Matt Cunningham has been teaching tennis in Florida for over 30 years. For the last 12 he was the Director of Tennis at Harbour Island Athletic Club in Tampa, and more recently the Director at Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Sarasota. He holds a current pro certification by the Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR) and graduated with a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of South Florida. Paired with a extensive tennis coaching and management background –starting in his early 20s, Matt was also a part-time sports writer for the St. Pete Times, and a writer/marketer of sports instructional CDs for IntelliMedia Sports in conjunction with ESPN. Matt was formerly ranked as a top 10 singles player in Florida, and has taught hundreds of juniors and adults to play tennis. He lives in Tampa with his wife Jana and 10-year old son, Aidan.
“I am extremely excited about this program. To the best of my knowledge, this type of tennis program for preschoolers has never been offered anywhere. TotStart Tennis is all about having fun while giving your child a patterned direction for athletic movement, hand/eye skills and an introduction to the game of tennis. It has been my experience that kids between 2 and 5 can catch and throw with surprising consistency and accuracy. So the potential skill of hitting a ball with a racquet is already there. The bonus at the 2-5 age is they are completely motivated to learn, run and they burn an amazing amount of energy.”
Angela Sanchez-Cantu is an avid tennis doubles player and the TotStart Tennis Director for North and South Carolina. Angela is originally from Monterrey Mexico but grew up in Atlanta. She moved to Tampa after completing her B.A. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. Tampa marked her starting point for TotStart Tennis and she has loved the program ever since.Angela also has an undergraduate degree in early childhood education, which serves her well in our tennis program. In addition to her area director and coaching role, Angela manages TotStart Tennis marketing and Facebook pages.
Angela moved to the Charlotte area recently with her boyfriend Kevin to be closer to her family and friends. She and Kevin love walking her dog Indy around Freedom Park and playing her tennis around Steele Creek, Fort Mill and Tega Cay.
“I love coaching kids in the TotStart program. It’s fun and rewarding to see our students learning and having fun!”
Dee Dolson is the TotStart Tennis Academy coach for Pinellas County Florida and is an active tennis player herself in singles and doubles. She is a certified Professional Tennis Registry coach for children 10 and under. Dee is also a USTA Junior Team Tennis coach and a certified Special Olympics tennis coach. In addition to coaching, Dee plays tennis at a 4.5 NTRP level. She was the 2015 finalist at the Mont Tremblant/Montreal, Canada ITF Cup (International Tennis Federation) in singles and doubles.
Coach Dee attended the University of South Florida, earning a B.A. in marketing. She went on to work as a Research Director for Nielsen Media in the Tampa Bay area for over 25 years. Dee lives in Palm Harbor with her husband Tim. They have two daughters, Brenna and Casey.
Dee enjoys kayaking and biking near her home. “We try to get to the mountains of North Carolina every year to hike,” says Dee. She also finds time to volunteer for the Suncoast Animal League in the Pinellas County area to help with dog rescues and adoptions.
“I am passionate about the sport of tennis and introducing children to the game,” says coach Dee. The TotStart program is a fun and safe way of teaching the basic fundamentals of tennis at an early age. Tennis has always been a part of my life and I can’t wait to give children the foundation for a lifetime of healthy fitness and fun!”