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Week 9 Recap: Davis Cup!

Week 9 Recap: Davis Cup!

On Saturday, July 29, our students competed in Davis Cup, as is KCTL midseason tradition. Modeled off the real Davis Cup, each of the five sites represented a country in the doubles tournament. We put the following nations on the map: Mongolia (Tompkins), Greece (Marcy), Brazil (Lafayette Gardens), Kenya (Sumner), and Trinidad & Tobago (Jackie Robinson). 

Saturday was an usually windy day at Marcy Playground, but we held things (the portable tennis nets) down (literally) with bags of rice. Before the matches began, student ambassadors from each site presented some historical and cultural information on their country to an audience that included many volunteers, parents, family members, and other spectators. The national anthems from each country were played.

The format of the tournament was as follows: The first doubles team to 10 points was the winner of the match. To compliment real tennis scoring, victory meant winning by at least two points. Every single point counted toward the final team score, which propelled participants to make the most of every single point. The final point count was divided by how many matches each site played to determine the Champion.

During play, we witnessed some healthy competition from each site which helped to create a fantastic atmosphere. Program Manager Dave Webley notes that he observed "very encouraging signs that our students are improving their games, while learning how to deal with their emotions when competing."

Mongolia was declared the Champion at the end of the day. Congratulations, Tompkins! Although four teams did not go home as winners, all participants had a thrilling and rewarding Davis Cup tournament. Everyone played at least three matches, remained engaged, and demonstrated competitive spirit. 

Summer Season Opener 2017

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Summer Season Opener 2017

Our students, their families, and volunteers made strong showings at all sites for our Saturday, June 3 Summer Season Opener.

Lessons prioritized the technicalities of tennis footwork, forehand groundstrokes, and background groundstrokes. Youth participants ranged vastly in levels of experience. Some students were completely new to the sport and required close instruction, while others retained impressive muscle memory from the Winter Season at Pratt that ended just two months ago. The majority of participants, though, had not played with KCTL since 2016 and were eager to grab their racquets and resume their game.

The off-court discussions were all about introductions and setting expectations. Students and volunteers introduced themselves to one another and learned about the structure of the season. This year, the educational portions of class will heavily incorporate lessons in STEM. Additionally, each student received a punchcard that their Educational Coordinator will use to track their attendance. When students reach certain benchmarks in classes attended, they will receive prizes. The off-court sessions wrapped up with surveys about expectations for what students hope to accomplish in the next four months.

Site staff and volunteers alike are excited to help the kids advance with deeper tennis knowledge like mental toughness, learning how to score, being positive with each other, serving, and agility. Here's to another great season!

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Recap: Winter Season Opener

Recap: Winter Season Opener

We welcomed our students back to the tennis courts—indoors!—on Saturday, February 4 at Pratt Institute to commence our first Winter Tennis Season.

Both sessions—ages 9 and under and ages 10 and up—were a lot of fun and very successful. The students were thrilled to be back on the court and were especially happy about the new facility.

The classes began with reviews of basic tennis skills and social norms or tennis etiquette. Led by staff members Lucca and Ari, we reinforced expectations for grips, stances, and swing patterns. The skills recap was helpful for the kids' adjustment to a new tennis surface. Unlike an outdoor tennis court or blacktop, the ball bounces lower on an indoor court, so we emphasized the importance of early swing preparation and bending the knees for groundstrokes. Social norms for the kids include hugging their racquets when they aren't hitting and practicing safety when others are on the court.

After getting a feel for the new, challenging tennis surface, we moved onto rotating stations with fast-paced tennis drills. And, of course, we wrapped up with a game of Breakout at the very end of each session.

View more photos from the Winter Season Opener on Facebook.

#NothingTopsTennis: International Teamwork at Davis Cup 2016

#NothingTopsTennis: International Teamwork at Davis Cup 2016

July's educational theme, Cognitive Awareness, concluded with an activity that, for many students, required an entirely new way of thinking: playing tennis with a teammate. While the first eight weeks of the season emphasized individual athletic performance and behavior, July 30 highlighted the importance of collaboration with a tennis partner and appreciation for an entire team.

The Davis Cup is an annual tournament in which each KCTL site represents a country. Landmarks on our diverse world map included Guyana (Lafayette Gardens), France (Marcy), Trinidad & Tobago (Jackie Robinson), Brazil (Sumner), and Senegal (Tompkins). Before play, the students and volunteers from each team briefly discussed key facts about their countries.

