Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 24, 2013

Becker's return home could mean boost to Jacksonville youth tennis programs

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Jonathan Becker has decided to return to his Jacksonville roots and his homecoming could benefit the development of the area's youth tennis players.

Becker is a 2012 Tyler Junior College graduate who successfully completed the school's Professional Tennis Management Program, which is also know as “Tennis Tech”.

Following graduation at TJC Becker became a tennis pro in Princeton, NJ, where he learned at least one thing of significance.

“I have found out that there is no place like East Texas for tennis,” Becker said. “(While in New Jersey) I missed not being on the courts in Jacksonville and I have missed being a part of Jacksonville tennis.”

Shortly after arriving back home Becker had a heart-to-heart pow wow with both Sam Hopkins of the Jacksonville Tennis Association and Jacksonville High School head tennis coach, David Hanna.

That's when he learned of the void that exists in a segment of the local training programs for the town's youth.

“Right now we don't have a tennis program set up for intermediate school students,” Hanna said. “And we really need one so that our boys and girls are ready for middle school tennis.

“I've encouraged Johnathan to address this need and I feel that if we can get our 11 and 12-year-olds started in tennis before they get to middle school that they will be that much better prepared for both middle school and high school tennis.”

Becker will be launching early next month private instructional lessons designed for intermediates, juniors and high school-age student athletes, with his emphasis being on intermediates.

Becker said that there are several advantages in youngsters taking private lessons.

“Private lessons allow a person to work one-on-one with a tennis pro to single out and identify areas of a person's game that need work,” Becker said. “A student can expect to learn strokes, mechanics and other aspects that they can apply to their school matches that will make them a better player.”

Becker will be conducting lessons at Jacksonville High School and at Jacksonville Middle School and the training sessions are open to students of any school district.

The rack rates for private lessons run $30 per hour, or $17 for a half hour period.

Becker, who is USPTA certified and USTA Level 1 Sports Science certified, stated that it is his intent on keeping prices affordable and that he will be offering discounts and special package deals to Jacksonville High, Jacksonville Middle School as well as the local intermediate school players.

He will also be conducting a high school junior program that will be taught on Monday and Wednesday evenings at JMS (5:30-7 p.m.) and a middle school junior program on Tuesday and Thursday nights (6-7:30 p.m.) also at JMS.

The cost of these programs are $75 per month.

An intermediate level junior program will be taught from 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays at JMS and will cost $65 per month.

Those interested in these programs are encouraged to sign up by July 6, with the first session beginning the following week.

“People will find that these prices are about half of what similar lessons will cost them in Tyler,” Becker said.

Becker said that he would be willing to work with those that have financial hardships as well.

For more information, or to schedule lessons, contact Becker at (903) 721-0042 or email JonathanBecker.uspta@gmail.com.