Friday, June 12, 2009

BUTSA Establishing Grassroots Programs

Beach Tennis USA, the new sand sport that's being embraced by buffet-lines of boys and girls--from tennis players, to athletes, to beach bums looking to sculpt their bulgy stomach into a beach body--is starting to develop on the grassroots level.

With a national tour that navigates some of the country's scenic sand spots with pro/am action, developing traditional Beach Tennis breeding grounds is the next step in line.

Areas of Florida, South Carolina, and California, to name a few, have rapidly experienced beach tennis buildup.

Mike Edison, one of the top-5 ranked Beach Tennis players in the nation, has already established the sport in Tampa, Fla.

Edison, teammate Brett Johnson and a fellow by the name of Sean Craft have a summer series of tournaments and instructional clinics slated for the months of June, July, and August.

Craft's last name is no joke. This dude is crafty, as the dual threat is now a certified professional in both beach tennis and regular tennis.

His presence, coupled with that of Johnson and Edison--who's widely regarded as one of the world's elite Beach Tennis players--should certainly provide proficiency.

"The clinics are going to run every weekend," explained Edison, he of the sick mohawk and will to win.

"They're all going to take place at the Countryside Country Club in Tampa and Clearwater Beach."

With Edison's junior class, a school of young kids getting acclimated to a new sport with both rackets and paddles, much emphasis is placed on adapting to the basic rules.

"We want them to get the hang of the basic rules, the basic strategy of the game," said Edison, whose Team Rhino squad captured the championship of the Ft. Lauderdale Open.

"After that we'll get them out playing competitively. We want to develop leagues for each age groups and have a place where someone can play Beach Tennis at all times."

Edison and Johnson stamped a victory on Marty Salokas and Donny "The Silver Bullet" Young (who's not so young these days, actually!), 8-3, en route to hoisting the trophy.

Edison, who has lofty aspirations to put Beach Tennis on the national map, believes the grassroots program will pay immediate dividends.

"I think the best thing about this is we're going to have a bigger fanbase for Beach Tennis USA," Edison explained.

"It's great to have a better audience. It's also a fun alternative to playing regular tennis. People get washed up, sometimes they play in pain...It's just a good alternative altogether."