Some of the most talented young tennis players in Southern California recently enjoyed a visit to Westwood and L.A. Tennis Center on the campus of UCLA, where they got a first-hand look at one of the finest college teams in the country.
As part of the USTA Competition Training Center (CTC) program – an elite team training and competition for youngsters ages 10-13, comprised of six SoCal regional teams – two squads from Central Coast and Orange County competed against each other on UCLA courts. Following their games, both teams enjoyed a Meet & Greet with Bruin players before settling in to experience a showdown between top-ranked Men’s UCLA Bruins and the California Golden Bears.
Yet while the on-court competition was engaging, these young boys and girls gained valuable experience when meeting with coaches and players from UCLA. Head coach Billy Martin talked to the youngsters about maintaining school grades and working towards a college experience, before the CTC players found themselves hitting live ball and drills with Bruin players.
“That’s the best part of the program, to be honest with you,” says Hank Lloyd of Costa Mesa Tennis Center, who leads the Orange County CTC squad. “The players are great. They just grab a kid to go out and hit. Imagine going out on the court with Martin Redlicki (UCLA’s top singles player) to hit live ball. That’s interaction you can’t buy.”
Other college programs, including Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, have also welcomed CTC players to experience college tennis.
“All the Bruin players were having as much fun as the kids were during the hitting sessions,” says Mark McCampbell, who heads up the Central Coast team. “(The kids) enjoyed rooting for the Bruins… and truly enjoyed hitting with the team.”
The collegiate players themselves are no strangers to CTC tennis, as many of them (including UCLA associate head coach Grant Chen) have emerged from CTC teams. Pro names like Steve Johnson and Taylor Dent have also been part of the CTC program.
To learn more about Competition Training Center in Southern California, please contact Megan Heneghan at firstname.lastname@example.org.