Tennis Outreach Programs (TOPS) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2003 by Marceil Whitney, a tennis educator who has taught and coached tennis for over 36 years. She is the creator of the popular ‘Teenie Tennis’ teaching method, designed to provide effective tennis instruction to kids as young as three years of age.
TOPS provides affordable tennis programs to youth, with a particular focus on underserved and at-risk youth in King County. Many of the participants receive scholarship assistance. The program has been constrained in the past by the limited availability of public tennis courts. According to data published by the USTA and Tennis Industry Association, the Seattle area ranks last in public court density per 100,000 in population.
The organization’s dreams of having its own indoor tennis facility are being realized. TOPS has signed a long-term lease on a former warehouse space at 10822 117th Place NE in Totem Lake’s Parmac area. The site was selected because of its central location and proximity to I-405, adequate ceiling height, attractive lease rate, and the suspension of traffic impact fees.
Approximately $1 million in tenant improvements are being made to the space to transform it into a first class tennis facility. When completed in early 2012, it will include six full-sized indoor tennis courts and six 36 foot Quick Start courts designed to give the youngest players a less intimidating introduction to the game.
The program aims to serve 150 to 200 kids per day. Providing them with a safe and productive place to be is a major goal of the program. During the week, programs will be offered both before and after school. In addition to tennis, tutoring services and fitness programs will be given. Survey results from the program’s current Neighborhood School House before school program show that participants do better in school, have better school attendance, are more confident, and have fewer behavior problems.
Michael Calkins and Dan Willman manage the high performance premier program for juniors at Kirkland’s Central Park Tennis Club. They have entered into a court leasing agreement with TOPS to allow their program to expand and serve more youth. When the new joint facility opens it will be called The Outreach and Performance Tennis Center.
Travis Roach has been named the Executive Director. Most recently, he served as General Manager of the Mercer Island Beach Club where participation in the tennis programs doubled during his tenure. He has also served as the General Manager of the UW Nordstrom Tennis Center and as coach of the Ballard High School tennis team.
The tennis center will be the latest youth oriented organization that has chosen to locate west of I-405 in Totem Lake. The area is home to Pump It Up, Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, Rainbow Play Systems and Studio East.
10822 117th Place NE
Kirkland, WA 98033