USPTA ADDvantage Magazine - May 2024

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Teach Play Love

What business are we in? Teaching? Hospitality? Service? Babysitting (we hope not, but then there is reality)? In truth, we touch them all, but above else, we are teachers, mentors, psychologists, coaches and much more. We are seen as experts of our craft, and we are supposed to know EVERYTHING. How to hit a slice backhand cross court drop shot, what to eat before match day, which racquet and string to use for maximum control and spin, and how our players should keep it together mentally. Racquet Sports Professionals (you) have a lot of responsibility on your plates.

Who do you lean on? Who do you go to for advice, counsel, a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on when things get tough? Your sisters and brothers at the USPTA, but even more locally, the Florida division. When I witness the care, love and compassion between fellow professionals, I am incredibly touched. The comradery and the network you all have in the racquets industry is a gift and a blessing. Who else understands tough customers, tougher bosses, competition, time management, and the stresses of our industry? Your network of professionals. We all started playing racquet sports a long time ago (ok, I did) and somewhere between the training, drilling, tournaments, parents, wins and losses, we all fell in love with playing our sports. Play made it worthwhile. Play made it fun. Play gave us the rewards we needed to keep going. And at some point, along the way, we really fell in love with our sports, but realized, our playing days were over, and it was time to transition into teaching and coaching. Personally, when I finished my college playing days, I wasn’t equipped to play professionally. But my love for the sport never waned and I started teaching and fell in love all over again. Our industry is so rewarding when we have the right perspective about why we are doing what we do. Lead, coach and serve our students and the industry. Ours is such a unique industry because most of us started as players and transition to teaching by choice or as a backup plan. No matter why, we are here, and we have the love and passion to serve others, see them improve and enjoy our incredible sports.

When we look at today’s industry and our current members, we witness the love and passion each of them shares and they know the value of the USPTA network. Our newer members, while sharing in the love for teaching and playing, might not have had the same “connections” as some of our older members. It is up to us to change that. Reach out to a newer member. Take them to lunch. Hit some balls. Invite them to your facility and show them around. The more you reach out and show them you are open to helping, listening and being part of their network, the more they will engage and feel the benefits of being a USPTA Florida member.

I asked earlier what business are we in? At the end of the day, we are in the people business. The impact you have on people is enormous and often, it doesn’t take much. A quick text to check in. A phone call while you are driving home. A regular time for coffee once a month. You can impact people every day and improve their lives. Please take that responsibility seriously and reach out. Remember, it all started with love!*

Is Tennis a Blue Zone?

Dan Buettner wrote the book, Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. In it he described nine lessons to regularly live past 100 in five key communities around the world. I listened to an interview Mr. Buettner did with my favorite, Simon Sinek, and he talked about not only living longer, but living better. The main points I took from the interview and how it relates to racquet sports are 1) Movement, 2) Purpose, 3) Belonging and 4) Being part of the right tribe. Does this sound familiar? We know tennis is great for enhanced mental skills and for the social aspect: being a member of a team, club or regular Tuesday doubles. But, 2018 Danish research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, showed that people who play tennis lived an average of 9.7 years longer than those who didn’t play social sports. Sounds like a Blue Zone to me.

CEO MESSAGE May 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 43


ver the last four years, the racquet industry has experienced unprecedented growth, something we haven’t seen in a few decades. While that is very encouraging and something we all can benefit from, there is another side of our industry that doesn’t look that promising.

The average age of USPTA certified professionals is over fifty, and it has been over the last few years. That is not something that is sustainable over the long run, and we need to recruit younger professionals into our industry or do everything we can to keep current your professionals in it. There is an estimate that we will need an additional 40,000-50,000 by 2035. That is a very aggressive number, and we need to do our part to reach it.

I am proud to serve on the USPTA National Board, and one of our main goals is to figure out how to recruit future professionals. We will do our best to explore every avenue to do so and to show people that a career in the racquets industry can be very rewarding and sustainable. We are all fortunate to do what we love and make a good living doing it, and now it is our responsibility to pass the torch and encourage younger generations to follow our path. We can do that in two ways: First, recruit new people into our industry and second, help young people currently in it to stay and have a long and productive career. This is something that I am trying to do every day at my current job.

I am fortunate that in my current position as director of racquets at Cher-

okee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, I have the opportunity and privilege to work with four full-time professionals in their twenties and early thirties. That is something I don’t take for granted, and I will do everything in my power to help them succeed and grow their careers for the years to come.

