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From the CEO USPTA USPTA Executive Committee 2022-2023
Spring Leadership Meetings John R. Embree, USPTA CEO
very April, the USPTA gathers its leadership from across the country to meet and discuss the current affairs of our association. The other meeting during the year (as you know) takes place during our World Conference in September. This year’s gathering was particularly special: due to COVID, it had been three years since we have convened in person at our HQ in Lake Nona. Boy, it was so great to see everyone face to face! In addition, we turned over several members of the Board of Directors and a large segment of our Executive Committee at the end of 2021 (as the divisions also welcomed new Boards beginning in January). Thus, there were a host of new people who participated, many of whom had never been to our office or to the USTA National Campus previously. Naturally, they marveled at our tech savvy and environmentally friendly building, while also getting to meet our fantastic staff. As with all our April gatherings, we cover a lot of ground. On Wednesday, we brought in our three new division Executive Directors for a full day of onboarding. Carlos Cruz-Aedo (SoCal), Michelle Brown (FL) and Tosha Smith (TX) trained with all departments. Thursday morning began with a formal 3-hour agenda with the other thirteen division Executive Directors followed by hands on training in our iMIS database and the new tools that we have developed to make their jobs as Executive Directors more efficient. Also that
afternoon, the National Board of Directors met to discuss critical matters and prepare for the one and one half days of Executive Committee Meetings that are held on Friday and Saturday. It is an intense three and a half days, yet so vital to shaping our year and our future. Let’s be clear: it is not all work and no play. On Friday night, we hosted a racquets triathlon at the USTA National Campus followed by a barbeque dinner held back in our office. Everyone got a chance to get on the red clay courts in Player Development, try pickleball out and for most, have a first crack at Padel. Not surprising, many had not been on a Padel court prior, yet all said it was the most fun of the three activities. No wonder it is growing as fast as it is nationwide. A few of the highlights from the weekend are as follows: Dr. Jim Loehr and Dr. Jack Groppel were unanimously approved for induction into the USPTA Hall of Fame which will take place during our World Conference in New Orleans in September. Their contribution to tennis and to our association is unquestioned. They will be honored at our Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, September 21. Speaking of the 2022 World Conference September 19-22, we reviewed the schedule of education and the social
events that are tentatively planned. It should prove to be another outstanding event that you do not want to miss! If you have not been to a World Conference recently, you owe it to yourself and your career to attend. You will be better for it. The Executive Committee voted to host the 2024 USPTA World Conference at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, CA. We have not been to the desert since 2016. Pat Anderson, Executive Director of USPTA FL, had previously announced her retirement at the conclusion of the USPTA Florida division conference in June. Thus, it was important that we recognized her 25+ years of exemplary service to the Florida membership with a token of our appreciation.
Pat Anderson, Executive Director of USPTA FL
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Coincidentally, the National Championships for USTA’s Tennis on Campus was held over the same weekend. The event had a full registration of sixty-four teams and 580 players from across the country. Recognizing that this audience is fertile ground for tennis teaching professionals of the future, our team sprang into action and conducted a full day of hosting on that Saturday that included a booth where players could get information about our industry, conducted interviews and filming, produced a ton of content on social media platforms, held a drawing for
prizes, etc. The coup de grace was a skills challenge during the final matches where the top team won USPTA swag. Despite the frigid temperatures, the kids had a blast participating. You would have thought that the winning team, NC State, had earned the DI NCAA Championships - they were so excited! What a weekend. It was a shining example of our strength as an organization: collaboration between staff and volunteer leadership, active support of a grass roots national program that could help us fill our ranks of tennis-teaching professionals, and a total commitment to
build a better USPTA. I thank everyone who participated and appreciate your dedication to growing the game, and shining a bright light on our wonderful association. *
John R. Embree, USPTA CEO
ADDvantage Magazine 45
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Vice President’s Message USPTA
RECRUITING THE NEXT GENERATION OF TENNIS COACHES
ith a shortage of tennis-teaching professionals in the marketplace, what are we doing as an industry to help attract and engage new tennis coaches to our great game? In order to take advantage of the many new players entering the game since COVID reared its ugly head, it’s essential that we all partner together so we can keep these potential new players in our great sport. TOC, or Tennis on Campus, is basically college club tennis and a great breeding ground to recruit new teaching professionals into our sport. The players are not only younger but are hungry to learn about the sport and open to see what opportunities are out there. Recently, Tennis on Campus had their national championships at the USTA National Campus, and USTA & USPTA were there to greet these wonderful players with open arms. “The players participating in Tennis on Campus place equal value in education as well as competitive involvement in sport. This has the potential to create USPTA members who not only produce INTELLIGENT players, which can only serve our sport, but also strive to continually educate themselves as coaches and leaders,” said Dillon Chustz, USPTA Director of Membership. “We were able to connect with over 186 students/players from 64 teams and introduced them to what a career in tennis might look like.”
