Tennis Tuesday is a content series curated by the New York Empire that will feature some of the game’s greats and New York’s finest tennis coaches, administrators, and fans. This week, we chat with Jackie Clark, who’s been involved in many aspects of growing the game of tennis in the New York metropolitan area, including coaching, playing, and serving on the boards of USTA Eastern’s Metro Region and USPTA Eastern.
1. You’re heavily involved in many aspects of tennis in the New York metro area. Can you tell us about some of your experience playing and coaching tennis?
I served two terms as the USTA Eastern Metro Region President. It was a wonderful opportunity to help grow and support tennis in NYC. During that time, my Metro Board and I worked very hard to rebuild the Metro Junior Team Tennis League, we started the NYC ACES young professionals group to engage young adults of all different tennis abilities to play tennis at very reasonable fees and hosted many tennis socials, we created a wonderful volunteer network made up of very passionate tennis players and enthusiasts and started a junior volunteer committee for high school students who loved tennis and wanted to give back. I spent a lot of time helping out at JTT and other events and had the opportunity to get to know many amazing tennis enthusiasts from all over the NYC area.
2. You’re now on the board of USPTA Eastern. Tell us about what this organization does, and how you got involved.
I am very proud to be on the USPTA Eastern Board. The USPTA is the global leader in tennis teacher certification and professional development. As a USPTA Certified Professional I feel it is very important to continue to develop my teaching and coaching skills and the USPTA offers so many opportunities to continue to grow and develop. Since I am very involved in tennis in many facets I wanted to be more involved from a teaching and coaching standpoint and that is why I got involved with the USPTA.
3. You’re also a high school guidance counselor and tennis coach at Commack High School. What do you think is the most beneficial aspect of playing tennis for your student athletes?
As a high school counselor for over twenty years I have learned a lot about adolescents and people in general. It has been a very rewarding career and I love having the opportunity to help others achieve their goals. Having the opportunity to coach tennis is icing on the cake. I love sharing my passion for the sport with the athletes. Tennis benefits them physically and gets them moving and exercising. Tennis is just as important for them socially and emotionally. I believe playing tennis is an incredible outlet and is necessary for their mental health as well.
4. What other youth organizations to you help support through the game of tennis?
Over the years I have supported many local Community Tennis Associations and NJTLs. I love the work that all of these organizations do and they are truly the foundation of tennis. I also have directed a parks and recreation program on Long Island for almost twenty years. Parks programs also give kids and adults the opportunity to learn tennis and develop their skills for a very reasonable price. The more we can support our community and local programs; the more tennis will grow.
5. You’ve been to several World TeamTennis matches. What is your favorite aspect of WTT?
I have loved World Team Tennis since I was a little kid. I watched it on television growing up and went to my first WTT match in Amagansett to see the NY Sportimes years ago. I was hooked ever since. As a coach, I love the “team” aspect and the team spirit and camaraderie that goes along with it. It’s a very fun atmosphere and getting to see the professionals play in an intimate setting is really fantastic. I think it great for kids but really cool for adults as well. I am a big fan of the NY Empire!
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