South County Community Tennis Association: S. County News

Wednesday, August 10
South County 18's Jr. Team Tennis Coach Alex Chavez

PAWTUCKET, RI - Alex Chavez got hooked on Jr. Team Tennis as a player, and it looks like he's going to be a lifer.

Chavez, 23, coached the South County CTA 18s to an appearance at the Rhode Island Jr. Team Tennis State Championships at Slater Memorial Park.

Chavez has already been coaching for four years.

"I was doing some coaching at some of our town programs after high school, and Sandy Sweet (USTA Rhode Island) asked if I'd be interested in coaching JTT," said Chavez, who attends Johnson and Wales. "I jumped at the chance and we have a lot fun. Being young, I think I can relate pretty well to the kids. I don't think my age has ever been a negative."

alexchavez

Alex Chavez

 

Chavez's JTT teams have been competitive each year, and the coach is used to being part of a winning tennis program.

Chavez played tennis at South Kingstown High School and was part of four state championships teams.

The team has won 13 straight state titles, including the 2011 championship.

"I learned a lot from my high school coach, Andy Carr," Chavez said. "I have a lot of kids from the South Kingstown team on the JTT team, so it's nice that I have some relationship with them already."

When the 18 Advanced group took to the courts on Tuesday afternoon, Chavez acknowledged the fact that as the popularity of Jr. Team Tennis has risen, so too has the amount of skilled and experienced high school players who take part.

"Right now, there's at least 10 high school all-staters out there," said Chavez, as he surveyed each match, pointing out the incredible level of talent playing simultaneously.

Two of those talented players are teammates on the Hall of Fame squad.

Dan Hansen just wrapped up his high school career at North Kingstown, where he finished second in the state individual tournament to freshman phenom Matt Kuhar of Smithfield High School, who is also on the Hall of Fame JTT team.

"I've been playing JTT since I was 14, and I play because the team aspect is a lot of fun and the competition, especially as you advance, is really good," said Hansen, who will play tennis at Drexel University in the fall. "The experience of going to Nationals is just awesome, so the chance to get there again, I think, is a big reason kids want to play JTT."

Hansen has been part of teams that went to two USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, as has teammate Stathi Kyrikides.

"JTT is a little bit different than playing in individual tournaments because being part of the team takes a little pressure away," said Kyrikides, who plays No. 1 singles at St. George's in Middletown.

Kyrikides, a fine all-around athlete who is also on his school's cross-country team, began playing when his mom signed him up for lessons when he was 10.

"One of the best parts of JTT is getting to go to events like this and meet new people and hang out with them," Kyrikides said.

The Hall of Fame team captured the Rhode Island championship and will have a chance to make another trip to Nationals should it keep its winning ways going at next week USTA New England Jr. Team Tennis Section Championships in Hartford.

They'll be joined in Hartford by Providence, which captured the title in the 14s.



Buying Guide for Children's Racquet

     The main feature that should be considered when choosing a junior racket is the length of the racket. 

     Research has determined that it is better to fit a racket to a child based on his or her height, rather than according to the age of the child.




Height 

Racket

Up to 4'-(120 cm)

21"

4'- 4'5"  (120-137 cm)

23"

4'5"-5' (137-152 cm)

25" or 26"

Above 5'

Adult



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You just want to look and feel fit, and work up a sweat while you’re at it. The treadmill? Too boring. Lifting weights? Ditto. Golf? Riding around in a cart and tapping a little ball into a hole is the quickest way to get OUT of shape. What sport will give your body and mind a workout while letting you enjoy the excitement of head-to head competition, all in the time that it takes to watch the first half of a football game?

There’s only one, and that’s tennis.











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