Little Mo Announces K-Swiss As Official Shoe & Clothing Sponsor

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation announces K-Swiss as the “Official Apparel” and “Official Footwear” of the “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” in addition to the “Little Mo” Internationals in California, New York and Florida.

“K-Swiss is proud and excited to be the Official Apparel and Footwear partner for the ‘Little Mo’ and to be involved with the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation,” remarked Mike Miringoff, Global Director of K-Swiss Tennis. “Little Mo is well-respected and important as it is the first entry point for kids into tournament tennis building a foundation for their future and the sport. At K-Swiss, we are known as a strong tennis brand that is passionate about the sport and our product reflects this with its high quality and performance. We look forward to participating in the Little Mo and meeting the players and parents!”

“The Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation is absolutely delighted to have K-Swiss as our Official Apparel and Footwear Sponsor for our ‘Road to the Little Mo Nationals’ yearlong circuit and for our three international tournaments,” said Cindy Brinker Simmons, daughter of “Little Mo” and President of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. “This stylish and iconic footwear company has been setting a standard of excellence in the tennis shoe and apparel industry for over 50 years. Just as our elite and talented young competitors are the future champions of tennis, our esteemed collaboration with K-Swiss continues to partner us with the best-in-class and most reputable sports brands in the world. We are just thrilled with our new relationship with K-Swiss!”

What does this mean for Little Mo players? According to Miringoff, starting at the end of April 2017, K-Swiss will be providing a player gift for each Little Mo Sectionals event. For the Regionals, Nationals, and Internationals K-Swiss will provide each player with a t-shirt. Also at the Regionals and Nationals K-Swiss will provide gifts to the Sportsmanship Award winners, most likely a pair of tennis shoes. An added bonus is that all Little Mo players will have the opportunity to buy K-Swiss clothing and shoes at a special discounted rate throughout the year.

Named in memory of tennis champion Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly, the “Little Mo” circuit of tournaments is the premier challenge for juniors ages 8-12 to compete against others who are the same age at the sectional, regional, national, and international level. The mission of the “Little Mo” tournaments is to further the development of junior tennis worldwide by providing players with an opportunity to: a) progress in tennis – a healthy sport for a lifetime; b) build strong values and character; c) learn good sportsmanship; and d) meet new friends from across the country and world. The youngest and brightest stars in junior tennis will be competing in the “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” and the “Little Mo” Internationals.

This year, MCB is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its “Road to the Little Mo Nationals”. It is a yearlong circuit that begins in the spring with “Little Mo” sectional tournaments held in 18 different cities throughout the United States. The quarterfinalists (top 8) from the sectional tournaments will advance to the four “Little Mo” regionals held in the summer. The semifinalists (top 4) from the regional tournaments will advance to the prestigious ‘Little Mo” Nationals, which features the top 160 boys and girls from across the United States competing at the Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas from October 14-17.

The “Little Mo” Internationals were created in 2006 to allow young juniors to see different styles of play from around the world. The three international tournaments include the 4th Annual “Little Mo” Internationals in California to be hosted by the Tennis Club at Newport Beach Tennis Club (June 30-July 4), the 6th Annual “Little Mo” Internationals in New York to be held at the historic West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills (August 21-26) and the 10th Annual “Little Mo” Internationals in Florida to be held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens (December 2-7), both of which are open to any player worldwide. Last year, 450 players from 50 different countries competed in the “Little Mo” Internationals in Florida. K-Swiss will have a presence at the “Little Mo” Sectionals, Regionals, Nationals, and Internationals where players and parents will be able to demo new K-Swiss apparel, footwear and other products.

For more information about the “Road to the Little Mo Nationals, please visit www.mcbtennis.org.
For more information about the “Little Mo” Internationals in California, please visit www.littlemosocal.com.
For more information about the “Little Mo” Internationals in New York, please visit www.littlemoforesthills.com.
For more information about the “Little Mo” Internationals in Florida, please visit www.littlemoflorida.com

If you have any questions, please email cartennis@aol.com.

