USPTA Midwest Connection Newsletter - Winter 2021

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MIDWESTconnection Winter 2021

Join us - Midwest Winter Forum, Forum , a Virtual Conference • One fee, $45 for three 3-hour days • Miss a live webinar? View online within 2 weeks • Receive USPTA education credits when viewing live, 1 hour = 1 credit.

From the Midwest Division President Greetings Pros, I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy as we move through this second wave of COVID that is hitting the Midwest. Once again, some of us are open for business as usual while clubs in other areas are either closed or limited in what they can offer. Keep moving forward and optimize wherever you can given the current rules in your area and your clientele’s willingness to stay on the courts. I think we all know that tennis is one of the safer options for recreation and exercise based on social distancing so let’s keep spreading the word and growing the game. I am happy to let you know that we have partnered with all five of our Midwest state High School Tennis Coaches Associations to bring you our first virtual Winter Forum. The past years the Midwest USPTA has been lucky enough to spread out and join each of the state associations at their educational venues. This year we are all joining together for a Midwest USPTA virtual event. This event will be spread out over three days to allow the maximum flexibility for people to catch some live presentations while also offering the ability to watch on your own schedule. We are excited to build on what we learned hosting our November virtual event and are raising the bar to an even higher level. See inside for details and watch your email and social media for updates as we get closer to the big event. We hope you will continue to support these educational opportunities and spread the word to pros and coaches in your area.

United States Professional Tennis Association

It is the time of year for all of you to help us recognize deserving Midwest USPTA pros for their work during 2020. We know there are pros out there that came through this difficult year and made a difference in their part of the Midwest. If you know a pro that was able to go above and beyond in 2020 please take a moment to nominate them for a Midwest award. Details and instructions are inside.

Midwest Division Newsletter

As always, stay connected to those around you, both near and far. Ask for help if you need it and offer assistance and support where you can. Sometimes a simple call and a quick catching up can be all it takes to make someone else’s day! Here is to a wonderful New Year! May your 2021 be happy, healthy and prosperous. Regards,

Mike Graff Midwest President

Thanks to our partners and endorsees for their support

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USPTA and ATA Partner to Further Provide Minority Participation and Opportunities in Tennis The USPTA today announced it will partner with the American Tennis Association (ATA) to provide extensive educational opportunities to ATA coaches. As part of the agreement, the USPTA is committed to granting Free Access to USPTA division conferences and the USPTA World Conference to a select number of ATA and HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) coaches. In addition, ATA coaches will have access to the USPTA’s education website, Slated for August 3-8, 2021, at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, FL, the USPTA will support the ATA National Championships with seminars for coaches in attendance and education for players and parents. The USPTA is dedicated to providing ATA members and coaches of HBCU institutions with robust educational workshops to elevate their coaching and teaching standards. The USPTA holds a strong belief in making both capital improvements to tennis facilities and establishing Professional Tennis Management (PTM) programs at HBCUs. To attract coaches of color to our industry, HBCUs need to improve their facilities to be on par with other major universities across the country. By creating a PTM program at one or two HBCUs, candidates who seek to become a tennis-teaching professional will better understand the pathway to an exciting career in tennis. In return for this commitment, the USPTA will be the exclusive tennis teaching organization of the ATA. “I’m ecstatic about partnering with the ATA,” said John Embree, CEO, USPTA. “Inviting ATA members to become certified professionals or certified instructors of the USPTA will be mutually beneficial as we usher in the next great group of tennis-teaching professionals.” Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1916, with its mission to elevate black tennis, the ATA is the oldest and longest-running African American sports organization in the country. “The exposure granted to ATA members and HBCU coaches through USPTA programming and training offers incredible opportunity to improve how tennis is delivered to our community,” said Roxanne Aaron, President, ATA.