“There is a big need in the tennis industry for quality providers and college players are the next generation of providers. Through surveying over 160 TOC participants at the national championships this year, it was very encouraging to hear that 82% of the players had taught tennis before and 64% see themselves as staying involved in the tennis industry in some way. With over 4 million new players gained in 2021, we need more coaches to help retain these players. A good recruiting plan is key to taking these college players and turning them into quality coaches, helping us continue to grow the game,” said Chris Michalowski, Director of Experiential Learning, USTA-U. Due to the shortage of professionals across the nation, many organizations are coming up with innovative ways to bring coaches into the game. USTA Florida recently announced a new innovative program called the Community Coach Program. It is a partnership with select public parks and recreational facilities across the state for a new program aimed at exposing, training, and employing new and diverse tennis coaches to deliver a broad range of community tennis programs. The USTA Florida Community Coach Program is open to high school students, community residents, tennis players and others who have a passion for coaching community tennis. The new education
endeavor will include one or two days of training, followed by up to ten weeks of paid, on-court program mentorship and experience at the facility. For more information, please reach out to the Director of Community Tennis for USTA Florida, Danielle Gooding. Gooding@ustaflorida.com As tennis continues to evolve, we as tennis organizations need to adapt to the everchanging needs of our players in order to keep our sport vibrant and relevant. Bringing in new and diverse coaches into our sport to meet the increased numbers of our players is imperative. As we all are part of a tennis community, it would be in all of our best interests to band together collectively and work more collaboratively to come up with ongoing solutions as we all want what is best for our great game.*
Jason Gilbert, USPTA National Vice President
ADDvantage Magazine 47
USPTA Member Feature
48 ADDvantage Magazine
Member Feature USPTA
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ADDvantage Magazine 49
USPTA Member Feature
IMPROVE YOUR RACQUET SPORTS KNOWLEDGE
Kim Bastable, USPTA Elite Professional
e proud, USPTA! It was a committee created by USPTA that started the ball rolling toward the new Director of Racquet Sports industry certification – recognized in the US and worldwide, as THE curriculum to provide the learnings and connections and confidence needed to be a successful Director of Racquet Sports. The University of Florida’s Sport Management program is now delivering the curriculum developed by the original committee of successful USPTA directors through its College of Health and Human Performance. The curriculum is part of a Sport Management master’s degree and a Director of Racquet Sports Certification Course, which is open to Elite-certified teaching professionals. Tennis pros know tennis inside and out, but many are not strong in the business aspects that running a club involves – skills like budgeting, hiring, building a strong employee culture, technology, and operations. The Certification Course is online and fully self-paced. Students work on their own, watching videos, reading, preparing projects, and taking tests. It’s designed with flexibility for the working professional, who wants to move up in their career but can’t stop to go back to school full
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time. Although it’s online and no face-toface classes occur, it is still designed with a component that connects students to their peers in the course and to industry experts. The Certificate Course, which enrolled its first students last summer, graduated nine USPTA-Certified Directors of Racquet Sports in its first 10 months, and they are raving:
“Following two years of development from some of the brightest minds, including several USPTA master pros,” John Embree said, “this curriculum is now perfect for tennis professionals who want to transition into leadership positions.” This spring, USPTA is offering $5000 in scholarship money for women and minority USPTA pros who want to take the next step in their career. From those funds, five $1000 scholarships will be granted to qualified applicants to offset the course fee of $2,395. The scholarship application deadline is July 1, 2022. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP HERE:
The content is answering the question:
WHAT DOES A TENNIS PRO NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS A LEADER?
