Jayadeva Devashetty Appointed Director of Player Development at the Cary Leeds Center

Jayadeva (Jay) Devashetty will join the team at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning (CLC) on August 3rd. Jay spent nine years working as a national coach for the United States Tennis Association based in NY at Training Center – East. Jay was responsible for implementing the USTA teaching philosophy to top national juniors and professional players. Some highlights include coaching Kristie Ahn into the second week of the US Open last year and Ann Li to the finals at Wimbledon’s Juniors in 2017. When Jay was a player, he would rise to top 5 in juniors and top 10 in men’s in India.

In his role at the Cary Leeds Center, Jay will oversee player development programming including the Intensive Training Program, the Tournament Team, and the Premier Group.

“High performance training is a slow process, not a quick fix,” said Jay Devashetty. “Sometimes the most important improvement is simply the commitment to putting in the hard work every day.”

Jay will report directly to Liezel Huber, the Executive Director of Tennis at the Cary Leeds Center.

“I am thrilled to bring Jay to our team”, said Liezel Huber. “As with his experience, he will play a crucial role in ensuring that we provide the highest level training and development programs.”

Jay will be an addition to an already experienced team at CLC, filled with former professional tour players.

Jay was born in the town of Mysore in the southern part of India. He began playing tennis at the age of eight and soon fell in love with the sport. He would wake up at 5:30 am and walk to the tennis courts a couple of blocks just to make sure that he was able to play singles before they filled up for the day.

After college, where he earned an engineering degree in Polymer Science, he used tennis to bring him to the United States to create more opportunities for himself. He worked under Randy Mani and was promoted to running the Crosstown Tennis Club and later the very successful high-performance unit at Hardscrabble Club.

Jay is excited to join the team, setting long-term goals.

“For me it is important to instill a growth mindset in the juniors. NYJTL was the perfect fit for me because I hope to build a direct pathway from NYJTL programs to collegiate tennis,” said Jay. “With even a few children having the opportunity to play international tennis and maybe even one day a couple turning pro.”

Learn about the other skilled members of the Cary Leeds Team here.

NYJTL Continues to Find Ways to ‘Grow with the Game’ Despite Remote Shift

Even with all of the uncertainty and difficulties that the Coronavirus has wrought, New York Junior Tennis and Learning has not lost sight of its commitment to both the kids and staff it serves.

On March 13 NYJTL suspended all of its Community Tennis Programs, Intensive Training Program, Serve & Connect and SAT Prep classes. The Cary Leeds Center, NYJTL’s flagship home, followed closely behind, closing its doors on March 16. The organization has gotten creative with online activities and training to keep its staff employed and its members engaged, however, many questions remain as to whether or not the organization will be holding a summer term and how much the city will fund it.

“Right away I liked what NYJTL was doing — giving back, helping the children in need, mentoring them,” said Anna Tatishvili, a coach at the Cary Leeds Center. “We’re working for a great cause.” 

NYJTL has continued to prove its dedication through these unprecedented times. To keep students engaged, NYJTL has taken to its social media platforms and website to create and share content, as well as keep members informed.

NYJTL’s ACES, an afterschool program that serves students across four boroughs, has spearheaded a series of videos created by all its staff, which include at-home tennis drills, workouts, art activities, and more. With help from the schools the program partners with, staff members and teachers have also been able to conduct virtual classes in real time.

The organization has created multiple pages on its website where these resources are located. These resources span topics related to food access, kid safety, emotional and mental health, education, fitness and wellness, etc. — NYJTL wants to make sure its members feel supported in all capacities during this difficult time.

Jacob Weaver, the manager of curriculum for ACES, said shifting remote has posed some challenges because the interactions between the coaches, students and their families have lost the personal touch that makes their peer mentorship so special. However, they are doing their best to maintain and nurture those ties.

Their increased media presence has allowed them to stay connected with their kids, giving them comforting messages in videos and constantly checking in with them to make sure their needs are being taken care of and that they have an outlet that they would otherwise be using tennis for.

“Our kids have been going through all kinds of emotional stresses during this, as are all the kids throughout America,” said Lorraine Rohlsen-Alexander, a CTP site director. “I build relationships with a lot of my kids so that it’s not just a person calling, I’m like a member of the family to many of them and I give them my support. That’s what I’m here for: to help them in any way that I can.”

Another one of NYJTL’s endeavors has been its Facebook and Instagram LIVES in which coaches Liezel Huber, Anna Tatishvili, and Ahsha Rolle, all former professional tennis players, discuss different aspects of tennis and interview legends of the game, some of which include Chris Evert, Andy Brandi, and Jermaine Jenkins.