Here are the some of the things we have already done or are currently doing to help:


I had 1-on-1 meetings with each one of them and listened to what their plans and ambitions are, what they want to achieve in the future and what they need from me to help them get there.


The single biggest budget line increase in 2023 for our department was staff development and continuing education. I am very proud of that and very thankful to my general manager and Racquets Committee for approving that request. That shows me they understand the importance of it and how it will help not only professionals as individuals, but it will make us a stronger department and club overall. Last year, every one of our full-time professionals attended at least one USPTA conference, and that will continue in 2024 as well. All fulltime professionals on our staff are USPTA certified and that is non-negotiable.


One of the major changes we implemented was reducing the number of hours our professionals work and ensuring they have two days off every week. Work-life balance is becoming increasingly import-

ant, especially to the younger generation, and I am committed to providing it. When I started at Cherokee, the average work week was about sixty hours, and currently no one is here more than forty-five hours and ideally no more than forty.


All four of them expressed interest in running programs and events, and we have provided that first-hand experience to them. Daniel Yun, our assistant director of racquets, is the coordinator for women’s ALTA and USTA teams, Ben Dashiel runs Cherokee Racquets Academy, our junior program. CJ Antonio, our director of pickleball, runs an in-house pickleball league and pickleball clinics. Phillip Gresk runs Platform tennis club championships and club men’s singles championships. On top of that, all of them are given a chance to promote, organize and run different events throughout the year.


I couldn’t do anything without my team here at Cherokee and I want them to know how much I appreciate their help. Saying, “Thank you,” goes a long way and that tells them that I see their hard work and effort.


I have established an open-door policy, and anyone can come in at any time to discuss whatever is on their mind, it doesn’t have to be work related. We all have our daily struggles, and I am here to help in any way I can. If I can’t, I try to find the answer or point them in the right direction.

I am very proud of our collaboration and work at Cherokee, and we will continue this process into the future. I owe it to those at the beginning of their career path, and I want to make sure they are successful and prosperous.

I also owe it to the USPTA, the racquets industry and all the people who helped me along the way. It is my turn to pass the torch and I am very happy to do so.

VICE PRESIDENT MESSAGE May 2024 ADDvantage Magazine - 45


Why stories? Stories connect us to one another. Sports broadcaster legend and French Open mixed doubles champion Mary Carillo reminded me of this truth at one of our interviews. As one of the most recognized sports commentators, she has mastered the art of sharing athletes’ stories. Stories not only connect us, but they also shape who we become.

It was my only third live TV broadcast, as I was driving celebrated tennis journalist Bud Collins to the network studio for a 30-minute live TV broadcast. I asked Bud if he ever got nervous before going on air.

“Yes of course, but Koz, it is not nervousness. It is eagerness. You are ready and eager to show everyone what you can do,” Bud said. His response had an indelible impact on me; I have shared this anecdote with numerous players of all levels. The mindset that we are feeling eager, not nervous, helps to take the tension out of your body and mind. Since that initial interaction with Bud, we enjoyed one another’s company. I introduced him each time to the crowd with, “Ladies and gentlemen, for all you do this BUD is for you.” Bud laughed every time, even though he heard my line 50-plus times.

While working in broadcasting, I heard many stories. But some touch your heart and are unforgettable. Monica Seles and I worked together for eleven years at Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota, Fla. Monica was the touring professional, and

I was the director of tennis, so we spent many hours together. Monica’s coach was her dad, Karolj Seles. He had her training for her women’s singles matches by playing against two men. Her brother, Zolten, was in the right court and my son, Davidson, in left. The guys never missed. Her winning shots kept coming back. It was a superb over-load match situation. Witnessing firsthand how effective it was, I have tried it with several juniors and have seen tremendous benefits. Because her father was revered for this coaching success, he would receive countless calls from parents eager to get their children coached by him. He would test and screen the zealous parents by asking “what tennis meant” to them.

Parents answered, “Oh, tennis is the most important part of my life, I could not live without it.” Karolj would tell them he could not coach their child, for the child must want the game more than the parent. A decade after Monica’s retirement, while interviewing her at a fundraiser that she and Lyndsay Davenport were playing at the Claremont Resort/Hotel in Berkley, Calif, I shared with Monica how her father handled assertive parents.