2020 Officers

President Mike Graff • 248-866-0508 Regional Vice President Matt Davis • 224-247-2483 Second Vice President John Frausto • 920-860-0751 Third Vice President Cathy Thomas • 513-218-0782 Treasurer-Secretary Matt Boughton • 715-559-3168 Past President Scott Ansay • 262-241-4250 Executive Director Carol L. Anderson - 503.941.5137

State Presidents

Ohio Nick Bennett • 703-995-5057 Wisconsin Dan Oliver • 920-227-7005 Illinois Lindsay L. Geiger • 773-960-4117 Michigan Chip Fazio • 313-670-3277 Indiana Umang Chadda • 309-255-3224 Head Tester Mike Lange • 630-978-6746

USPTA World Headquarters 800-USPTA-4U

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Register Our varied speakers include high school coaches, USPTA professionals, a chiropractor, a professor, a performance analyst and RacquetFit. $45 for three 3-hour days, plus extended viewing Friday, Feb. 26, 5-8pm EST Jorge Capestany, USPTA Master Professional – Manager of DeWitt Tennis Center and entrepreneur Best Drills for High School Tennis Practices Wendy Whitlinger - Author and Tennis Coach A Program for Coaches to Teach Mental Toughness. Mark Faber, USPTA Elite Professional - Director of Tennis and High School Coach Building a Team/Staff: Brick by Brick Friday, March 5, 5-8pm EST Dr. Sean Drake, D.C. - Chiropractor and Vice President of RacquetFit Returning Your Athlete to Perform Safely after COVID in Tennis Whitney Moore, PhD. CSCS - Assistant Professor and Center Researcher Coaching the Whole Athlete by Creating a Caring Climate Tim Cleland - winningest coach in Indiana High School Tennis history Pandemic? Quarantine? How Tennis Coaches and Pros Can Navigate Covid Saturday, March 6, 3-6pm EST Len Simard, USPTA Master Professional - Director of Racquets & Search Executive Preparing Yourself for the Next Career Opportunity Jason Frausto - specialist in performance analysis Targets, Ball Types, and Anticipation Bruce Gullickson, USPTA Elite Professional Assistant Department Head Bloomington (MN) Lifetime Commonly Neglected Areas of Training for High School and Club Players 4 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

Education and Safe Play Requirements Many of you have inquired about the current education requirements for remaining a member in good standing, including continuing education credits and Safe Play approval. To maintain membership, all USPTA certified members are required to complete the following: 1. Complete the education requirement every three years 2. Complete SafePlay and Background Check requirements/maintain approved status 1. Education Requirement Previously, Certified Professionals were required to obtain 6 continuing education credits every three years, which was the equivalent of 12 hours. Each hour of engagement gave members .5 education credits. The new format for education credits includes a new 1:1 ratio. This means that each hour of engagement will grant members one full credit. Additional credits will be offered for USPTA face-to-face events and new certification workshops. As of January 1, 2021, the education requirement has changed to 15 credits every three years. International members and those over the age of 65 are exempt. USPTA Members have different continuing education periods that coincide with the date they completed the certification exam or reinstated their membership. You may check your continuing education period and status on your report card here. Below is an explanation of the different education periods. a. USPTA certified members with an education period ending on Dec. 31, 2021, or Dec. 31, 2022, will continue with the prior credit requirement (which is now 12 credits with the formula change) until their current education period ends. The new education requirement of 15 credits every three years will begin once their current education period ends. b. USPTA certified members with a continuing education requirement period starting on Jan. 1, 2021, and ending on Dec. 31, 2023, are now required to earn 15 credits to maintain their membership. This will apply to all subsequent Continuing Education Periods. 2. Safe Play and Background Check All active members of the USPTA teaching in the continental U.S. are also required to become Safe Play approved through the USTA. Safe Play Approval includes the completion of Safe Sport training (1.5-2 hours), acknowledging the terms and conditions, and submitting and clearing a background check through NCSI. All of these components are completed by visiting and clicking “Get Safe Play Approved”. Failure to comply with Safe Play will result in suspended membership. All USPTA members are responsible for maintaining their approved Safe Play status and continuing education compliance throughout the year. Members’ Education Report Card can be found by accessing the Members Documents section of your account page. Members who do not meet their education requirement within their three-year education window will eventually have their membership DROPPED and will have to complete a reinstatement process in order to return to Active Status. Winter 2021 Midwest Connection 5