ABOUT K-SWISS
K-Swiss is a heritage American tennis brand. During its 50-year history, the company has been making some of the most innovative, high quality, comfortable tennis footwear in the sport. K-Swiss is 100% invested in the sport of Tennis and committed to helping players play their very best and win at every level; from a competitive junior player or adult player, to the greatest doubles team of all-time, Mike and Bob Bryan.

ABOUT MCB
In 1953, Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly was the first woman to capture the elusive Grand Slam by winning the Australian Championships, the French Championships, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Championships in one calendar year. She is still the only American woman and the youngest person at age 18 to have accomplished this magnificent feat. Maureen was known as the incomparable “Little Mo.” Her powerful strokes were compared to the USS Missouri battleship nicknamed “Big Mo.” She won Wimbledon three years in a row (1952-54) and was voted “Woman Athlete of the Year” by the Associated Press for three consecutive years (1951-53). In July 1954, “Little Mo’s” brilliant tennis career abruptly ended with a leg injury suffered from a horseback riding accident. Her competitive days now behind her, Maureen focused on promoting her beloved sport and, in 1968, she joined her dear friend Nancy Jeffett to establish the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968. Her untimely death to cancer occurred on the eve of Wimbledon in 1969. She was 34 years of age.

The “Little Mo” tournaments are sponsored by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation in memory of its tennis champion namesake Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly. Known by her nickname “Little Mo”, she was the first woman to win the Grand Slam of tennis at only 18 years of age in 1953. Maureen Connolly is still the youngest and the only American woman to have accomplished this magnificent feat. Today, the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation continues to benefit talented boys and girls throughout the country and around the world. In its 49th year, the foundation is involved in a myriad of activities including, but not limited to, the “Little Mo” national and international tennis tournament circuit, the “Mini Mo,” (ages 5-8), the “Big Mo,” (ages 13 and 14), the National Junior Tennis League (inner-city youth program), wheelchair tennis, international team competitions, and distributing travel grants and sportsmanship awards to deserving players.

Registration Open for 2017 Little Mo Events

For those of you with younger players (12 and under), you should consider the Little Mo series of events. These tournaments are held across the country – and, now, across the globe – and have crowned champions such as Andy Roddick, Ryan Harrison, Vicki Duval, and CiCi Bellis. The following is from a release sent out by the Little Mo organizers. To register, please click here.

The “Little Mo” tournaments are designed to provide good competition while also encouraging players to develop new friendships, learn good sportsmanship, and most of all, have fun. The “Little Mo” is also unique in that it gives youngsters the opportunity to gauge their ability against players who are their same age (8’s play 8’s, 9’s play 9’s, et cetera).

We will be kicking off our 20th Annual “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” circuit in March. We have 18 sectionals planned around the USA in the spring, leading up to four regionals in the summer and culminating with the “Little Mo” Nationals at the end of September. We will also be offering three international tournaments (California, New York, and Florida) for players from the USA and worldwide.

The “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” is a fun, yearlong circuit of sectional, regional, and national tournaments for talented, high-performance players living in the United States. Yellow ball divisions will be offered for boys and girls ages 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 in addition to a green dot option for ages 8, 9, and 10 at the sectional level.

The top eight players (quarterfinalists) from each age division at each sectional will advance to the four “Little Mo” Regionals. Please note the top 8 players from the yellow ball and green dot divisions will advance to the “Little Mo” Regionals, but all green dot players will need to play with the yellow ball at the Regionals as there will be no green dot divisions. The top four players (semifinalists) from each age division at each regional will advance to the “Little Mo” Nationals held at the Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Texas from September 29 – October 2.

