Tennis for Kids LA

Sport During the Pandemic - Tennis for Kids LA at Fox Hills Park

By Myke Williams

During the pandemic tennis is one of the safest outside activities for children and adults. It naturally adheres to current social distancing rules while providing exercise, social interaction, and fun. At face value, tennis is a sport uniquely suited for social distancing, as players face off on opposite sides of a tennis court, typically, in an outdoor setting and have little or no close contact with one another. When even walking and running paths tend to be overcrowded by people trying to get some fresh air and exercise, tennis can provide a safe alternative.

Tennis for Kids LA is an after-school and summer youth develop program providing tennis lessons at Fox Hills Park in Culver City. The program trains youth 6 years old to 17 years old and promotes academic and positive youth develop and life skills.

"When we first discovered Fox Hills there were very few kids playing tennis in the park. We knew this would be a great opportunity to build a program for the community," says Executive Director Ted Salter. "We started in 2017 and the Culver City community immediately embraced us!"

Since then Tennis for Kids LA has provided lessons, tournaments, summer programs and tennis camps to over 250 kids in and around the Culver City area. In 2018 Tennis for Kids LA took seven children and their parents on a trip to the American Tennis Association's (ATA) National Tennis Tournament in Orlando Florida. This provided kids an opportunity to compete in the ATA's 100 year old tennis tournament and it also provided the families with history lessons on players like Arther Ashe, Althea Gibson and others who were not allowed to play in the white tournaments. The trip included a day at Disney World and an opportunity to speak to college coaches looking to recruit. They met children from all over the country.

Since then Tennis for Kids has provided its own tennis tournaments in the park, and has several students competing in the local and regional tournaments. Along with its' summer and spring tennis camps they have also provided special events like their free Friday Night Pizza Night (not currently available because of Covid-19) to give children and their parents an opportunity to meet and greet and have a fun play day with other families. While the pandemic has been a challenge, Tennis for Kids LA has been guided by the USTA and the local Health Department on best practices on how to keep tennis safe for children. "We're very proud of our athletes on and off the court," says Salter. "Most people think its just about tennis but it's really about community; the families and the dreams these kids have of reaching their goals. Tennis is part of that journey towards success!"


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