| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The Kings County Tennis League (KCTL), a non-profit organization that mentors New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing’s youth residents through tennis, has expanded its program to a new community of kids.

KCTL is comprised of tennis clubs—the parks, playgrounds or blacktop surfaces that frame their students’ homes—at which tennis balls zoom, racquets swing and high-fives fly each Saturday from May through September. This year, KCTL created a fifth tennis club, Jackie Robinson, to bring tennis to the children of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Brevoort Houses on the tennis courts of adjacent Jackie Robinson Park.

Team Jackie Robinson met tennis for the first time in late May for the KCTL’s site-wide season opener. Of the 15 students who attended the inaugural class at Jackie Robinson, all were rookies. To simplify their first day and to facilitate hands-on instruction, makeshift mini-tennis courts with portable nets were used in lieu of the park’s full-size, hard-surface tennis courts.

The students learned the basics of the sport: Terminology, racquet grips, ready position and footwork. They played games that reinforced agility and hand-eye coordination, like ball tossing/catching and relay races with balls balanced on their racquets. The class wrapped up with an introduction to volleys.

Team Jackie Robinson responded enthusiastically to the season opener’s friendly introduction to the sport. A strong first day laid the foundation for following weeks’ encouraging lessons in groundstrokes, serves, rallies and match play.

For more info about Jackie Robinson Tennis Club and KCTL’s other teams, visit www.kingscountytennisleague.org.