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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. 

#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!

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!

Jamboree-2015

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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Week 9 Recap: Davis Cup!

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Week 9 Recap: Davis Cup!

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On Saturday, August 1, KCTL students participated in a special intraleague tournament, Davis Cup, at Marcy Playground.

The first site-wide contest of 2015, Davis Cup marked the season's halfway point, making it the right time to apply eight weeks of tennis lessons in combination. The doubles-style tournament is also a low-pressure precursor to the Jamboree, a higher-priority singles competition at the season's conclusion.

davis-cup-tennis-courts

davis-cup-tennis-courts

Competition aside, Davis Cup was an opportunity for KCTL students, parents, and family members to meet their peers from other sites. We had strong attendance on all fronts, including many spectators seated comfortably--and, occasionally, jumping up and down enthusiastically--along the sidelines.

In the spirit of the real-world Davis Cup, each KCTL team represented a country:

  • Marcy assumed the role of Italy
  • Tompkins claimed Egypt
  • Lafayette Gardens repped Jamaica
  • Sumner played as the Dominican Republican
  • Jackie Robinson spoke for Trinidad and Tobago

Aided by a colorful world map, volunteers and staff from each site presented brief lessons on their countries. The students were encouraged to contribute their own research findings and knowledge to the conversation.

davis-cup-world-map

davis-cup-world-map

Newly enlightened by geographical and historical facts, the students took to eight mini tennis courts for double matches with their international opponents.

The first pair to reach 12 points was declared the winner of the match. But the losing team's effort did not go to waste; their points contributed to their country's total score. So, for example, if Jamaica defeated Egypt 12 to 8, Egypt's 8 points were included in Egypt's final count. At the end of the tournament, all points were tallied to determine the Davis Cup's winning country.

davis-cup-winners

davis-cup-winners

After several rounds of close matches filled with vigorous effort, sharp groundstrokes, and good sportsmanship, we gathered for the announcement of the winning team.

Ultimately, Marcy (Italy) was named victorious in the 2015 Davis Cup, but, quite impressively, Jackie Robinson (Trinidad and Tobago)--KCTL's newest team--came in second by only five points. We're proud of all players for their dedication, for keeping their cool on the court, and for having fun. Winning students earned pins, new grips, and the right to brag until the Jamboree!

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Week 8 Recap from Marcy: Family Day!

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Week 8 Recap from Marcy: Family Day!

This past Saturday marked one of the season's most special days: Family Day! Held at each KCTL site, this is a day when students can invite any relative to class--parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins--to participate in family-based games and activities. The objective of Family Day is to create a friendly, non-competitive environment for our students and their families to be active together. Marcy certainly had a blast during this especially awesome class.

Marcy-Family-Day

Marcy-Family-Day

We were pleased to have about 30 children and their family members with us on the tennis courts at Marcy. Everyone remained upbeat and energized thanks to the music blasting from the boombox! Several kids were already out in full force by 12:30 because they were so excited for the class.

After stretching and warming up, we played two popular group games: Drop the Racquet and Centipede. Then we broke out into stations for some additional games.

The Obstacle Course station had an added twist this week; students had to navigate through the course holding a ball on their racquets. Brave kids were encouraged to try it on one leg!

At a Serving station, students and family members practiced serving the ball to each other. This was Marcy's first introduction to serves this season.

A lot of students really impressed us at the Targets Station, where they practiced forehands and backhands. Some of the younger, newer children are making tremendous strides in their groundstrokes.

We noticed similar progress at the Mini Tennis station, where the kids worked on rallying with one another and keeping the ball in the court.

On the big court, students and family members played a game called Balance and Flick the Ball, in which teams pair up, stand three feet apart, and try to flick the ball to each other without letting the racquet drop to the ground.

Gary led the off-court discussion on preparation for Davis Cup, scheduled for August 1! Davis Cup is a doubles tournament among all five KCTL sites. Since each site will represent a different country, the day combines competitive play with a lesson in geography. Marcy selected Italy during their off-court session with Gary.

We wrapped up with a giant game of Breakout, in which the kids were really pumped to show their family members what they've learned so far this season. Thank you to all parents and relatives who came out to support the kids at Family Day!

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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.

season-opener-five-teams-2015

season-opener-five-teams-2015

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KCTL 2014 Highlights!

We're commemorating another inspirational season of youth mentoring through tennis. View our favorite moments from 2014 in the slideshow below.

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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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Class Recap: Week 15

Can you believe we're headed towards the end of the season already? July and August have just flown by! This past Saturday, things went back to our regularly scheduled programming after an amazing intra-league Davis Cup tournament last week.

