search sponsored by

Find more about Weather in Hartsville, SC
              Click for weather forecast

weather sponsored by
  • News
  • Features
  • HOLDING COURT! Florence Tennis Association unveils youth tennis program

HOLDING COURT! Florence Tennis Association unveils youth tennis program

on Wednesday, 07 July 2021. Posted in Local News, FEATURES

Participants stand at the net of one of the courts at Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center during a youth tennis clinic conducted by the Ron James Youth Tennis Program.

The Ron James Youth Tennis Program held its first on-court clinics for area children June 24 at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center. Certified tennis instructors led the children through an hour-long regimen of warm-up drills, coordination exercises, and practice on forehands and backhands. The small group clinics moved quickly and everyone had a great time.

The program’s first six-week session, which includes Tuesday and Thursday clinics through the end of July, will cover the basics of tennis strokes, singles play, and the rules and etiquette of the game. Thirty-nine students from Girls University and 19 from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee, all of them newcomers to the sport of tennis, are enrolled in this first session, and organizers hope that most of them will continue after the school year begins and the program shifts to after-school clinics.

They will be joined by youngsters from the City of Florence After-School Centers as soon as the City lifts COVID-19 restrictions on the use of buses.

The Ron James Program, a member of the United States Tennis Association National Junior Tennis and Learning network, is designed to bring the health, fitness, and sportsmanship benefits of tennis into the lives of children who would not normally have access to the sport. It works closely with its partner organizations, the City of Florence Athletics and Sports Tourism Department, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Girls University, the City of Florence After-School Program, and the Florence Tennis Center to integrate on-court activities and learning opportunities—with the goal of helping young people reach their personal objectives and live more rewarding lives.

Funded by generous local donors and by grants from the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation, the USTA Foundation, the USTA Southern Section, and the Florence Tennis Association, the program is currently managed by the FTA Board, which assures its sustainability and enables it to solicit donations as a non-profit organization. However, plans call for making the program a separate non-profit with its own community-based Board of Directors within two years.

“Our long-term strategy is simple: we intend to make this a self-supporting entity and a permanent part of the area tennis community,” said former FTA President Paul Pittman. “All of us in the FTA love the sport of tennis and we want to make it available to others who will enjoy it as much as we do.

” Ernie James, another former FTA President, added

“We believe that bringing tennis into the lives of children without charge and with fun and teamwork included is one of the best things we can do for our community and for its future.

” The program is named in honor of educator, coach, and tennis professional Ronald Avan James,who died unexpectedly in 2019.

The FTA is an award-winning all-volunteer non-profit organization that works to grow the game of tennis in the greater Florence area by conducting leagues, clinics, tournaments, and other activities and working with area governments and businesses to make certain that first-rate tennis facilities are available to the public.

For additional information, contact FTA President Kevin Light by phone at (843) 667-9804, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Past President Paul Pittman at pmpittman@gmail.c

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.