“I never knew that my dad was getting calls to coach young players. But that is the way that he trained my brother and me,” Monica said. “If it looked like we didn’t want to put in the time and effort to train, he would say that we must stop practicing that day. ‘It doesn’t look like you want to

be out here as much as I do.’”

It has been a real thrill to be part of the USPTA for the last half of a century. I have had the privilege of getting to know and work with some of the most productive tennis industry leaders, and I now have many stories to tell. One of the most resolute USPTA trailblazers, Bill Tym, served as USPTA National president and executive director. We spent one of our longest visits on a golf cart, not golfing,, but rather spending four hours driving and talking tennis teaching. I learned a provocative method of teaching a beginner the game, as Bill was Bryan Shelton’s coach. This prolific tennis teacher shared that he often taught new players to start with a one-hand backhand volley. Yes, that is true. Tym feels that is the best time to learn how to hit a backhand volley. It doesn’t mean that someone will always volley one-handed on the backhand side, but they will know the feel and how to volley. Tym’s wisdom is timeless. At the 2017 World Tennis Day in New York at Madison Square Garden,, the Bryan brothers played the McEnroe brothers. Patrick McEnroe hit a two-handed backhand volley winner, brother John yelled out “Great Shot, but next time hit it one-handed like man!”

Younger McEnroe replied, “I did learn how to backhand volley. I started one-handed then I added the two.” All proof that Bill Tym knows.

Every tennis enthusiast knows Chris

"Stories not only connect us, but they also shape who we become."
MASTER PROFESSIONAL CORNER 48 - ADDvantage Magazine | May 2024

Evert and her heart for charity. She and her father Jimmy Evert certainly have made their contribution to the game and our USPTA. In addition to attending Chris’s Pro-Celebrity Classic Fundraiser for two decades, we did a one-hour Fox Sports Florida Sports profile on Chris. She shared with me that, “Good players move their feet when they must move to the ball, but great players move their feet all the time.” In practice, her father made her jump up and down 3 times after she hit the ball before moving to the next shot. Another example of the training that it takes to be a champion.

Tennis Hall of Hall of Famer Nick Bollettieri and I were a match, not only in tennis but in media. He loved being on camera. I had a camera and a mic. We hit dozens of professional and junior tournaments and loads of events from the Cayman Islands to Martha's Vineyard. I recall Nick saying to his audience of USPTA professionals, “Remember that we are servants in the service industry. Take pride in your service and keep serving and

keeping them in the game.”

Now for the queen of stories: I first interviewed Mary Carillo in spring 1995. “Mary, we know how much fun John McEnroe and you had winning the French Open mixed doubles. What is it now like

being in the booth at Ashe Stadium with John doing the broadcast?

“Well Koz, at the French Open, we were the best of friends growing up and training together in New York. But in the booth, it is not so friendly. John does not believe that a women should be calling a men’s match. But I know that is going to get better!” Mary said. Two weeks later, I caught up with John at the Nuveen Cham-

pionships and asked if he would ever call a women’s match.

“I never called a women’s match? Will I ever call one?” John said. “I don’t know. But what I do know? I have been in the delivery room with six of my kids. But do I know what it is like to give birth to baby…UH-uh!”

As I reflect on my career, all the above stories mentioned have impacted by life and shaped me, but none more than words of wisdom from a Franciscan monk. Father Joe shared with me one of most impactful daily pieces of advice,, “Lord make me an expert in finding one good trait in everyone that I see today.” Goodness, it is challenging to find a more meaningful self-assignment. Image what a beautiful world we could have if we all held ourselves to such, and if we all learned from the many stories those in and out of tennis have to tell us.

Catch the Mary Carillo video segment interview at watch?v=DhpUtsP0RxQ.*


What Vocal Issues Taught Me About Teaching Tennis

’ve been a full-time tennis-teaching professional for more than 25 years and have always had on-and-off injuries. I have broken bones, had cysts removed and received septoplasty. I periodically received laryngitis and my voice recovered in a couple days each time. In 2021, while teaching summer camp, I got laryngitis, and my voice didn’t recover. It is really difficult to teach tennis if you cannot talk! On the weekends, my days off, I just sat in my bedroom and tried my best to practice vocal rest. Unfortunately, that did not work!