Tournament play itself consisted of nine "Champion of the Court" stations, in which participants were paired up and matched up according to skill level. In order to become the new Champion, the Challengers had to score two consecutive points against their opponents.  All points won on the Champion side contributed to each team's total score.

The final results of the tournament were definitely shocking, considering that Marcy is our long-term defending champion. Lafayette Gardens, Tompkins, and Sumner, placed in first, second, and third, respectively. We are extremely proud of all players and teams for their efforts!

Beyond tennis, we were fortunate to have two special guests on the court with us. Thank you to KIND Snacks for again sharing healthy goodness with us, and to Birdie NYC (GreenNYC's mascot) for awesome reusable water bottles in exchange for our promise to use less plastic!

Students Explore Entrepreneurship, Individual Passion at Shoe Factory Visit

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Students Explore Entrepreneurship, Individual Passion at Shoe Factory Visit

Saturday, February 6 marked a special day in Kings County Tennis League's off-season. Our youth athletes enjoyed a unique educational experience--off the tennis court--at a footwear factory in the Garment District of Midtown, Manhattan.

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The field trip was the latest installment in our series of efforts to inspire our youngsters through non-tennis enrichment. The event comes as a follow-up to our 2015 Google visit, which exposed the students to a new possibility, a career in the Technology sector with the world's biggest employer. Both field trips function as "real life" applications of our Off-Court Curriculum, which aims to help our students develop life skills outside of tennis.

Our host, Marcy Tennis Club Volunteer Omar Bailey, graciously welcomed 30 students and 15 parents to the factory, his workplace. He's the co-founding partner of Modern Vice, a luxury shoe brand that is designed, developed, and manufactured right here in our city. Omar's factory is one of the last remaining sites of its kind in Manhattan.

As young as age nine, Omar dreamed of working in the footwear design industry. After gigs with big name brands like Nike, though, Omar was ready to take his career to the next level as an entrepreneur. Omar has created masterpieces for celebrities including Shaquille O'Neill, Terry Crews, Lady Gaga, and QuestLove.

The experience strongly inspired the students, especially the few who said they're aspiring footwear designers. Professional dreams aside, the machinery, the manufacturing process, the creative work, and, of course, the finished products kept all of the students fully engaged. At the end of the tour and presentation from Omar, we challenged students with the question "What's your shoe story?" We asked the students to draw, explain, and name their own shoe.

Shoe design and manufacturing might have little to do with tennis, but we like that entrepreneurship--an individual, risky endeavor that requires belief in oneself--can be connected to our favorite individual sport. "You don't always have to go for the obvious," Omar told his listeners on Saturday. "If there is something you want to do, be confident and believe you do it."

Visit us on Facebook for more photos from the field trip.

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Week 16 Recap: Jamboree!

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Week 16 Recap: Jamboree!

Saturday, September 26 marked the grand finale to KCTL's sixth tennis season: The Annual Youth Tennis Tournament & Community Jamboree. What a wonderful day we had!

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Jamboree-2015

The courts at Marcy Playground welcomed students, volunteers, parents, and family members with perfect, sunny weather. Upbeat music pumped from the speakers as burgers, hot dogs, pasta salad and fruit were served. It was the perfect community party atmosphere and farewell to summer.

The main event--the tennis tournament--featured dozens of gripping matches, positive sportsmanship, and commendable individual efforts. Regular matches were played on seven mini tennis courts simultaneously, while the Final Rounds for each bracket were held independently at the end of the day.

We're very proud to announce our 2015 Jamboree winners:

10 & Under Bracket

Winner: Julius D., Lafayette Gardens

Runner-Up: Emeka A., Marcy

11 & Over Bracket

Winner: Jonathan D., Marcy

Runner-Up: Jovani A., Marcy

In addition to the tournament bracket trophies, we presented a new award--Player of the Year--to a student who maintained perfect attendance this season and who always tried his best. This award went to Jovani A., who was also the 11 & Over Bracket's Runner-Up.

As KCTL President & Founder Michael McCasland reminded us during the Awards Ceremony, there are very few winners in a tennis tournament. Because almost all participants leave the courts as losers, there's no reason for students to get angry at themselves--or at their opponents--because they didn't finish in first place.

Instead, participants are encouraged to look to the winners for inspiration--to mimic their dedication and consistency--in order to learn and grow as tennis players and as individuals.