2017 Eligibility:
12s — born in 2005
11’s — born in 2006
10’s — born in 2007 
9’s — born in 2008                    
8’s — born in 2009 or 2010
Players can play in any “Little Mo” Sectionals they wish but must follow the path to the appropriate “Little Mo” Regionals:
  • North Regionals: 
    Midwest, Middle States, New England, Northern, and Eastern Sectionals
  • South Regionals: 
    Texas and Missouri Valley Sectionals
  • East Regionals: Mid-Atlantic, Southern, and Florida Sectionals
  • West Regionals: Northern California, Southern California, and Pacific Northwest Sectionals

Players can play in more than one “Little Mo” Sectionals. Anyone who lives in the USA or a USA territory (i.e. Puerto Rico) can play in the “Little Mo”.

Sectionals
Pacific Northwest
TBA                    TBA
 
Florida
March 11-12        Ironhorse Country Club – West Palm Beach, FL
June 3-4               Sarasota Racquet Club – Sarasota, FL
June 10-11           Crandon Park Tennis Center – Miami, FL
Southern
May 5-7               Laurel Park Tennis Center – Marietta, GA
TBA                     Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club – Hendersonville, TN
Texas
March 25-26        Arlington Tennis Center – Arlington, TX
April 29-30          Fair Oaks Ranch Golf and Country Club – Fair Oaks, TX
 
Missouri Valley
April 29-30          Genesis Health Club – Wichita, KS
Northern
May 12-13           Lifetime Fitness – Fridley, MN
Middle States
May 13-14           Aronimink Tennis Center – Newton Square, PA

 

Eastern

May 19-21           Armonk Tennis Club – Armonk, NY

Midwest

May 27-28           H-F Racquet & Fitness Club – Homewood, IL

New England

May 27-28           Longfellow Club – Boston, MA
June 24-25           Chris Lewit Tennis Academy – Londonderry, VT
 
Southern California
May 27-28           La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club – La Jolla, CA
Mid-Atlantic
June 3-4               Dominion Valley Country Club – Haymarket, VA
Northern California
June 3-4               University of The Pacific – Stockton, CA

 

Regionals
South (Texas, Missouri Valley)
May 27-29             T Bar M Racquet Club – Dallas, TX
North (Midwest, Middle States, New England, Northern, Eastern)
TBA                       TBA
East (Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Florida)
July 28-30              Naples Grande Beach Resort – Naples, FL
West (Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest)
July 28-30              Woodbridge Tennis Club – Irvine, California
Nationals
September 29 – October 2        Austin Tennis Academy – Austin, TX
2017 “Little Mo” Internationals
California, New York, Florida
The “Little Mo” Internationals offers young players the unique opportunity to compete against players from around the world. The tournaments are open to any player from the USA and worldwide, ages 8 to 12 in addition to the “Big Mo” division for ages 13 and 14 (California and Florida). Players will be competing in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Yellow ball divisions will be offered for ages 8-14 in addition to a green dot option for ages 8, 9, and 10.
The “Little Mo” Internationals in California is also the 1st leg of the 2017 “Little Mo” Slam! In honor of Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly’s 60th anniversary of winning the Grand Slam in 1953, MCB created the ultimate challenge in 2013 for any player to win the “Little Mo” Slam. If a player can win all three ‘”Little Mo” Internationals (yellow ball division only) in the same year, the player will receive the tallest trophy ever given in junior tennis (6 feet tall) and the title of “Little Mo” Slam Champion! There have been six “Little Mo” players who have accomplished this great achievement in the past four years. Who will it be this year?
Little Mo” Internationals – California
The Woodbridge Tennis Club
Irvine, California
June 30 – July 4
“Little Mo” Internationals – New York
The West Side Tennis Club
Forest Hills, New York
August 21 – 26
“Little Mo” Internationals – Florida
PGA National Resort & Spa 
and 
BallenIsles Country Club
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
December 1 – 6
We hope you will let your friends know about the “Little Mo” Internationals in California, New York, and Florida. As an incentive, we are offering players an opportunity to earn cash for referring other players to sign up to play in any “Little Mo” Internationals. For every player you refer, you will receive $20 in cash. You will be able to pick up your cash prize at the “Little Mo/Big Mo” booth during the tournament. The more players you refer, the more you can earn. For example, if you refer 20 players, you will receive a check for $400 from MCB.
How do you refer another player?
Tell a friend about the “Little Mo” Internationals and encourage them to register. For instance, you could refer a player that you would like to have as your doubles or mixed doubles partner. A custom question has been added to the tournament registration process where the referred player can type in your name on their entry form as having referred them. Only the names entered during online registration will count towards earning cash prizes. Also, any player who withdraws from the tournament will not count. If you have any other questions about the referral program, please email Matthew Cody at mcodytennis@gmail.com.
The “Little Mo” tournaments are sponsored by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation in memory of its tennis champion namesake Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly. Known by her nickname “Little Mo”, she was the first woman to win the Grand Slam of tennis at only 18 years of age in 1953. Maureen Connolly is still the youngest and the only American woman to have accomplished this magnificent feat. The foundation has promoted junior tennis development for the past 49 years and continues to benefit countless numbers of boys and girls throughout the country.