In August, I learned could have a vocal cord tumor or polyp. Dr. Stephen performed a fiberoptic exam that showed a polyp with a hemorrhage on my vocal cord. It was like a little stick poking straight up on my vocal cord, which made it hard for the vocal cord to close properly. Dr. Tai gave me two options: to be conservative and practice vocal rest or to go right into surgery, which would take up to three weeks for full recovery.

Dr. Tai recommended waiting for surgery to see if rest worked, so at the end of the summer I did so for 10 days. Being between summer camp and my fall schedule, I was able to shut my voice down and stay off the court. At my appointment the following week, Dr. Tai said the polyp decreased in size but was still there. At my inquiry, Dr. Tai said speech therapy could help. The following week, speech therapist Lauren O’Neill (MS, CCC-SLP/L) performed a fiberoptic exam on my vocal cords and gave a bunch of exercises to help my vocal cord function better and more naturally. She also recommended I get surgery done to remove the polyp.

At the end of September, I hadn’t gotten much better. My voice was still

50 - ADDvantage Magazine | May 2024 MEMBER FEATURE

going in and out. I wondered what I could do with my life if I could not talk and teach tennis. It's scary when you lose the ability to do what you love to do every day. I scheduled the surgery, and luckily, got on schedule in the middle of October. Dr. Tai said the surgery was successful and the polyp was removed.

For one week after the surgery, I was on total vocal rest. I could not talk at all. I had to communicate on paper by writing down what normally I would say easily. I gained the appreciation of the ability to talk when I could not. It was painful when the phone rang, and I could not answer it. I felt something like peer pressure to answer the phone during this week.

At my post-surgery checkup two weeks later, Dr. Tai scoped my vocal cord and still saw little bump on it. He told me with speech therapy and time the vocal cord will fully heal. I did more speech therapy sessions and did the exercises that focused on getting the vocal cord to vibrate more and close properly from home.

I got scoped for the final time at my two-month post-surgery checkup, and my vocal cord was fully healed and working properly. I felt such a big relief leaving that office that day.

This journey taught me that I had to protect my voice going forward. These are

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I could not be on the court all day. I used to teach eight to 10 hours without breaks. Now, I do morning wave and afternoon wave on-court, as my speech therapist recommended.

I used to work 7 days a week. Since the surgery, I’ve taken at least one day off per week to allow my body to recover.

I use a voice amplifier during group clinics, where I have to be louder. If you are teaching next to a pickleball court, I highly recommend using a microphone/ speaker to protect your voice.

I try to hydrate often while I’m on the court. Vocal cords function better with moisture. A dry mouth is not good for talking.

I used to play music while teaching, which made me shout and stress my vocal cords. I do not play music during my lessons anymore (remember, your students are there for tennis, not a concert).

I have students form a huddle at a closer distance, so I don’t need to shout.

Off court, I communicate with text messaging instead of talking. I find it more efficient because it’s in writing anyway. If there is a problem with a client, I still make a phone call or talk in person!

No alcohol or smoking of any kind.

Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

If I have a problem with my voice for three days or more, I make an ENT appointment right away.

the things I changed so I would hopefully never have vocal cord surgery again: Now, are the above items realistic for every teaching professional? I would say NO WAY! The biggest reason I wrote this article is that I do NOT want fellow tennis-teaching professionals making the same mistakes as me! If your voice is tired or you have laryngitis, I recommend taking time off until your voice recovers. If you have a voice problem for longer than one week, I recommend seeing an ENT doctor right away. You don’t want to go through this experience. Even though I have fully recovered, it is not guaranteed I won't have vocal cord problems in the future. But my percentages in staying off the operating table increase if I follow the advice that was given to me by medical professionals. It’s like coaching students— in this case, Dr. Tai and Lauren are my coaches and I’m the student.*

Disclaimer: Any information on diseases, injuries, and treatments available in this article is intended for general guidance only and must never be considered a substitute for advice provided by a doctor, a physical therapist, other qualified medical professionals.

May 2024 | ADDvantage Magazine - 51 MEMBER FEATURE


One of the primary reasons I have always been spellbound by the world of professional tennis is the game’s extraordinary diversity. All of the leading players are powerful personalities and supreme practitioners in their own right, inspiring spectators everywhere they go in a multitude of ways. Out in the public domain are athletes who bring unique traits to the arena, celebrating their individuality in the process of striving to meet tall challenges, setting themselves apart by virtue of their distinctive attributes.

