Palmetto State Racket

Month: January, 2014

Growing Tennis from 600 Miles Away

by danielstetson

USTA Middle States Blog

If April Gift had it her way, she’d never need to talk about Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) again. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because she hopes one day she won’t have to.

In her eyes, the program is so strong that it should simply market itself.

“Any parents or kids that experience the program always seem to get hooked,” she said. “Once people know about it and get into it, they’re on board, and it stays that way.”

For now, even 600 miles away from the Section border, Gift is still focused on getting more people hooked on Jr. Team Tennis in Middle States.

For the past six years, Gift has been one of Middle States’ most dedicated Jr. Team Tennis League Coordinators. Living in central Pa., she helped grow leagues drastically in her area and beyond as she was always willing to share best practices, league info…

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Cam Littlejohn: Lawyer, Tennis Player, Now USTA SC Board President

by Jonathon Braden


USTA South Carolina President Cam Littlejohn (right) presents Bob Keivit with his award for USTA Southern Mac MacDougal Tennis Official of the Year.

For almost 20 years, Cam Littlejohn advised the leaders of the USTA South Carolina Board of Directors on various legal issues. For the next two years, though, it’s Littlejohn who will do the leading.

Last month, Littlejohn began his two-year term as president of the USTA SC Board of Directors. He succeeded Al Marshall, who was board president the past two years and will remain on the board as immediate past president.

Littlejohn, 63, said he wants to improve ongoing initiatives to grow tennis in South Carolina, especially in recruiting and retaining USTA members. He also wants to use his new position to improve his backhand, a stalled effort to date. Read the rest of this entry »

The Three Keys To Staying in a Relationship While Playing Tennis With Your Partner

by Jonathon Braden


For some couples, tennis can be a lifelong love. For others, not so much.

You’re in a relationship. You already spend much of your life with your significant other. Because it’s a regular relationship on Earth, you sometimes get mad at each other.

Surely the way to strengthen your relationship in 2014 is not to spend more potentially stressful time with your partner, competing against other couples in one of the hardest sports in the world.

But three longtime tennis-playing, spouse-loving South Carolina couples would suggest exactly that. Play mixed doubles — men and women playing tennis  and watch your relationship flourish. Yeah, you’ll disagree with your doubles and life partner, and you’ll want to serve the ball into the back of your partner’s noggin. Read the rest of this entry »

From Bake Sales to Road Trips, Charleston Woman Did Everything For Tennis On Campus

by Jonathon Braden

Tennis on Campus

Christian and her teammates at the Tennis on Campus State Championships

In the name of club tennis, she waited outside dorms in the early morning hours, armed with red velvet cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies.

She and her College of Charleston tennis club members lifted a boombox that blared “Party in the U.S.A.”, and held signs that explained their wee-hour salesmanship, “CC Club Tennis” and “Going To Nationals.”

The College of Charleston club tennis team held “late-night bake sales” for years to raise money, and Kyle Ann Christian led the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Butch Staples Interview

by Jonathon Braden

USTA South Carolina introduces the podcast of the Palmetto State Racket, the official blog of USTA SC. For our debut episode, we talk with Butch Staples, a USTA master trainer. Staples talks about his unique path to tennis, the key to getting kids interested in tennis and what it was like growing up with 15 brothers and sisters in Québec.


For Quality Tennis, Watch Those In Golden Years

by Jonathon Braden


Del Collings (third from left) with her team at the 2013 USTA SC 65 & Over League State Championships in Aiken, SC.

AIKEN, S.C. — Should your faith in tennis ever waver, watch people with gray hair and worn joints play the game – people in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

With the veteran players, opponents understand match delays. A doubles team will patiently wait during a state championship match while an opposing player sits and tries to comprehend what caused him to fall. Veteran players treat the little delays the same way – with patience.

In senior tennis, poor play is also excusable; teammates shrug off apologies. And during changeovers, instead of seeing glares, you see high-fives, the sound of tennis being treated as a game. Read the rest of this entry »