of their lives beyond their time in team athletics,” Kahan said.
Both on- and off-court activities will be led by an all-female staff of area college coaches and tennis pros like veterans Tammy Azur, Laury Shea, Sasha Fisher, Amy Degroot, Kristin Hartley and Amy Berkman. Together these powerhouse players will provide strategic and tactical instruction during drills, games, and competitive singles and doubles match play. Off court, longtime USTA enthusiasts Deborah Larkin and Allyson Bolduc will join in for the panel discussion. The organizers have built in time for networking to give the young players the chance to connect more deeply with coaches, accomplished recreational players, and fellow athletes to explore the value and impact of tennis in their personal lives.
Closer to home, Middlebury Union High School girl’s tennis coach Jill Dunn reports that her 2018 girls’ team chose to focus their competitive season on developing technique and learning the game over achieving a specific win-loss record. By concentrating their 10-week season on mastering fundamental strokes, proper court etiquette, and good sportsmanship, every member achieved a new level of confidence and proficiency. As many of her players participated in last year’s Women in Tennis Together event, Dunn is eager for the 2019 season to begin.
“I am really looking forward to coming back to a team of girls who have knowledge and a love for the game, who are ready to play and compete, and who already have team pride, unity, and excitement,” Dunn said. “Go Tigers!”
Registration for the April 6 event is now open and Morrison encourages early sign up. Those interested in registering or learning more may contact Erin Morrison by visiting the Addison Community Athletics Foundation website: acafvt.org.

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