2014 Little Mo Internationals

Little Mo 2014

Today’s guest post is from Louisiana Tennis Parent, Ashley Hancock. Her daughter played in the Little Mo International tournament in Florida earlier this month. Ashley shares their experience below . . .

Our first Little Mo tournament was an incredible experience!  My daughter asked me a year ago if this tournament could be on our calendar.  She had a friend who played the International tournament in Florida last year, and had a blast.  So, early this fall I signed her up since entry was limited to the first 32 who sign up.  She is twelve years old so this would be her only chance left to play Little Mo.

I was extremely nervous when I saw the competitor list.  I think there were only five Americans and the rest were International.  Most had played Eddie Herr and also were going to be playing the Orange Bowl the following week.  This was going to be my daughter’s first taste of international competition.  I was just hoping she wouldn’t get completely rounded!!

My husband took her down for the first couple of days because I had a prior commitment with my youngest daughter.  He was completely amazed at how organized the check in and opening ceremony was.  Each player carried their country’s flag and marched around the tennis court just like they do in the Olympics.  Maureen Connelly’s daughter spoke to the players after the ceremony and stressed the importance of sportsmanship.  Draws were posted that night and we found out she was going to play the fourth seed from South Africa.

Prior to her first match, she exchanged a small gift with her first round opponent.  She gave her player a Mardi Gras mug and ornament.  She received a scarf with the colors of South Africa and a small stuffed animal resembling their country’s animal.  She played a great match but unfortunately lost 6-2, 6-0.

I flew in on Sunday after she had won two rounds of consolation beating girls from California and Peru.  She started doubles that afternoon with a girl she was paired with from NC.  We were so lucky to have such a great partner! They got along well and were evenly matched.  They gave the two seeds a battle but came up short 8-6.

In singles, she ended up losing in the finals of consolation to a girl from Austria.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the international players and their style of play.   She came off the court happy because she knew she was going to get a nice, big trophy!!! Carol Weyman had a special trophy presentation for each player.

Her favorite part of the tournament was getting to play Mixed Doubles.  She played with a boy from Arkansas who we met for the first time when we got down there.  A friend of ours recommended that we play together.  They won their first two rounds and lost in the quarterfinals.

I was very impressed with how the tournament officials stressed the importance of sportsmanship.  The officials would walk around and hand out “Mo Money” to those exhibiting good sportsmanship on and off the court.  My daughter saved all her coins and then went shopping at the Little Mo table of goodies which consisted of t-shirts, towels, pens, books, candy, etc.

The Little Mo tournament was a memorable experience for us and I am so glad that my daughter played in it.  The PGA resort was phenomenal.  Our room was spacious and right across from the tennis courts.  The restaurants were convenient and had good food. They even offered a discount to the players and families. She did play at two other sites but they were only a 5 minute drive from PGA.

It was nice playing a high quality tennis tournament without the pressure of worrying about points, win/losses, and not knowing who your opponent is!! I would highly recommend this to those 12 and under!!

