Each year, Steve Kaplan and the Bethpage Park Tennis & Education Center host a free clinic that brings together high school and middle school coaches from the Long Island and New York communities.
This year, two more clinics were added to the event, which took place just days before the New York Tennis Expo and start of the New York Open, featuring Nick Bollettieri and IMG Academy.
Kaplan’s charitable organization, Serve & Return, held a clinic as part of its girls’ empowerment program, “Sky’s the Limit Tennis”, with Bollettieri leading the instruction of this clinic. Following that, a free clinic was conducted by Bollettieri, IMG Academy and Bethpage Park for both boys and girls, with young players filling Bethpage Park’s indoor courts with different stations of tennis drills and games.
To cap off the night, Kaplan spoke to the middle school and high school coaches about the importance of high school tennis, both for the players themselves and also the industry as a whole, and discussed teaching strategies the coaches can use to help their players and build team participation.
“High School Tennis encourages teamwork and cooperation, and builds socialization and time management skills,” said Kaplan, who has been at the forefront of stressing the immense positive influences high school tennis has. “Tennis can be a highly individual sport and high school tennis team participation is invaluable to learning skills that transition well to college.”
The clinics are at the heart of Kaplan’s push to bridge the gap between the tennis industry and the local high schools.
“The tennis industry needs to work together with school coaches to build a strong and positive relationship,” Kaplan added. “And with the help of IMG Academy and Nick Bollettieri, clinics such as mine help grow the quality of the school tennis experience.”