Tatishvili said that even though they are doing these LIVEs to keep their kids engaged, there has been a large learning curve for everyone involved.

“It’s been incredible. When I first decided to do this I was very nervous because it was very new, but it was very interesting to talk to tennis players and to get their insight — what they think about tennis, ask them details and questions. You learn a lot — not only am I trying to give information to our audience, I’m also learning by listening to them and having them answer my questions,” said Tatishvili. “We all want to be on the tennis court, but these live videos and detailed talks with great champions have been very informative for me, and as a tennis coach I am growing just by listening to them.”

Coaches from the Community Tennis Program (CTP) division are doing some online learning of their own through virtual staff training.

To keep them employed and developing new skills, the staff is taking online certificate courses through the University of Albany Professional Development program in regards to child safety and education, completing HR modules through ADP Workforce, learning new ways to coach tennis through USTA’s Net Generation videos, viewing and creating content for its members, connecting for meetings over Zoom, and more. The organization is even considering using these resources to supplement its traditional outdoor training at the Cary Leeds Center.

And to help alleviate any stress or anxiety NYJTL staff may be experiencing, they have also been given access to services, such as counseling, through the Employee Assistance Program.

“NYJTL really has been doing everything they can for the kids and their families and the staff. We’re reaching out to the staff and teaching them employment skills and stuff like that,” said Weaver. “I feel like we’re reaching out to them just as much as we’re reaching out to the kids and their parents. A lot of them are so young and this experience has really been an opportunity to show how much NYJTL cares about their staff.”

Staff and kids alike cannot wait to take their lessons back outside and NYJTL is working to put the appropriate preparations in place for the summer if that happens.

As stated on the Cary Leeds Facebook the Center’s “top two priorities are to keep [everyone] safe, and to get [everyone] back on the tennis courts.” The center has a three phase plan prepared to gradually open once given clearance from the NYC parks department.

This clearance will also allow NYJTL to file the permits for its CTP sites.

With the help of staff input, CTP has come up with a comprehensive plan that respects social distancing should they be given the go on summer classes. This plan includes requiring all participants and coaches to wear masks, having participants stand six feet apart, mirrored teaching, allowing no participant or coach to touch another, temperature checks, constantly disinfecting and sanitizing, etc. The team also plans to have shortened class times and fewer sites that will be more heavily staffed. 

To further ensure the least amount of contact as possible, NYJTL will also have online registration for the first year.

“I can hardly wait to get on the court and hit a few balls. I can hardly wait to see all the kids and all my friends,” said Rohlsen-Alexander. “We just have to be patient and do what we’re told. We are all going through this together and we are going to come out of it together.”

However, even if given permission by the city, the extent to which NYJTL programs may run is dependent on its funding. Emphasizing the essential need for summer programming to keep kids engaged, CTP is petitioning the city for its full funding for the 2021 fiscal year under the Council’s Physical Education & Fitness Initiative.

NYJTL wrote on its Facebook page on May 21, “As parents are finally able to return to work, families will need access to free, quality childcare that summer programs offer, as well as the knowledge that their children are participating in safe, structured, engaging AND fun summer activities.”

City Council Funding has yet to be finalized for NYJTL for the upcoming fiscal year, however, Council Members continue to be enthusiastic and supportive of NYJTL’s work, said Scott Daly, senior director of Community Tennis.

Whether the organization’s endeavors remain online for the summer term or its operations are brought outside, NYJTL is keeping its students in mind.

“During these uncertain times, we want every child to know that ‘CTP is still here for you’,” said Daly.

Follow NYJTL and Cary Leeds’s websites and social media for activities and updates regarding summer programming.

By: Christina Perrier

The May Racket

Under-resourced children need your voice now more than ever. New York City is cutting vital funds for summer programs across the city, and those children most at risk need our help to ensure that they are not left behind and forgotten this summer.

Please contact your local council member and let them know how important summer programming is to you! #FundYouthNYC

Art Class with Ms. Luz

Do you or a friend love Fortnite?  Then follow along with Ms. Luz as she shows us how to draw Peely from Fortnite!

Meeting the Ball with Coach Jeff

Follow along with Coach Jeff as he teaches us hand-eye coordination and warm up drills to get our bodies ready and loose!

Pulpo Lleno de Emociones

Crear un pulo que represente sus emociones! Usar papel, marcadores, y las tijeras!

Planks with Coach Danny

Work with Coach Danny to strengthen your core and straighten your posture by doing planks!

