FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The 2012 Carter Park Tennis Clinic took place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, led by various local tennis coaches and professionals, including the University of Miami men’s tennis head coach Mario Rincon.
“It was a successful kick off thanks to the involvement and active participation from the University of Miami staff,” said Ft. Lauderdale Police Department Sgt. Hugo Fontalvo, a member of the Kids and Police Tennis Association and the driving force behind the clinic. “Mario’s ability to connect with the children and explain the importance of hard work, sacrifice and education was invaluable. From the very beginning, Mario showed his willingness to cooperate and assist our program with the presence of one of the most prestigious Universities in our country.”
Other special guests included UM men’s assistant coach Mark Dickson, UM men’s volunteer assistant coach Laurence Tieleman, tennis professional and former UM player Keith Crowley and tennis professional Brad Jeffries. The clinic was led by Carter Park staff member Coach Blades, community volunteer Brandon Cox, FLPD members, staff tennis coach Chris Sands and community volunteer Larry Ingram.
“I had a great time teaching the little kids, and seeing their faces as they watched Keith hit the ball with Laurence,” said Coach Rincon. “Sgt. Hugo from the Police Department is doing a great job promoting sports and education, and it was a lot of fun being part of the event.”
There were several stations set up for the students with the objective of having participants interact and minimize their idle time. The goal was to keep the participants moving and engaged in the station while having fun and honing their mechanical skills.
“UM allowed us to meet our objectives set out for this kick off, which was to connect higher education, personal leadership skills and tennis,” said Fontalvo. “This was a day that these kids will never forget.”
The youth began by observing the special guests of the clinic show their skills in singles and doubles rallies while another staffer briefly described parts of the game. After this segment, the students broke up into sections where two to four kids were paired with each volunteer. The various stations included warm up/flexibility, sprint, side step, eye/hand coordination, footwork/eye–footwork coordination, forehand, backhand and serve.
"It was great to team up with Brad Jefferies, Mario, Laurence, Sergeant Hugo and the Fort Lauderdale police department to give back to the community and the kids with the game we all love,” said Keith Crowley. “Finding time to give back is very important to me"
KAPTA and Life Leadership Through Tennis is an after-school program focusing on teaching the basic skills of tennis to predominantly at-risk children. Our main objective is to improve the quality of life skills for children under 10 years of age and to provide an avenue where they can find a path leading to constantly making right choices.
The technical teaching aspects of the sport include but are not limited to the rules of the game, preparation, strokes, etiquette, game emotional management, and proper diet. We also practice the teaching principles already established by K.A.P.T.A.
Our staff consists of local law enforcement officers, tennis pros and volunteers from the community who are committed to nothing short of excellence. We are introducing this sport to a demographic area breaking the stereotype of sports such as basketball and football.
We will focus on developing leadership skills on four domains: school, home, community and self, as much as we focus on the accountability of their actions. This approach is intended to help our participants master a set of behaviors and skills, which will give them a competitive advantage in life and tennis. We want to encourage our participants to dream and hope for a successful future as they gain success in the program.
At-risk children will benefit from this program by developing true self-esteem and self-discipline based on a set of core beliefs and values such as integrity, discipline, courage, planning, dependability and motivation. We combine the fun sport of tennis with material that is usually taught in classroom settings. These concepts will be reinforced in short teaching segments during activities such as tennis, speed, strength and agility coaching.
Although tennis is mistakenly referred to as an individual sport, we will emphasize the concept of teamwork teaching the ability to either lead or follow, but most importantly, the personal responsibility and accountability expected once you work with others.