The Hippo


Oct 22, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Tennis time

Where: County Road Courts, 20 County Road, Bedford
When: June 27 to Aug. 4; practices held Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon; matches held on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (meeting times dependent on skill level)
Cost: $175 registration for entire summer (includes USTA membership). Registrations will be accepted through July 1.

Summer serves
Granite State Kids tennis league readies for season

By Matt Ingersoll

 The Granite State Kids junior tennis league is getting ready to serve up its summer program. It starts June 27 and runs through Aug. 4 and is for ages 5 to 18. 

GSK founder and treasurer Diane Phelps says it’s a perfect outdoor activity for kids interested in learning how to play competitive tennis.
“It really is a grassroots tennis effort,” said Phelps, who founded the program in 2002. “It gives kids an opportunity to play matches in a structural environment, and we do teach them how to play through practice sessions. It also potentially gives them a lot of experience so that when they get to high school, they can play on successful high school teams in the area.”
Phelps initially founded Granite State Kids when she realized her daughter, who was 8 at the time, couldn’t really expand her playing time beyond private lessons.
“She was showing promise, but there was no opportunity for her to play a match,” Phelps said. “She just did lesson after lesson.”
Phelps said the program started with just two teams but has since grown to 14 or 15 teams that compete, depending on how many people register each year.
“We have a New Hampshire state tournament at the end of each season in August, with 18 kids that advance on to sectional competition that’s usually played down in Connecticut,” Phelps said, adding that the season also culminates with a tennis carnival and celebration, to be held on Aug. 3 this year.
Junior tennis players from all across the Granite State have participated in the program throughout the years, Phelps said.
“We’ve had kids all over southern New Hampshire, from New London to Nashua and Windham, to the Seacoast, and even up into the Lakes Region,” she said. 
Phelps added that the program has also provided seasonal job opportunities each summer.
“We’re able to hire for about 12 to 14 jobs each year, and anybody I hire has played through the program in the past,” she said.
For this year, Phelps said the league is looking to put together an “introduction to tennis” program prior to the start of the sessions, as well as a possible fall program once the summer programs end.
“It definitely does depend on the overall popularity of tennis,” she said. “But for some, it really has worked out so well. We had a child who started when she was 8 years old. Now she’s 22, working for Universal Studios down in Orlando and playing tennis down there as well. She had a lot of success having tennis in her life, and it’s proven to give her a self-confidence that was a benefit beyond belief.”
Players meet for practices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, depending on their skill level, and matches are held every Thursday. Kids ages 10 and under meet from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Players ages 11 to 18 at the recreation level meet from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Players under the age of 14 but at intermediate or advanced levels play from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and teens between the ages of 14 and 18 at those levels play from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Registrations are accepted online at The total cost for the program is $175 for the whole summer, which includes a membership in the United States Tennis Association, of which Phelps is a New Hampshire board member. 

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