College Hosts Second Annual Women in Tennis Together Workshop


High school participants in the Women in Tennis Together workshop watch as varsity women’s tennis battles Wesleyan.

While the length of tennis games are confined to sets and matches, its benefits last over the course of a lifetime. On Saturday, April 6, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) hosted an on-campus, one-day workshop open to girls in grades nine through twelve. The workshop, which is part of the USTA’s Women in Tennis Together series, was designed to give girls specialized tennis instruction and an opportunity to connect with female role models from the sport. Saturday marked the second consecutive year of Women in Tennis Together at Middlebury College. The first half of the workshop took place at the Nelson Recreation Center, while the second half took place at the Middlebury Indoor Tennis center.  

The workshop began at 9 in the morning. After signing in, the girls met with players from Tennis on Campus, a volunteer student organization, as well as coaches and players from the Middlebury women’s tennis team. They also managed to spectate matches between two of the best in women’s tennis: a Middlebury squad ranked 5th in the country, and a Wesleyan squad ranked 6th. Around noon, they departed for the Middlebury Indoor Tennis center, where they ate lunch, practiced drills and played in matches. The girls concluded their day with discussions with female guest speakers, all whom had considerable experience playing and coaching tennis. 

“When you’re out there [playing tennis], you really can’t focus on anything else, and as soon as you lose that focus, your game starts to slip,” said Erin Morrison, event organizer and also a programs and communications manager at the Addison Community Athletics Foundation. “It’s almost like therapy in the sense that when you’re out there, you’re just able to think about the game, and think about your partner.”

The event’s organizers, however, were thinking about things beyond tennis when considering the goals of the workshop.  

“What I’m hoping that the girls take from [the workshop] is just how valuable community is, whether that be in sports or in other areas, and just seeing how valuable it can be in impacting their lives,” said Morrison.

“The skills [learned from this workshop] are bigger than tennis,” said event organizer Jeanne Husslen, who is also the athletic director of Burlington High School. “It’s networking, communicating and meeting kids from other programs, but then also being exposed to women in leadership, and how tennis has impacted their lives.”

“The girls can learn practice, goal setting, communication, dealing with emotions from joy and elation, to disappointment and failure, teamwork, discipline and preparation,” said Husslen, when asked about the benefits of playing tennis. “It’s a phenomenal platform for learning life skills.”