If improving your “racquets business knowledge” is your goal, this course is your next step. Learn more about USPTA’s Director of Racquet Sports certification through UF at www.uf-uspta.com and contact UF Professional Tennis Management Director Kim Bastable at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. *
Member Feature USPTA Mike
Mike Nott, 2022 graduate Dallas, Texas “I would highly recommend the course to anyone that is looking to advance in their career. With managers not having the time or simply not wanting to inform tennis pros of information and education on how to be a director, I have found this program to be essential.”
Jan Lucky, 2022 graduate Oslo, Norway “This UF certification course made me realize how much there is to learn about being a great tennis leader in the racquet sports industry. I thought I knew enough to succeed. Well, I was wrong. You can never learn enough, but you must keep trying. To succeed in this course, I was pushed to read, listen, write, and do a lot of research. Well done to UF and the team. Thank you.”
Julian Wortelboer, 2021 graduate Key Biscayne, FL “By far the best Return on Investment and Education in 2021, I am already seeing the results and financial returns on what I have learned in the class.”
rtel n Wo Julia
ADDvantage Magazine 51
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Member Feature USPTA
s tennis teachers, we must realize that every student is unlike any other. Different ages, genders and abilities pose distinct challenges for every instructor. If we use the analogy of an artist creating an original work of art on a blank canvas, we have a picture of what that first meeting with a new student is like. Unlike the artist contemplating the blank canvas, a great teacher realizes that teaching tennis is a two-way street. Feed-back is of utmost importance when teaching tennis to a student or a group. The artist who stares at a blank canvas does not expect feedback from the canvas, pen, or paint. Only when the blank canvas is completed, can the artist expect feedback. This assessment from admirers and critics is done only after the canvas is finished. A tennis teacher can observe reactions while teaching the first lesson and each and every lesson thereafter. This constant feedback allows the tennis teacher to adjust his or her teaching methods in the moment. This is the creative portion of the teaching process and is the challenge that every great instructor has as they begin to teach this fantastic game of tennis to a brand-new student.
What about the Science?
High speed cameras and slow motion videos have revealed much about how the top professional players hit a tennis ball. The biomechanics and the physics involved in producing the most efficient and most effective swings have been explored, analyzed, and recorded. A professional teacher who has played high level tennis has his or her own personal store of knowledge on the best way to swing at a tennis ball. Taking this body of science plus the instructors own playing experience is often used as a model to promote improvement through technique changes or adjustments. However, an over-focus on technique can often yield not only minimal results but can sometimes cause frustration and injury. Therefore, a great instructor should be an artist that uses the current science to produce the desired outcome: fun and improvement. When you first meet a new student, setting the proper tone is everything. As an instructor, you must create an environment where a student can learn their best. Whether it is a private session or a group session, it all starts by learning everyone’s name. To the individual being addressed, it is the sweetest word that
they can hear. Names have both significance and power. They define who we are. Correctly pronouncing someone’s name means that you value and respect them and this alone will make a student’s learning easier and more enjoyable. For a young student, it is the key to their existence and a means of recognition in society. Next, a good instructor may have the proper objective, but a great instructor has a plan for their teaching sessions. It need not be a written plan, but it should be a plan of action that can be changed or amended depending on the situation. As your plan is being implemented, you must be aware of your student’s reaction to what is being taught. You should ask yourself these questions. Are my students interested? Are they having success? Are they having fun? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then an adjustment in your plan needs to be made. This creative part of tennis instruction is what separates the great teachers from the rest. *
John Williams, USPTA Elite Professional
ADDvantage Magazine 53
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Staff Spotlight USPTA
LOVE IS LOVE Dillon Chustz, USPTA Director of Membership
