Man brings tennis passion to kids in St. Pete community

A St. Petersburg man with a passion for tennis is now using what he’s learned as a player to help the community.

Coach Rob Perry teaches kids the art of hitting a tennis ball. He’s pursued his passion in his South St. Pete community for about 20 years, through its free program “Sowing Seeds Tennis.”

“This is my passion just to make sure that kids in the community are exposed to a sport that they’re normally not exposed too,” Perry said.

Perry started playing when he was 13 years old. He was No. 1 in the state for men 25 years and older back in the 90s, and he had a college scholarship playing tennis. Perry said giving back to the community and helping kids brings him a sense of satisfaction, and it’s a feeling that spread to other parents as well.

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“Every coach needs a little bit of help. I was just out sitting with my daughter and realized that I could be doing something,” Jay Trotter Volunteer Coach said. “Instead of looking at my phone texting, so I’m just lending a helping hand.”

Perry said coaching tennis is more than trying to find the next great tennis star.

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“We want to make sure that we are making them better, better citizens, better kids through tennis and education,” Perry said. “So that’s one of the things that we’re working on here.”

Perry said the kids are taught structure and discipline to help them have a swing at a successful life. Children from age five to high school graduates can participate in the program.

Perry said he has 100 percent graduation rate. If you would like to help out or need more information, visit


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