When Facebook and Real Life Collide

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Those of you who know me personally know that I’m kind of a Facebook addict. Well, not “kind of” . . . I am a Facebook addict. I don’t try to hide my addiction. I embrace it. It has led me to some fantastic information and to some even more fantastic people.

Like Florida-based tennis parent Patrick Barbanes and his adorable daughter, 10-year-old Maddie, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with when they came to the Atlanta area for the Regional Little Mo tournament. And like Coach JP Weber who, even though he lives about 10 minutes from me, I had never met until after we connected on social media several months ago.

A few weeks back, I saw a post in a Facebook group that Patrick and Maddie would be in town and were looking for a hitting partner a day or two before Maddie’s matches began. I knew JP worked with several players around Maddie’s age and might be a good resource, so I put them in touch. Sure enough, JP arranged to hit with Maddie himself and to include her in his summer camp so she could meet some of the other kids. He then made some phone calls to schedule practice matches for Maddie. Perfect!

Patrick posted an update on Facebook about Maddie and JP meeting each other, and I, being the addict that I am, saw the post and commented that I would love to meet up with them while they’re in town. One thing led to another, and I wound up driving over to Laurel Park Tennis Center after teaching my fitness class (that’s my way of saying, “Please don’t judge my appearance too harshly in the photo above”!) to say a quick hello to JP and then grab coffee with Patrick, Maddie, and their friend Jaya – what a treat! We visited for about an hour before heading back over to the courts where Maddie asked me if I could hit with her for a few minutes. I begged her to go easy on me, but she had me running back and forth with her mean inside-out forehand and two-handed backhand – she may look little but you know what they say about big things and small packages!

There’s something so amazing about meeting someone in person who you’ve previously only interacted with via social media. Patrick’s first comment when we met: “You look just like you do on Facebook!”

 

Making Tennis Fun!

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There are many challenges involved in junior tennis.  Among the most common are (1) getting kids to choose tennis over other sports; and (2) keeping them interested in tennis, especially once they hit their teens.  One tennis facility in the Southern California section came up with a great solution to both!

At the end of June, the Palisades Tennis Center had a camp for top players across the country. About 40 kids convened in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles where they trained all day then went to the movies and the beach and basically hung out together at night.

On two of the camp days, PTC brought out a film crew with one of the fastest production cameras in the world and shot the kids moving and hitting forehands. To film at this high frame rate is a very challenging task: it’s not easy to move the camera around, and you can only record for 8 seconds at a time before the camera has to process the footage for several minutes.  But, the film crew created some of the best super slo mo footage of top kids performing at a really high level. Actually some of the best tennis slo mo period that I have ever seen (not that I’m all that experienced in this area, but still . . .).

Mike Thoeresz, general manager of the PTC, says, “I believe that junior tennis is pushing the envelope more than any other sport right now. Our kids start earlier. They compete earlier. They have too much coaching when not in competition and then no coaching when in competition. But mostly because they have to do it all. They are the point guard, the forward and the center. They are the quarterback, the fullback, the wide receiver, the linebacker, the punter…tennis players have to do it all. They can hit 1000s of balls and run many miles in a match. So tennis players end up pushing the level of sport more and take it to higher places. When you watch some of these videos, you’ll can see the amazing skills that these kids have.”

Some of the kids at the PTC camp:

Claire Liu – won the Orange Bowl and National Clay Courts – highest ranking: #1 in nation singles
Keenan Mayo – won the Winter Nats – highest ranking: #1 in nation singles
Roscoe Bellamy – won the Hard Courts – highest ranking: #1 in nation singles & doubles
Aiden Mayo – won the Little Mo – highest ranking: #1 in nation singles
Ilana Oleynik – won the ITF Level 1 in Carson doubles
Caroline Vincent – won the Copper Bowl singles and doubles
Max Mendelsohn – won the Nationals in Dallas
Katie LaFrance – won the Nationals in Oklahoma City

Click here to take a look at PTC’s super slo mo videos.  Of course, not every facility has access to this type of equipment, but is your child’s coach or facility doing something similar to keep the kids interested and having fun?  If so, please share in the Comments below!