With this in mind, we're immensely proud of every single one of our students. Congratulations to everyone who played with us this season! We look forward to returning to the courts together in 2016!

You can view all the photos from the 2015 Jamboree on Facebook.

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Highlights from Serving Courtside, Our Sixth Annual Fundraiser

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Highlights from Serving Courtside, Our Sixth Annual Fundraiser

Last Wednesday, September 9, Kings County Tennis League held its Sixth Annual Fundraiser at M1-5 Lounge in TriBeCa.

Entitled "Serving Courtside," the celebration was a fantastic night out in support of our goals to expand, extend, and enrich youth development and community building through tennis.

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Serving_Courtside_2015

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Marcy_Tennis-68

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To complement our fundamental operations--bringing tennis to children right where they live--Serving Courtside brought tennis to the masses in a centrally located space. Complete with synthetic grass, portable tennis nets, racquets, tennis balls everywhere, and a Serena Williams cardboard cutout, Serving Courtside presented the ultimate tennis party experience to more than 200 guests.

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Marcy_Tennis-88

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Marcy_Tennis-118

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Robert-Cornegy-2015-Fundraiser

The fundraiser was immensely successful for the organization. We can't say thank you enough to everyone who joined our celebration.

We're extremely grateful for our beverage sponsors, Sixpoint, Flatiron Wines & Spirits, and Purity.Organic, as well as for our synthetic grass sponsor, SYNLawn New York. We'd also like to thank our raffle donors, whose names and generous prize contributions are detailed on the official event page.

View the event highlights on Facebook.

Peruse the event program to learn more.

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In the Spirit of Our Fundraiser, Serving Courtside, Tell Us Why You Serve!

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In the Spirit of Our Fundraiser, Serving Courtside, Tell Us Why You Serve!

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Invitations have arrived! Serving Courtside, Kings County Tennis League's Sixth Annual Fundraiser, was officially released to the public yesterday, June 24. It's going to be held on Wednesday, September 9 at M1-5 Lounge in TriBeCa. We're excited to make this the biggest, most wonderful party yet, and we're calling on you to play a part in this victory for KCTL.

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KCTL-Serving-Courtside-Flyer-2015

Just like the event's name implies, our Annual Fundraiser is an opportunity for all of KCTL's supporters to gather together to serve--and celebrate--the program off the tennis court. If you're KCTL supporter in any capacity--parent, player, volunteer, friend or acquaintance--show off your experience with the program using #IServeBecause on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

New to KCTL, or have yet to get involved directly? Don't worry; you're not excluded from the fun. You can still check out all the posts tagged #IServeBecause to live vicariously through their authors. :)

Aside from our #IServeBecause social campaign, be sure to come back here, to our blog, for a special #IServeBecause series featuring a new KCTL supporter each week. You'll be able to learn about how our tennis-mentorship program positively impacts everyone involved at the individual level.

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Our Season Opener is This Saturday!

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Our Season Opener is This Saturday!

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It's almost time to rally at all five KCTL sites!

We'd like to extend an especially warm welcome to the new kids on the court, Jackie Robinson Tennis Club. As for everyone else--Marcy, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Sumner--we're excited to have you back!

Our season begins this Saturday, May 30 at 1:00 PM; volunteers are expected to arrive by 12:00 PM. We look forward to seeing everyone then.

Parents, if you haven't yet registered your child, you can still sign up here to guarantee his or her spot.

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season-opener-five-teams-2015

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KCTL Kicks Off New Mentoring Initiative at Google!

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KCTL Kicks Off New Mentoring Initiative at Google!

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We recently announced that we’re supplementing our four-month tennis mentoring program with off-season field trips. As the weather only allows for so much outdoor tennis time, periodic educational outings will enable us to fill in the gaps while widening our students’ world views.

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KCTL Google

So, on Monday, April 6, we made our first stop: Google’s office in Manhattan! Accompanied by their parents and a few volunteers, about two dozen KCTL kids explored the New York City office of the world’s most admirable employer. We’re very grateful to Sumner Site Leader Bryce Richards – a Software Engineer at Google when he’s not teaching tennis – for arranging the special visit.

The students begin their tour by examining antique computers – which provided a glimpse into how much technology has evolved since before their lifetimes. Next, it was off to Google’s game room, which included video games, pool, ping pong and treadmills. We were impressed to see the skills they have beyond the sport of tennis! The games continued in the LEGO café, followed by the climbing wall.

