Tennis programs for kids in NYC
Have a ball with your team at courts around the city.
Sun Aug 24 2008
Since Gotham hosts the U.S. Open each summer, city babes are introduced to tennis—and the sport's great athletes—from an early age. If your youngsters were inspired and want in on the action, we've got you covered. Give them an introduction to the game at one of the many local centers where amateurs of all skill levels can perfect their serves and smashes.
Alley Pond Tennis Center
Outdoor season (late Apr--mid-Oct): Tue--Fri 9am--8pm. Indoor season (mid-Oct--late Apr): daily 6am--midnight. 79-20 Winchester Blvd near Union Tpke, Douglaston, Queens (718-264-2600, alleypondtenniscenter.com). Subway: E, F to Kew Gardens--Union Tpke. Prices vary depending on length of session; check website for details.
Owned by Hemel Meghani Cosme, a world-ranked player in the 1970s, Alley Pond Tennis Club features the largest indoor bubble in North America. Kids ages 3 to 16 are placed in groups based on age and skill level, with heavy emphasis put on learning the basics and perfecting individual strengths. The club offers cool perks for young players: free walk-in court time on any of the 11 courts, regular video analysis and a customized progress report for each student. Friday night match-play brings together young tennis fanatics; if they hit it off, they've got partners for more practice and play.
Bridgeview Racquet and Fitness Center
Daily 7am--midnight. 9000 Bay Pkwy, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (718-372-6878, bridgeviewtennis.com). Subway: D, M to Bay Pkwy. Prices vary depending on length of session; check website for details.
With more than 400 kids enrolled in classes at its eight indoor hard courts, Bridgeview is one of the city's most popular youth centers. This year, its program for children ages four to six will return to the use of lower, kid-friendly nets. Bridgeview also has a footwork specialist to help players focus on proper court movement and foot speed. Youngsters ages 6 and up are placed in beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate advanced or tournament training classes. Weekend match-play sessions give kids an opportunity to socialize while playing with someone of similar ability. Not willing to dole out that much cash or time? Children can play casually free of charge on Sundays from 6 to 8am starting in November.
New York Junior Tennis League
Sat, Sun through March (347-417-8126, nyjtl.org). See website for hours and locations. Free.
NYJTL's Early Morning Winter Tennis program offers a weekend option during the cold season—and the best part is, it's completely free. With locations in each borough, you can find a spot that works for your player without having to trek to a faraway court. The sessions cater to kids ages six and up, and work on technique while still giving youngsters plenty of opportunity for free play. The program runs from November through March but there's no registration deadline, so families can join in at any point during the season. If your tot gets hooked, the league offers Aces Clubs after-school programs, including instruction and match play, as well.
Prospect Park Tennis Center
50 Parkside Ave at Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn (718-436-2500, prospectpark.org/tennis). Subway: F to Fort Hamilton Pkwy, Q to Parkside Ave. Sept 12--Oct 8: four-week Pee-Wee program (ages 5--6): $100 for four sessions; Junior Development program (all ages): $140--$260 for four sessions, depending on length of class selected. Beginning Oct 30: Special Aces program: $84 for seven sessions. Tryout times for Junior Development program Sept 7, 8, 9 3--6pm; Sept 10 noon--4pm.
Aspiring tennis titans will learn the basics of the sport in the Pee-Wee and Junior Development programs, which focus on the sport's fundamentals. Special-needs kids can take to the court in the Special Aces program, which boasts a team of professionals trained to help your child gain confidence with a racket. Instructors will focus on skills such as hand-eye coordination, physical strength and attention span. In addition, Top End Transformer All Sport wheelchairs help athletes with specific challenges. Scholarships are available to select participants.
Sportime Randall's Island
Daily 6:30am--11pm. 1 Randall's Island (212-427-6150, sportimetfm.com). Travel: 4, 5, 6 to 125th St, then take the M35 bus to Randalls Island. Prices vary depending on length of session; check website for details.
Voted the 2010 tennis facility of the year, Sportime's $19 million complex is the place for kids to gain a love for the game. Now in its second year, the Randall's Island facility boasts 20 courts, making it one of the largest indoor tennis clubs in NYC, and offers summer and after-school classes for kids. The hour-long QuickStart Tennis classes (for three- to six-year-olds) introduce the basics of tennis in a rotating, stationlike atmosphere where kids take part in different games and activities on every court. The two-hour Junior Tennis Kinetics program focuses more on technique; students hit hundreds of balls each week and participate in drills and games—like relay races and "King/Queen of the Court"—to prepare them for match play. (Both are offered during the school year, after school and on weekends.) If your child shows serious promise, the John McEnroe Tennis Academy can get them primed for the big-time. Pick-up and drop-off service in every borough is available for an extra charge.
Sutton East Tennis Club
Daily 7am--11pm. 488 E 60th St at Sutton Pl (212-751-3452, suttoneasttennis.com). Subway: N, R to 59th St--Lexington Ave; 4, 5, 6 to 59th St. Prices vary depending on length of session; inquire via the club's website for details. Opens for indoor season Sept 14.
Located near the Manhattan terminus of the 59th Street Bridge, Sutton East Tennis Club offers eight clay courts (which are easier on growing joints than asphalt or cement) and instruction that's modified for every age and skill level. Pee Wee Tennis (for ages 3 to 6) provides free rackets and emphasizes a more laid-back approach to learning, with games designed to improve hand-eye coordination and basic tennis movements. As your children progress, they'll make the transition to the Pre-Junior Development Program (ages 6 to 8), which offers larger nets and court space for training. The Junior Development Program (ages 8 and up) refines basic skills while introducing kids to game-play in groups that are age- and level-appropriate. Many of the center's instructors have competed internationally, and their world-class coaching will have their students blasting backhands in no time.
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Daily 6am--midnight. Meridian Rd at Grand Central Pkwy, Flushing Meadows--Corona Park, Queens (718-760-6200, usta.com). Subway: 7 to Willets Point--Shea Stadium. Prices vary depending on length of session; call for details. Center is closed during US Open.
This center doesn't just host the US Open; it's fully operational year-round with 19 outdoor and 12 indoor courts. Camps are offered year-round, or children can grab a few of their friends and take advantage of inexpensive group lessons. They'll learn the basics in small classes, and their parents can then choose what the little ones should focus on during lessons.
West Side Tennis Club
1 Tennis Pl near Dartmouth St, Forest Hills, Queens (718-268-2300, foresthillstennis.com). Subway: E, F, V, G, R to Forest Hills--71st Ave. Sept 11--Oct 8: four-week course $150 for one 60-minute session per week, $220 for one 90-minute session per week. Fourteen-week fall and winter sessions (beginning Oct 9 and Jan 21) $700 for one 60-minute session per week; $980 for one 90-minute session per week. Spring and summer series are available as well; visit the website or call for pricing details.
This tennis oasis offers a range of options. The club's Excel program for tykes ages four and up is offered in 60- and 90-minute sessions. Youngsters will receive plenty of individualized attention, as the club maintains a maximum 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Elite Tournament Training classes test the abilities of more advanced players as they compete in local, regional and national USTA tournaments. Seasonal and year-round offerings are available.