Alternatives to USTA Tournaments

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I was having a phone conversation with another tennis parent yesterday – we were discussing all the stuff going on with USTA (2014 changes, 10-and-under mandate, cost of competition, issues with wildcards, cheating, etc.) and what we could do as parents of junior players to get away from it all. We both agreed that our goal as Tennis Parents is to keep our kids playing as long as possible while maintaining their love of the game (and not going broke in the process!) – a huge challenge, to be sure.

Then, this morning, I read an article on 11-year-old Florida player, Adam Neff, and the resources that his parents have provided for him at their home – 3 tennis courts in the backyard, one with imported Italian red clay, a hyperbaric chamber, a full-time coach – and I had to wonder if that’s what it takes to develop a successful tennis player . . .

Then it occurred to me that, for (I’m guessing here – no stats to back this up!) a majority of junior players who are playing in tournaments now, success is gauged by their eventual opportunities to play in college at some level.  Of course, many kids dream of turning pro, but, at some point, they realize that’s a huge stretch and that life will probably take them in a different direction, one in which tennis will always play a part we hope.  So, in terms of college-playing opportunities, what’s the difference between being ranked #50 or #100 or #150 in the juniors?  Does the #50 player get that many more scholarship offers than #100?  Is it really worth playing the Rankings Race Game or is your time (and money) better spent finding good opponents and good matches so you get better at competing?  If college tennis is the goal, then shouldn’t the aim of training during the junior years be to develop into the strongest competitor possible so coaches will want you on their team?  And, aren’t there ways other than playing gobs and gobs of USTA junior tournaments to achieve that aim?

Let’s look at some of the options . . .

  • League tennis: Playing on a team with your friends, boys and girls, is fun.  You get to cheer for each other, you have that team spirit thing going for you, you learn what it’s like to play for something bigger than just yourself.  Isn’t that a big part of college tennis, too?  Typically, league tennis, at least where I live, tends to be more recreational in nature and not really geared toward competitive players, but it is still a great way to learn how to be part of a team.
  • High School tennis: See “League tennis” above but add to that a nice way to develop an identity at school, especially if you go to a big high school where kids tend to get lost in the shuffle if they don’t do something to stand out, either in academics, sports, the arts, or some other way.
  • Little Mo: Open to US players ages 8-11, these yellow ball, full court tournaments are held nationwide with regional winners competing for the national title.  Little Mo recently added international competition, too, open to any player worldwide ages 8-12.
  • Adult “Open” tournaments: For a kid with little or no competition nearby in his/her own age group, adult tournaments are always an option.  These events pose their own challenges for junior players (what adult wants to be beaten by a 12 year old?), but they can be a great developmental tool for kids who are looking to take their game to a higher level.
  • ITF tournaments: This is a tough route to take, especially if you want to attend traditional school, since the tournaments run during the week and since we have very few ITFs in the US during the summer when kids are usually out of school [see my How ITF Junior Tournaments Work post for more info].  But, if you’re homeschooled and have the financial resources to travel, ITFs will expose you to players from all over the world, showing you what you’ll face at the collegiate or even professional level.
  • Tennis Recruiting’s National Showcase Series: While these are USTA-sponsored tournaments, they’re not all sanctioned for all players (it depends on whether or not you play within your own section).  With all the craziness and limitations around national play coming in 2014, the TRN events are a great way to play kids outside your section and still impact your TRN star rating, even if they don’t affect your USTA ranking.
  • ITA Summer Circuit: I love these events!  They’re held on college campuses across the country during the summer, and the winners of the regional events go on to play for a national title.  The tournaments are open to any ITA member, so juniors are welcome to join and compete.

Am I missing anything?  If so, please let me know so I can add to the list.  The point is that, for those who are frustrated or fed up with all the rule changes and schedule changes from USTA, there are some excellent alternatives out there.  We can all still keep our kids developing and playing at the appropriate level, regardless of what’s happening with our national governing body.