It can easily be argued that we have an embarrassment of riches these days on both the ATP and WTA Tours. But perhaps the least appreciated elite competitor in the sport is Daniil Medvedev.

The 28-year-old from Russia achieved some prominence starting in 2018, when he finished the year at No. 16 in the world. The following year, Medvedev moved into the top five

54 - ADDvantage Magazine | May 2024
Steve Flink International Tennis Hall of Fame

and made it to his first Grand Slam tournament final before losing in five tumultuous sets to Rafael Nadal at the U.S. Open.

Medvedev realized he had not achieved his newfound status by accident. In 2020, he went to No. 4 in the world and closed that campaign in style with back to back triumphs at the Masters 1000 event in Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals in London. Increasingly comfortable in the upper reaches of his profession, Medvedev turned 2021 into a landmark season for himself, reaching the final of the Australian Open, winning 63 of 76 matches, taking four singles titles altogether and collecting his first major crown at the U.S. Open by upending Novak Djokovic in the final and preventing the Serbian from securing a calendar year Grand Slam. He concluded that year at No. 2. In 2022, Medvedev narrowly missed out on a second major before losing the Australian Open final to Nadal in five sets, dropping to No. 7 in the world after briefly rising to No. 1 early in the season.

Across these last six years, Medvedev has not only accomplished widely but he has also become an inimitable figure, enigmatic in some ways, sometimes unnecessarily contentious on the court, but always clear in his convictions. He is a man who speaks his mind freely. If a media poll were taken to determine which

unfailingly candid about his feelings, very capable of collecting his thoughts and expressing them with clarity, and immensely probing with his opinions. While others are guarded and even evasive at times in press conferences, Medvedev is refreshingly frank.

an inimitable figure,

enigmatic in some ways, sometimes unnecessarily contentious on the court, but always clear in his convictions.

But an unwavering Medvedev was resurgent in 2023, capturing five titles, reaching the final of the U.S. Open where he lost to Djokovic and moving back up to No. 3 in the world. And then he commenced the 2024 campaign with a stellar showing at the Australian Open, recording three five set victories on his way to a third final in Melbourne, falling in another match that went the distance against Jannik Sinner. As I write this piece, Medvedev has just lost another final at Indian Wells against Carlos Alcaraz.

prominent player gives the most interesting press conferences in either victory or defeat, I strongly suspect that Medvedev would come out on top of the list. He is

Meanwhile, Medvedev has handled many hard defeats with grace. He has now lost five of the six major finals he has contested, dropping two of those appointments to Djokovic, two more to Nadal and one to Sinner. His defeat against Alcaraz this spring at Indian Wells was his fifth title round setback in a row overall since he had last won a tournament of any kind in 2023 at Rome. Medvedev has dealt with those circumstances honorably. Revered for wearing down his opponents with his unerring ground game, resourcefulness and astonishing speed, this 6’6” performer is willing to alter his game and change his court positioning (especially lately on the return of serve) to confront the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner. He can when necessary move out of his comfort zone and accept that he won’t realize his goals without changing his tactical thinking.

The next three years will be crucial for Medvedev. The task of overcoming the likes of Alcaraz, Sinner and Holger Rune will become increasingly arduous. Djokovic is a singularly resilient competitor yearning for more majors. But no matter how Medvedev fares, his singular brand of athletic tennis and originality as a performer will keep him front and center and make fans more passionate whether they are cheering for him or not.*

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hat do you want to be when you grow up? Ask a kindergartener, and they’ll confidently answer almost immediately – a professional athlete, a doctor, a teacher, an astronaut, a princess, a singer! Follow that question up with “What can you do today to help you become what you want to be” and the answer will be less forthcoming. While not lacking the confidence necessary to pursue their dream, the pathway to that dream is less clear. Ask the same question of a high school student, and the answer to the first question will range from “I’m not sure” to a precise and vivid description of an impending career path. Many of us entered the racquet sports industry from a place that was somewhere in between the two responses. We may have known a coach we admired, and wanted to emulate, or we may have initially imagined the ‘professional athlete’ path but found that we can’t always realize exactly what we imagine. Regardless of your pathway to this point in your career - you are in

the minority if you decided at a young age to pursue this profession - and also embarked upon a post-secondary education pathway with the specific objective of entering the racquet sports industry upon graduation. If you are one of those who graduated from one of the very successful and long-standing Professional Tennis Management (PTM) programs, you are unfortunately, very much a minority of today’s teaching professionals, coaches, and racquet sports directors.

