At 52 years of age I became a first-time dad. Wow! What an eye-opening, happy, stressful, and magical time! A couple of years later, Aidan was in his “adventurous twos,” stage and I began tapping balloons around the house with him and having a great time simulating a little game of balloon tennis.
In the same month Aidan and I began playing our tennis games, I ended my 11-year run at the Director of Tennis at Boca Royal Golf and Country Club in Sarasota, Florida. The year was 2010 and the economy was in a deep recession. The owners sold the club a few months later.
After two weeks of unemployment, I actually woke up one morning with an idea to develop a tennis program for children my son’s age up through the age of six or eight. And what better way to facilitate it than take the program into schools?
I began coaching kids and developing a tennis program at my son’s preschool, Carlton Academy in downtown Tampa. The school Director there, Monica, was open to the idea and the classes became very popular. Parents loved having their kids involved and active in the game of tennis at an early age.
Until the TotStart Tennis program was formed, tennis was strictly a six-and-OVER sport. Even today, if you bring your child to most tennis facilities at the age of 3 or 4, the tennis pro will more than likely smile that “no-thanks smile” and then tell you to come back in a couple of years. Even the USTA’s (United States Tennis Association) 10-and-under program is not inclusive of kids under the age of six.
Fast forward to 2015. We are still coaching tennis to children at Carlton Academy (Thank you Monica!) and now to more than 18 additional preschools in Hillsborough and Pasco counties in Florida. Every week the coaching staff at TotStart Tennis Academy teaches year-round classes to more than 230 kids! That makes us the largest year-round junior tennis program in Hillsborough County and most likely in the state of Florida!
Our goal is the same as it was five years ago: Instill a love of tennis in young boys and girls, teach them the ABCs of tennis, give them confidence…and have FUN!
PTR Tennis Professional
Owner, TotStart Tennis Academy