Column: When tennis teachers become students
No one ever knows it all and it's easy to get in the same routine, day after day, month after month, until your batteries run low. You need something to jazz you back to life, not only for your own sanity but for your students as well.
Thus when the United States Professional Tennis Association holds its Annual World Conference this week at the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, Calif., many of Prescott's local USPTA certified tennis pros will be in attendance.
Most of the headline tennis speakers are world renown. Tracy Austin, Dr. Martin Baroch, Nick Bollettieri, Wayne Bryan, Jack Groppel, Ph. D., Tom Gullikson, Brett Hobden, Jim Loehr, Ed.D., Rick Macci, Lori McNeil, Kathy and Ron Woods and John Yandell are among the featured speakers who will discuss a variety of topics related to the tennis industry. More than 1,500 tennis-teaching professionals, industry leaders and representatives, media and manufacturer representatives are expected to attend this specialized conference.
The toughest part of going to this event is choosing what to attend each day. It's like a three-ring circus.
You can play in the International Tennis Championships Tennis Tournament, which has open divisions in different age categories in singles, doubles and mixed doubles for prize money. During the week there are 20 educational seminars and courses to pick and choose from. Here is a smattering of topics, of which most pros would like to be a part.
Managing a tennis complex, transforming the life of a child through tennis, driving stakes through the ground through PR, discussions from pros on public parks, resort pros, etc., teaching tennis in a modern way, and big time doubles drills and games. The list goes on and on, and luckily for the attendees, if you miss one you wanted to see, you can purchase the videotape and watch it later.
Then there are the welcoming parties, division parties, awards breakfasts, a silent auction, a national cardio tennis feeding contest finals, 40 swimming pools on the well-groomed grounds, testing and re-testing of professionals to upgrade credentials, tennis aerobics, executive meetings ... not to mention all the amenities in the Palm Springs area.
If you own a pro shop, or want to know what's on the cutting edge of equipment, clothing or shoes, don't miss the buying show. Exhibitors feature tennis equipment, apparel and footwear companies, marketers and wholesalers of hard and soft goods, video-analysis and software, teaching aids, court surfacing and lighting, awards, backboards, educational materials, nutrition bars, vitamins and more.
So much to see and absorb and so little time to do it.
But it's more than that with all the people you've met over the years. It's an extended family reunion. All the people who attend this event realize that we're all in this business and tennis life together. Our passion and love for the game has a similar theme, and as we learn more from one another, expanding our knowledge and skills, the better we are equipped to spread the word to others in a distinct manner.
So if things have seemed rather quiet the past few days, it's only because many of the local pros are gearing up to give you the best knowledge that's out there.
In the meantime, keep hitting those little yellow/green balls and placing them where your opponents can't quite reach them.
(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org)