And this is where I find the industry's current shortage of young, emerging Directors somewhat remarkable. In my firm’s work in Executive Search where we help clubs identify and hire Directors to run the racquet sports department - some of our very best, and over time, most successful Directors, most of whom hold very well-paying roles, are graduates of a PTM program. In retrospect, I have found that many of our industry’s most successful members made an early decision to enter a field they desired, and pursued a pathway of learning that prepared them specifically, and intentionally, for a vocation of helping others and changing lives through racquet sports.

I offer that most of us have heard, either directly or rhetorically, the question about our decision to pursue this

career; “so when are you going to get a real job?” Maybe too, you were told once, or more, that just because you like doing something, doesn’t mean that you can, or should, make a career out of it. I heard this question asked many times in my own career. I know too, that my generation (I entered the industry in the early 80’s), had to learn by observation. We had to watch those who came before us. Copy the things that worked, stay clear of the things that didn't work, and hope that our next mistake won’t cost us our job. It was known as “the school of hard knocks”. That institution still exists, but to my earlier point, the introduction of PTM programs in 1986, helped to more formally, and effectively, prepare young men and women for a career in racquet sports.

Despite the availability of these programs and the outcome of program graduates being highly sought after for some of the best jobs in the country, my question has been, and remains this… Why aren’t there more people coming through these programs?

Rather than focus on the ‘why not’ - I decided to focus on the ‘why’, and most importantly, the ‘how’.

So, two different questions. First, Why would a young person want to consider, and pursue a career in rac-


quet sports? And Second, What options exist for a young person who makes an early decision to enter the industry, to develop their craft safely, and build a foundation of knowledge through learning from those who have successfully come before?

Like many of you reading this, if asked why I, personally, work in this industry, I could fill a page with my “whys”. Racquet sports and tennis specifically have played a significant, if not major role, in almost every area and aspect of my life, and my life decisions. It has not always been perfect - in fact, it has often been tumultuous and stressful. But ups and downs and challenging times in life are not unique to our industry; these circumstances are present in all walks of life. No choice can be guaranteed to be free of the “downs”. However, the highs in my case are too numerous to list! The friendships, the travels, the people, the young students, the old students - and everyone in between - these are just the highlights that come to mind as I reflect on four decades of working in this industry and how my life has been impacted. However, with that just said, a thought just occurred to me. This may be one of only a handful of times I have ever mentioned this publicly!

I believe that one way we can attract more people to this industry is by sharing our ‘why’. I think we all need to let those around us (our students, their parents, our friends and acquaintances) know how much we love this industry - and why! I believe this is one specific step we can all take to help create more awareness of the viability of a career in racquet sport. In turn, this will result in more young people

considering our industry as a potential career pathway.

The final question, still unanswered here, is “how”. The existing PTM programs, a new Fellowship program from the USTA, and initiatives from USPTA and PTR, and other groups, are all sound strategies, yet our industry remains critically ‘at risk’ due to a continued shortfall of new professionals and coaches and a pipeline that offers little expectation of any quick change. My answer to the “how” question is contained in these three additional questions…

What if we could empower high school students to pursue a career in racquet sports, and equip them quickly (within a year) with the knowledge, education, and initial experience to consider a wide range of careers, and take the first steps towards that career?

What if we determined that one of the most concrete and successful approaches to career identification is aspirational modeling? What if each of us were to take every opportunity to help

create the coaches and directors of tomorrow by counseling our junior players to consider our industry as a viable career option?

What if we let these young players know that education is important and that industry-specific, targeted education that introduces the business skills needed to pursue senior roles within the racquet sports industry does not necessarily require a traditional, 4-year, on-campus degree program, or a significant and often debt-laden financial commitment?

McMahon Careers recently announced the launch of the Certified Racquet Sports Management (CRSM) Certificate program. The program was created to help develop the next generation of energized, entrepreneurial, and well-equipped racquet sports professionals. The CRSM program will help students take the first steps in preparation for a long and successful career, as well as help the industry become better resourced for continued growth, and sustainable, long-term success. Initially through launching the program, and over time as we celebrate CRSM graduates, the program will advocate for the amazing career opportunities in the racquet sports industry.