ennis has given me many things to be proud of. As a junior tennis player, I was proud of overcoming physical and mental obstacles. As a tennis fan, I am proud of the work that grassroots efforts are helping to accomplish. As a corporate tennis professional, I am proud to work for an organization like USPTA, where my unique contributions are not only acknowledged but also celebrated. During Pride Month, we celebrate what makes us unique, particularly those of us within the LGBTQ+ community. We celebrate those who hit serves and volleys in the face of adversity, especially in times when being a queer athlete was far more taboo than it is today. I am proud to say that ever since joining the team at National, USPTA has welcomed my uniqueness with open arms and a warm disposition. Pioneers like Billie Jean King have served our sport through LGBTQ+ initiatives, now handing us the baton. Tennis continues to be more inclusive of the queer community each year, and the USPTA has joined the party. As the USPTA staff liaison for our LGBTQ+ task force, I’ve been able to hear our queer members’ experiences within the tennis industry and collaborate on involvement tactics. How do we as a trade association create opportunities to make our sport as colorful
and inclusive as possible? Some would start with program implementation while others might start with education. The important thing is that we use our platform for progress, rather than recession. This is quite the undertaking, but it is one very much on the USPTA docket. My personal experience working for the USPTA is a testament to our association’s acceptance and support of the LGBTQ+ community. Since working at National, I have never once felt like a second-class team member or less valued than the rest of my fellow employees. I have never felt the need to explain any part of who I am outside of what is expected of everyone. As a matter of fact, my promotion to Director of Membership in 2020 offered me an even greater platform for influence from an LGBTQ+ perspective. I write this so that our members may know that they are in safe, supportive hands here at the USPTA. I can proudly say that I am very much at home at the USPTA. I feel seen, heard, and celebrated. Most of all, I feel PROUD. Proud to serve our members, proud to serve our sport, and proud to be part of the queer tennis community. At the end of the day, it comes down to our love of the game. And love is love! * June 2022
ADDvantage Magazine 55
RETURN TO THE WILD The new Blade v8 celebrates the return to your natural element of competitive tennis — renewed and reconnected to the game you love.
Staff Spotlight USPTA
n late April, the USPTA welcomed Marisa Lampe as the new Director of Marketing & Communications. Marisa is a media and communications expert with nearly 20 years experience in the broadcast journalism field. Most recently, Marisa worked for a year at Spectrum News 13 as a sports host and reporter, after spending three years as a morning news anchor in Wisconsin. Before that, Marisa worked for seven years as an award-winning sports anchor/ reporter in Rhinelander, Madison, Green Bay, and Cleveland. She also worked several years as a sports producer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her time in those cities, Marisa had the privilege of covering a few Packers playoff runs, a Badger Basketball Final Four run, Brett Favre’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, and co-hosted a web show
with Jerry Rice. But the highlight of her early sports career was landing a one-on-one interview with LeBron James. She was able to go in depth about the work he does for the children of northeast Ohio through his foundation. Before moving to Central Florida, Marisa lived in nine different locations and has called even more places home due to growing up as a military child and her career in television. Marisa came to Central Florida to be closer to her family after it became clear to her and her husband that they desperately wanted a stronger support system during the COVID pandemic. Her mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in the Orlando area. And now, she and her husband are thrilled to be able to have a village around them to help raise their son and celebrate holidays and milestones together.
Similar to the rest of her communications team, Marisa’s love of sports runs deep! One of her favorite tennis memories is attending the Sybase Open in San Jose to watch Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. She says her favorite thing about sports is that even though you know when a game or event will be, the outcome could be determined in so many different ways. She looks forward to utilizing all of the skills from her career in journalism now here at the USPTA. We are so excited to have Marisa join us at the USPTA and can’t wait to see her thrive. Welcome to the team, Marisa!*
Madison Faulkner, USPTA Public Relations Coordinator ADDvantage Magazine 57
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Staff Spotlight USPTA
What is something your colleagues probably don’t know about you?
Do you have a favorite spot or place?
One of my favorite places to visit is Santa Cruz, California. I loved going to the boardwalk as a kid... ended up falling in love there... got married at a resort in the hills... and we ended up naming our son Cruz. It has the most relaxed vibe, delicious food, amazing sunsets, and lots of special memories.