But we didn’t forget that Google is an office: an environment where employees congregate and accomplish projects together every day. The students observed Google’s uniquely designed conference rooms and workspaces, too. This final component of the trip gave them critical insight into look and feel of an exceptional, forward-thinking professional space – somewhere they might one day strive to build a career.

Thanks to everyone who made this an incredible experience for our students. Be sure to check out additional photos on Facebook.

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Pre-Season Volunteer Socials

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Pre-Season Volunteer Socials

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We’re still more than 12 weeks (and 50 degrees Fahrenheit!) away from our tennis season, but we’ve already heard from many of you about volunteering.

As a warm welcome our newcomers—and to provide fun opportunities for returning volunteers to catch up with KCTL—we’ve planned several unique social events in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Big thanks to all who came out to our tennis and pizza event at Prospect Park Tennis Center on Saturday, February, 28! Below, you’ll see everything else that’s happening.

Please RSVP to all events on Meetup or by email to social@kingscountytennisleague.org.

Coffee Cupping at Blue Bottle Coffee
Saturday, March 7 (Tomorrow!) at 11:45 AM
450 West 15th Street, Manhattan
Experience a professionally-guided tasting of various coffee flavors in Chelsea.

Tennis at Prospect Park Tennis Center
Saturday, March 14 at 6:00 PM
50 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn
Enjoy one hour of play for $5/participant, followed by tacos, quesadillas and burritos at El Acuario (Five-star Yelp rating!) around the corner from the tennis center.

Brunch at Michael McCasland’s Apartment
Sunday, March 22 at 1:00 PM
50 Greene Avenue, Apt 4F, Brooklyn
Mix a little bit of breakfast with a little bit of lunch with us!

Ping Pong Happy Hour at t.b.d. Brooklyn
Wednesday, April 1 at 7:00 PM
224 Franklin Street, Brooklyn
Because the only thing better than tennis is table tennis.

Bowling at Brooklyn Bowl
Sunday, April 12 at 1:45 PM
61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn
We’re covering 90 minutes of play, including shoes, for $10/participant.

Season Kickoff Dinner at Meredith Brown’s Apartment
Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 PM
135 Meserole Street, Apt 3, Brooklyn
Eat and have fun as we head into the final month before the season starts.

If you are interested in volunteering, but haven’t told us yet, we’d love to hear from you.

Please keep an eye on all of our Facebook, Twitter & Meetup pages for changes or additions to our social calendar.

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2014 End of Season

Unfortunately, mother nature hit us with some lousy weather for our special end-of-season jamboree and youth tennis tournament, but that didn't stop us from having some fun and rewarding the kids for all their hard work this season!

Special thank you to Jon W. and the Committee for planning and putting together the jamboree this year. The rain dampened the court, but not our spirit, it was a blast.

View all the photos from this year's end-of-season meeting on Facebook.

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Annual End-of-Season Youth Tennis Tournament & Community Jamboree

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Annual End-of-Season Youth Tennis Tournament & Community Jamboree

To celebrate a successful tennis season and all the handwork of our youth athletes and volunteers, KCTL holds a fun-filled day of youth tournaments and a community jamboree. The youth tournaments include an 11-and-over bracket and 10-and-under bracket that students from all four sites compete in. All players receive merit awards for participating in the season and the tournament. Tournament winners will receive trophies.

The community jamboree includes free food, music and entertainment. The event starts at 1pm and goes until the tournament is over. And we'll have a very special, first ever, finals match from those playing in the competitive division of the KCTL's Volunteer Tennis Tournament!

Saturday, October 4 at 1pm at Marcy Playground (corner of Myrtle and Nostrand Avenues) in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In case of rain, the event will happen on Oct. 11.

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Check out more photos from our 2013 Jamboree and 2012 Jamboree on Facebook.

Teams-Registration

Teams

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Love All, NY: We Love You Too!

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Love All, NY: We Love You Too!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Our fundraiser last week was a huge success! We had a great turnout, our raffle raised a lot of money, the music was wonderful, the drinks were flowing, and overall, a wonderful time was had by all! Thank you again to M1-5 Lounge, City Winery and Sixpoint Brewery and all of our raffle prize sponsors/donors.

Check out all the photos on Facebook including photos of the students' art work.

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