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USTA Georgia
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Amanda Boudreau - Seeing the Big Picture
By Rick Limpert, Special to USTA Georgia

 

Organizing and promoting USTA School Tennis throughout the state of Georgia, USTA Georgia's Amanda Boudreau always gets a thrill in seeing a tennis racquet in a child's hand for the first time, but it's really about overcoming challenges and making sure tennis is one viable option for children during physical education class in their elementary schools.

"I'm always working with PE teachers," explains Boudreau, who is USTA Georgia's Director of School Tennis. "But when the pandemic hit, it affected my job working with educators as schools went virtual. We were trying to figure out how to help our teachers. It now was about sharing "Tennis at Home." Seeing it's possible to do tennis lessons at home and come up with ways to help teachers not knowing what schools are going to look like."

A unique set of challenges, but not a problem for someone with tried and true organizational skills and a varied sports background like Boudreau can't handle.

"Tennis kind of found me," admits the Smyrna, Ga. resident. "I'm not the typical USTA employee."

Boudreau thinks that works to her benefit. She took a tennis class in college at Kennesaw State University after playing softball at Pope High School in the sports hotbed that is Marietta.

Majoring in Sports Management with concentration in Marketing she interned with USTA Southern. Boudreau said this was great exposure to tennis and seeing everything the USTA does to promote the sport of tennis.

"Most people don't know anything about the number of programs offered (by the USTA).  I was impressed and I wanted to work for this organization."us_open

An opportunity presented itself as a position was opening up at USTA Georgia. The position was for an administrative assistant, but Boudreau had the good sense to want to stay in this organization.

Following her position as an administrative assistant, Boudreau had a stint at USTA Florida before coming back to USTA Georgia.  It was then that she saw the passion tennis players have for their sport.

"Tennis players are so passionate. When I played softball, I saw sports as very team oriented, but the commitment tournament tennis players and their parents have to the sport is incredible. At all levels, tennis is an "event" in Georgia. For example in league play, players show up, but stay for food and drinks and to support their teammates."

Competitive tennis is one thing, but Boudreau says tennis as part of a community outreach is what gets her excited.

"We all know about the US Open and USTA League Tennis, but there are a wealth of other programs available to USTA members. The schools program and NJTL is a wonderful program for kids to do after school or in their own neighborhoods."

Boudreau says it warms her heart to think back on how many kids her USTA programs have had an impact on, in a positive way.

One young student in particular brings a big smile to Boudreau's face.

"I remember when we ran an afterschool program in Smyrna. There was a little boy in the program, maybe with social issues. His mother signed him up, and he not only picked up the sport, but overcame his social issues while enjoying and playing tennis. I received an email from his mother about how excited he was to be in theTeasley_Tennis_Club_(1).docx program. He is now taking lessons from a local pro and developing tennis relationships."

While Boudreau spends a lot of time "on the courts" running her programs, she laughs, it isn't doing wonders for her game.

"I do get out and hit with my husband, Ryan, who was a member of a state champion high school tennis team at Etowah High School. But most of the time, I'm with kids using junior racquets and low compression balls."

Tennis has become a family affair in the Boudreau household. 18-month old Grayson Boudreau is now seen frequently walking around the house with a racquet and balls. 

In closing, Boudreau offered some advice to parents looking to get their kids involved in tennis and other youth sports.

"Remember you are the parents! It's ok to be encouraging, but don't push your kids. Love the game and what it offers to the entire family. Always give kids a choice."

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Poll of the Week

Last week's rules answer was a doubles team switches receiving order in middle of set (you don't correct that immediately). Will Rafael Nadal win his 13th French Open Men's Singles title?

Yes, he is the "King of Clay" and will emerge victorious
No, this is the year that someone defeats him in Paris

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