My coworkers probably don’t know that I was run over by a blindfolded snowmobiler! I was covering an event in northern Wisconsin that was a high school scholarship fundraiser. People rode on a track carved out on a frozen lake. One of them hit the gas instead of the brake, ran right into me and my legs went flying above my head. I didn’t drop the camera (phew) and thankfully I only got bruised up. Glad to report they have since discontinued blindfolded snowmobiling!
What was your very first job? My very first job was selling tickets at the front gate of Fiesta Texas, a theme park in San Antonio. It was a blast to spend my summers there, riding the Rattler roller coaster hundreds of times. But my first TV internship was quite a thrill. I tagged along to an Oakland Raiders practice. Snoop Dogg happened to be there filming Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. I got to shoot an on camera intro with him playing football behind me and I quickly fell in love with the crazy TV industry.
ADDvantage Magazine 59
USPTA What’s The Dill?
Membership Department Update Dillon Chustz, USPTA Director of Membership
he bedrock of the USPTA Membership Team is each team member’s drive and ability to communicate effectively with each one of you. One of the best tactics for motivating my team is sharing updates on what you all are accomplishing and how our efforts have helped to manifest it. What could be more inspiring than hearing how much you have already helped someone accomplish their goals? It is quite satisfying when one of our members calls
to update us on their recent successes. Pete Pastor in Roswell, GA is one such member who frequently shows up on my Caller ID and always brings with him some extra special updates. I first met Peter back in 2020 when he was rounding out his career as a business owner and wanted to get back into teaching tennis in retirement. I should have anticipated the good things to come from Pete when he mentioned wanting to START a new career amidst retirement. I consider that to be a classic case of intrinsic motivation. After working with Pete over the course of about a month, Pete earned his USPTA Professional certification and hit the ground running. Since becoming certified, Pete has continually taught youth and adult clinics year round and has done so with a tremendous amount of vivacity. In 2021 alone, Pete and his fellow teaching pros in Roswell introduced the game of tennis to nearly 750 students of all ages, with forty percent of them re-enrolling in seasonal programming. That’s quite impressive for someone in “retirement.” Pete’s wife recently said to him, “You work more now than before you retired”, to which he replied, “This ain’t work, baby!” I love it! Having been raised with the mantra “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” this reassured me that our association is in great hands. Who better to serve our association than those who find
such joy in the work they do for us? Our members know how high the USPTA holds its standard for continuing education. All USPTA members under the age of 65 are required to earned 15 education credits every three years. These credits are earned through means such as conference attendance, online coursework, and webinar participation. Our members use this requirement to expand their teaching knowledge via the many education tools we provide. Pete exemplifies that and then some. In the two years that Pete has been with the USPTA, he has earned over 200 education credits, all with a full programming schedule, making him one of our top education earners. It is apparent that Pete understands the importance of continually improving oneself, especially in an industry where improvement and progress is our business. Needless to say, it has been a delight watching Pete’s journey evolve from inception to fruition. My team and I are lucky to work for an association where these types of stories are far from isolated. Our passion for our work here at National is bolstered by the passion you all have for your work on court. It’s like Pete said,
THIS AIN’T WORK, BABY!”
NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President.............................................................Richard Slivocka First Vice President................................................ Trish Faulkner Vice Presidents...................... Tracy Almeda-Singian, Mark Faber, Jason Gilbert, Kevin Theos, Jenny Gray Immediate Past President.......................................Feisal Hassan CEO...........................................................................John Embree Legal Counsel........................................................George Parnell
Editor...............................................................................Marisa Lampe Managing Editor.......................................................Madison Faulkner Layout/Design............................................................... Yaralismar Diaz Editorial Assistance .......................... Fred Viancos, Ellen Weatherford Circulation..................................................................... Trevor Trudelle USPTA World Headquarters 11961 Performance Dr. Orlando, FL 32827 407-634-3050 – www.uspta.com
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ADDvantage is published monthly by the United States Professional Tennis Association. The opinions expressed in ADDvantage are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ADDvantage or the United States Professional Tennis Association. Copyright© United States Professional Tennis Association, Inc. 2022. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of the magazine is not permitted without written permission from the USPTA.