Marcy played a lot of games and match play, and broke into serves. Lafayette Gardens had a 2:1 student to volunteer ratio, as did Sumner. A perfect opportunity for the volunteers to work with the students on the fundamentals. Tompkins Houses had Family Day, so there wasn't too much tennis happening there. Overall a really nice day.

This coming Saturday, we have one of our big events of the season: Arthur Ashe Kids Day. AAKD is an opportunity for parents and kids to experience tennis together on the main stage. Kids will go on the courts to play with the pros and participate in fun games. They will also get to watch the top pros practice. Buses leave at 9:00AM, we get back at 4:30PM.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who support KCTL during our annual fundraiser. It was a spectacular evening and we hope to have photos soon!

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Davis Cup on Saturday

Reminder to parents and players: KCTL will be holding it's second intraleague Davis Cup of the season this Saturday, August 10! Meet at your site at 1pm and your site leader will walk everyone over to Marcy Playground. The Davis Cup is a men's tennis tournament where players compete for their country (similar to the Olympics.) The women's tennis tournament is called the Federation (Fed) Cup.

Read about our first Davis Cup held earlier this season: ‘Global’ Tennis Tournament Teaches Bed-Stuy Kids Backhands and Borders and view photos from it on Facebook.

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KCTL in the Press & No Class on Saturday, July 6th!

Reminder no class this Saturday due to the July 4th holiday!

DNAinfo.com covered our Davis Cup event last Saturday! Read the article, 'Global' Tennis Tournament Teaches Bed-Stuy Kids Backhands and Borders.

"Kids from The Marcy, Tompkins, Sumner and Lafayette Gardens houses broke into teams representing Russia, Japan, France and Spain and hit the courts, learning facts about their respective countries along the way.

"We try to use tennis as a way to get kids out there - get the kids active, get the kids thinking," said league founder Michael McCasland. "Tennis is the instrument to teach life skills."

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KCTL Davis Cup Recap

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KCTL Davis Cup Recap

Last Saturday, we had a very special class as we put on our first ever, intraleague Davis Cup. All four teams gathered at Marcy site to play in a global competition. We let all the kids warm up and then had a brief introduction explaining what the Davis Cup is (a global competition where tennis players play as teams for their country to score points and win the tournament.) We pulled out a map to show the kids the different countries we had chosen for the site. Marcy and Lafayette Gardens were Japan and Russia, and Tompkins and Sumner were France and Spain.

We broke the kids up into different age brackets: 10 and over, 9 and under. Marcy played the defender since they were hosting the event at "their house" and didn't compete for points. The other teams took turns getting on to the court as the challenger in King-of-the-Court style play. France took home the win for the 10 and over bracket and Russia took home the win for 9 and under kids.

It's always a great day when we bring all the kids together and watch them compete and have fun playing tennis, so really, everyone was a winner on Saturday. We're hoping to have another intraleague game day this season in August. We think these in-class events prepare the kids for the end-of-season tournament, the ups and downs of winning and losing, and the need for perseverance and practice.

View more photos of our special KCTL Davis Cup on the KCTL Facebook page! (Don't forget to "Like" us, while you're there.) Huge thanks to Sam Hasan for the photos!

KCTL Davis Cup - Sam Hasan - 2013

KCTL Davis Cup - Sam Hasan - 2013

KCTL Davis Cup - Sam Hasan - 2013

KCTL Davis Cup - Sam Hasan - 2013

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Class Recap: Forehands & Backhands

Last Saturday was so much fun. We worked on forehands and backhands, progressing towards rallying in preparation for this week's Davis Cup competition between all four sites. Lafayette Gardens came out in full force, with 6 volunteers and 20 students. Marcy even started working on serves!

This coming Saturday, we'll be holding an intra-league Davis Cup at Marcy site! Stop by and see how the kids are progressing!

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Are You Ready? Season Opener on Saturday

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Are You Ready? Season Opener on Saturday

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I can't believe it's already here, but KCTL's 4th Seasons kicks off on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at all four locations: Marcy, Tompkins, Lafayette Gardens and Sumner Houses. We'll be keeping an eye on the weather all week, but so far the forecast is sunny and mid 60s. A perfect day for tennis. 2013_seasonstarter

Students: If you haven't registered yet, sign-up with your Resident Association office ASAP.

Volunteers: Meet at your respective sites at 12:30pm. If you're new or are unsure about which site to report to, head over to Marcy site (at Marcy Playground) and we'll get you to the right place.

Learn a bit about our awesome site leaders on the individual team pages: Maayan at Marcy, Bobby at Tompkins, Duayne at Lafayette Gardens and Dimitri at Sumner.

Check out a photo from Saturday's Volunteer Training: Part II. View more photos from training on the KCTL Facebook page.

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