Self-inflating Balloon

Can you make a balloon inflate on its own? Learn with Mr. Kemal how you can make a balloon self-inflate with baking soda!

CTP Tennis Lesson of the Week

Introducing our digital tennis lessons brought to you by our Community Tennis Program! First up, Coach Christian, who is showing us backhand progression!

NYJTL would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2020!
A special shout out to one of our students, Alani Naje Connor on graduating from Mount Vernon High School!  We are very proud her journey from CTP to our Intensive Training Program! We will miss her, but we know that she will do amazing things on the tennis team at Chestnut Hill College.

NYJTL Stands in Solidarity

My potential is more than can be expressed within the bounds of my race or ethnic identity.   – Arthur Ashe

Still strongly inspired by the values of Arthur Ashe in our founding nearly fifty years ago, we stand in unwavering solidarity with our NYJTL family against the injustices facing the diverse communities that we serve.  There are too many lives lost.  Turning the tide on racial injustice is only possible if we join together and all our voices are heard at this critical moment, as we aim to create an equitable society with opportunity for every family and every child growing up in New York City. – NYJTL President & CEO, George Guimaraes

Honoring the historic importance of Juneteenth for the celebration of freedom for ALL Americans, and in recognition of our founder Arthur Ashe’s lifelong dedication to racial equality, today Juneteenth, will be a holiday for all NYJTL staff.

For nearly 50 years, racial equality, justice, and opportunity have been at the heart of NYJTL’s programs for youth throughout New York City. This is the time for all of us to come together, to reconfirm our values, and to reiterate that Black lives must matter to everyone.

The March Racket

Some programs might be suspended, but we are HERE for YOU!

NYJTL would like to proudly announce that 136 NYJTL heroes have voluntarily stepped up to staff the Department of Education’s crucial Regional Enrichment Centers (REC) during the coronavirus emergency.

REC programming began at 70 sites on Monday, March 23, and includes four NYJTL ACES locations: Hyde Leadership Middle and Elementary Schools, P.S. 42, and P.S. 12. Our NYJTL staff are voluntarily working in 35 REC locations.

These NYJTL heroes will:

  • Work with respective school principals and leadership to determine how to best support distance learning.
  • reate individualized school plans, including assisting in the implementation of both academic and social and emotional learning (SEL) based curriculum.
  • upport technological classroom set up: dogu, Google classroom, and take-home classwork packaging and distribution.
  • Distribute laptops and provide necessary supplies for children to effectively learn online.
  • Supervise attendance, program administration, and general operations.
  • Communicate with parents in languages other than English where needed.
  • Provide crisis management and hands-on intervention.
  • Assist kitchen staff with meal preparation and family pickup coordination.
  • Develop daily communication with school, parents, and participants.

We have also provided a library of digital resources and activities to keep families healthy and learning after regular school hours.  Check out a week’s worth of activities.

Monday
The Department of Education has provided additional materials to help keep students engaged beyond their online lessons. These resources are for students in all grades, from elementary to high school. Click here to check out these materials!

Tuesday
With so many kids home from school, GoNoodle: Good Energy at Home, is providing ways for families to move and learn together while staying active, focused, and calm! Click here to learn more!

Wednesday
Prodigy Math Games is delivering a unique learning experience for kids through an interactive math game where success depends on correctly answering skill-building math questions. Click here to play!

Thursday
This comic book is an easy, and kid friendly way, to explain to your kids what the Coronavirus is and steps that they can take to keep themselves safe. Click here to read it!

Friday
After spending the day with their teachers learning online, your kids can spend the afternoon sketching Stitch from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch like a pro! Click here to watch the video!

Up Next:

  • Stay tuned for more resources as we follow health and safety precautions!

What We’re Reading:

Cary Leeds Center Temporary Closing

Dear Cary Leeds Center Families,

 

In view of Coronavirus health advisories from CDC and NY health officials, NYJTL will be closing the Cary Leeds Center at 8 pm tonight, Monday, March 16.  Your health and safety are our number one priority.

  • Our customer service center will remain open but staff will work remotely, so do not hesitate to call
  • We will make all efforts to reschedule missed programming as soon as we are able to reopen and will communicate with you as we learn more

We look forward to serving you in-person in the near future and until then please follow us on Facebook for tips on how to get the daily recommended amounts of exercise for your family at home during this time.

Yours sincerely,

George Guimaraes, NYJTL CEO and President
Liezel Huber, Cary Leeds Center Executive Director of Tennis