The CRSM Certificate program curriculum prepares students for introductory positions as Tennis, Pickleball, Platform Tennis, and Padel teaching professionals, as well as other entry-level racquet sports industry roles in operations, management, and administration. The business skills introduced and developed through the program will also prepare students for other racquet sports industry positions that can include manufacturer sales representatives, pro shop and retail managers, college or high school coaches, tournament directors, and racquet sports industry administrators. In addition to 270 hours of live virtual classroom learning over 9 months, each student will prepare for, and complete the Level 1 Instructor Certification requirements administered by USPTA and PTR. Students will also participate in and complete a 400+ hour, paid summer industry lab internship. My hope is that those of you with a passion for our industry and a desire to see its long-term success and sustainability will start to share your “why”, as well as information about all of the “hows”, including the new CRSM Certificate program, with those whom you influence. To get the conversation started, why not ask your junior players - those entering, and about to graduate high school; What do you want to be when you grow up?*

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Triumph of a Tennis Teaching Pro Overcoming Major Medical Hurdles From Surgery to Serve:

Kaitlin Tsue, a USPTA Certified Professional from our Southern California division, has always been drawn to the sport of tennis. Kaitlin started playing tennis at four years of age. She said tennis has always been a place where she has found solace and strength. After high school, she played at El Camino College in Torrence, Calif. As she grew older, her passion for the game blossomed into a career aspiration. She said she wanted to become a tennis teaching professional, sharing her love for the sport with others.

Life had other plans for Kaitlin. Katilin has had to live with grand mal seizures throughout her life. At the age of 12, she underwent major brain surgery. Half of her brain was removed, called a hemispherectomy, to eliminate or lessen the severity of the seizures. She has undergone 13 total surgeries, with the most recent being in 2022, and while the surgeries have been effective, Tsue still suffers from seizures today.

Tsue has taken her medical condition on, and with all the hurdles put in front of her, has kept her spirit, energy and love for the sport. In 2015, she expressed to her family that she wanted to stay in the industry and wanted to share her passion for tennis by teaching others the game she has loved her entire life.

Tsue was introduced to Lee DeYoung, a 43-year USPTA Elite Professional, also

from the Southern California division, and former head certification tester with the organization. With the assistance and sponsorship of Jerrold and Jacqueline Glass, Tsue was able to pursue her dream. For two years, DeYoung worked with

Kaitlin four hours a day, five days a week to prepare for certification. In October of 2017, Tsue was able to complete all testing and education requirements of the professional pathway and become a Certified Professional with the USPTA.

Tsue teaches wheelchair tennis at Biola University with head coach Dee Henry and is a tennis teaching professional with the Special Olympics.

“I love adaptive tennis and want to instill with anyone I coach, to be comfortable, happy and have fun when playing tennis”, Tsue said.

Tsue still has participated in the Special Olympics in Tennis for the last four-to-five years. She has played multiple times at the Xperience Tennis Tournament, which takes place in Charlottesville, Va. This tournament occurs once per year and is an invitation-only tournament for the best Special Olympics tennis players in the country. The invitational kicks off with a unified clinic, where athletes team up with members of the University of Virginia's men's and women's tennis teams. They then move on to a three-to-four-day tournament.

Katilin is the only USPTA member actively teaching and coaching who has undergone a hemispherectomy. With each serve, each volley, she embodies the indomitable power of the human spirit, a testament to the unwavering resolve that carried her through the darkest of days. Through sheer determination, she has transformed her pain into purpose, her adversity into opportunity. And as she guides her students with passion and grace, she serves as a living testament to the boundless potential that lies within each of us, proving that no obstacle is insurmountable when met with unwavering determination and an unyielding spirit.*

President. Trish Faulkner First Vice President Mark Faber Vice Presidents Jason Gilbert, Jenny Gray, Kevin Theos, Rob Scott, Milos Vasovic Immediate Past President Rich Slivocka CEO Brian Dillman Legal Counsel George Parnell ADDVANTAGE MAGAZINE Editor Collin Brazan Layout/Design Kerry Schneeman Editorial Assistance Jim Stockwell, Ellen Weatherford, Laumaur Lindsay, Brian Dillman, Ramona Husaru Circulation Tim Baum USPTA World Headquarters 11961 Performance Dr. Orlando, FL 32827 407-634-3050 – 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. 2024. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any portion of the magazine is not permitted without written permission from the USPTA. MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT UPDATE
Jim Stockwell, USPTA Director of Membership
60 - ADDvantage Magazine | May 2024
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