“Education will always be our main focus,” says Dick Zausner, President of the Port Washington Tennis Academy.
“Some tennis schools are looking for the next big name, but they fail 99 percent of the time. I’m looking to help all my students get a college education, so I succeed 99 percent of the time.”
The Junior Development Program at the Port Washington Tennis Academy consists of nine levels for players from 6-18 years of age. There is also a special Trailblazers program for 4-7 year old just starting in the game.
We like to start working with children when they are physically and mentally ready, usually somewhere between their fourth and eighth birthday. We teach tennis as well as good sportsmanship, honesty, self-control, and the ability to handle disappointments, all of which prepare our students for their future life.
Two sessions run from September-February and February-June.
The PWTA is a non-profit, charitable institution. Tuition is charged for those parents who can afford to pay. For children whose parents cannot afford to pay, a scholarship program is available to enable them to join the program.
Contributions by friends of the Academy and members of the founding family help the Port Washington Tennis Academy to continue to pursue charitable opportunities which are identified as beneficial to children.
Juniors Are No. 1
The PWTA is the only facility where juniors take precedence over adults. Junior programs are after school and on weekends and adults can only use the courts when juniors are not. Juniors are our most important asset.
Channeling A Child’s Energy
An important aspect of our tennis teaching program is the underlying idea:
“If we can hook kids on tennis, they will not get hooked on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.”
The theory works! By sparking children’s interest in, and motivating them to like the game, they want to perform with their peers at the highest possible level. By their own choice, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are not a part of their lives.
“Making” of a Champion
Some people think that the main thrust of the PWTA is to make champions. It is not. Our aim is to provide a healthy environment and provide an activity which they can enjoy participating in for the rest of their lives. Tennis can increase their success scholastically, professionally, and emotionally.
The Academy has had a great many quality young people graduate from its program, including a number of professional champions. Our program and method of teaching helped them and gave them the opportunity to develop their “championship potential,” but we did not “make” them champions.
Classes are limited to four in a group so players receive individualized attention. In addition to the on-court professionals, “supervisors” constantly observe the action on each court. Based on these observations, we change the composition of each group of players, at each level, when appropriate.
The “mixing” of players is based on each player’s strengths and weaknesses, to achieve a homogeneous group of players. This enables each player to achieve optimum performance and development. When a child shows a consistent inability to master a skill, he or she is given some extra attention to help correct that problem.
Most of our levels include ladder matches and extensive practice time.
When students reach their junior year in high school, we begin to counsel those who desire help in deciding which college is right for them. If they want to play on a college tennis team, we help them get into the best possible college where they can expect to make the team and actively play.
Our advice considers the student’s ability level, as compared to the team level of play at the college they are considering. If a student’s parents can’t afford college, we are often successful in arranging for a full or partial scholarship.
Outside competition is provided for the students. In-house tournaments are run for training purposes only. They enable Academy students to develop their tennis skills under various circumstances and pressures; it allows them exposure to different playing styles and enables students to be better prepared when they play in open competition.
No child is forced into a competitive situation. We know that competitive pressures can be harmful to some children. Tournament play is strictly optional.
Free Food & Beverages
You will notice the conspicuous absence of coin-vending machines at the Academy. We believe every parent and child who enters the Academy should feel equal to his peers. If a parent is experiencing financial difficulty, it will not impact a child at our facility. In an effort to make everyone feel equal and welcome, food and beverages are available free to everyone playing at the academy, as well as visitors.
For more information on junior development at the Port Washington Tennis Academy, please call 516-883-6425.
Archives of Junior Tournaments at the Port Washington Tennis Academy