By Wendy Fee, Junior Leagues Vice President
ALTA continues to look for ways to improve our leagues and better serve our members. One way we are doing that is to bring on a younger ALTA member to help make positive changes with the Junior Leagues.
The ALTA Board of Directors has unanimously voted to generate an unprecedented volunteer position for the ALTA Junior League. This new position has been created by one of our own Junior players. We are pleased to announce Sakethram (Saketh) Ramakrishnan as our new “Junior Tennis Ambassador”!
Saketh will serve as a liaison between the ALTA Junior League members and the ALTA Board of Directors. He will be working closely with ALTA Marketing Director Emmy Powell, alongside myself, to develop campaigns and programs to increase junior memberships. By developing community outreach and potential new league changes through social media platforms, he plans to improve engagement with other junior players. This youthful presence will not only add a different dynamic but it also will enhance and expand a new perspective within ALTA!
One of Saketh’s initiatives being considered is working with more high school teams that may not have much involvement with ALTA. By collaborating with the GHSA (Georgia High School Association), he hopes to implement more match play outside of the regular spring season by creating a separate division during the off-season.
High school tennis is a spring sport with a long off-season. Usually, these teams have girls and boys junior varsity and varsity teams, comprised of approximately 40-60 total students per high school. Many of those players are not aware of or do not play in the ALTA Junior League. A high school league would benefit those teams in a variety of ways. Not only will players get more experience, but they also don’t have to wait eight to nine months for the next season to start. “Coaches get to see their players grow and develop so they can better plan during the spring season,” Saketh says. Players would be able to play with their teammates, creating stronger bonds and unforgettable memories. In addition, he would like to get more of the high school girls involved into ALTA, helping bolster many more aspects of our Junior Leagues.
Saketh has been playing on the ALTA Junior Boys League for the past four years; he is 16 years old and is now playing on an 18U ALTA team. He also is the captain of his high school JV tennis team at Lambert High School, as well as the Junior captain of his ALTA team. As such, he is familiar with organizing lineups and coordinating with opponents. He is optimistic to see his ideas come to fruition in hopes of facilitating better team bonding and bringing more members on board.
As a well-regarded tennis player, he always has appreciated that tennis is considered an “individual” sport, but he has had wonderful experiences with his ALTA team throughout the years. Through ALTA, Saketh hopes to get more involved and give back to his community.
As alluded to before, one of the ways he plans to reach out to his peers is to communicate through social media, primarily Instagram, and several other platforms. The transfer of information is so immediate and easily accessible these days, especially to our youth. He hopes that many newcomers will connect with him online, inquiring about ALTA’s programs. Thus, he welcomes new players to join ALTA and to interact with his fellow junior players @juniorleaguealta on Instagram. Community outreach and working with past, current, and future members will surely be one of the most gratifying parts of his new position as the Junior Tennis Ambassador of ALTA.
For Saketh personally, it is a priority to hear from his fellow junior players so he can incorporate their plans for the future of the sport. To do this, he will be hosting a monthly virtual get-together where juniors in ALTA can connect using their own experiences in ALTA and interact with guest speakers to help them advance in their tennis journeys.
We at ALTA look forward to seeing him reach his goals of developing creative ideas to showcase what it means to be a Junior ALTA member.