2020 USPTA Midwest Awards Application


reetings fellow certified teaching professionals! It is award time for 2019! Please read the award descriptions. Self-nominations are welcome but if you know of someone that would be a great candidate please don’t hesitate to nominate him/her. It’s the ultimate compliment! Please read the form guidelines carefully as applications are all ONLINE ONLY now! Our division, as well as national have strict deadlines. The Midwest Division deadline for applications and nominations is March 15, 2021. To access each individual award, go to this direct link

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you all for thinking of your fellow USPTA certified teaching pros as we look for fantastic nominations! Regards, Cathy Thomas 513.218.0782

USPTA MIDWEST AWARDS CATEGORIES 2020 Tentatively, awards will be presented during the Summer Symposium in Cincinnati the evening of August 19, 2021. Details to follow.

COLLEGE COACH OF THE YEAR – Award recipient is selected based on his/her results as a college team coach. Nominee may be nominated for success during the 2020 college year or for long term commitment and continued success as a college team coach. Include both Spring and Fall schedules and data. NDIVIDUAL JUNIOR COACH AND TOURING COACH OF THE YEAR This award is for those who currently coach a playing professional on the ATP World Tour or the WTA Tour, ITF Satellite Tours or touring juniors and/or adult teams for period of January 1 – December 31, 2020. HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR – Award recipient is selected based on his/her results as a high school team coach. Nominee may be nominated for success during the 2020 High School season or for long term commitment and continued success as a high school coach. FACILITY MANAGER OF THE YEAR – Large Facility: 9 or more courts, Small Facility: 8 or less courts. This nominee may be a non-member or a USPTA Midwest member. Nominee need not be a General Manager by name but must function in the position of Manager of a USTA Member facility. The facility itself is not eligible for the award. MIDWEST PRO OF THE YEAR – This award recognizes a member who has demonstrated exemplary achievement in seven areas throughout their career – contributions to the USPTA and USTA, achievements in teaching and playing both on and off the court, contributions of time and expertise to other organizations and/ or charities and commitment to growing the game through published articles, presentations, education and communications. Use online USPTA Alex Gordon application. STATE PROS OF THE YEAR (WI, IL, IN, MI & OH) – This award recognizes a member in each state who has demonstrated exemplary achievement in these areas during 2020 only – contributions to the USPTA and USTA, achievements in teaching and playing both on and off the court, contributions of time and expertise to other organizations and/or charities and commitment to growing the game through published articles, presentations, education and communications. Use online USPTA Alex Gordon application. 6 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

CHARITY EVENT OF THE YEAR (LESSONS FOR LIFE) – Over $10,000 and Under $10,000 – The award will be divided into two subcategories to honor the many ways USPTA Professionals contribute to charities in their area, events raising less than $10,000 and events raising more than $10,000. An event may win the award only once in a category. Recreational Coach may apply for either Charity Event of the Year award. NANCY MICKLER MEMORIAL AWARD – Presented to the Midwest woman member who has done the most to promote tennis within the Midwest. Use online USPTA Star Award application. FAY TOOLEY MEMORIAL AWARD – Presented to the Midwest member who has done the most to promote the USPTA and tennis but has not received notoriety. Use online USPTA Star Award application. MIDWEST DIVERSITY AWARD – recognizes the USPTA member who has demonstrated an outstanding ability to unite diverse populations within his/her community through tennis. ELEVATE AWARD (formerly 30 AND UNDER)– This award is presented to a current USPTA member who is under the age of 30 during the 2020 calendar year. This member exemplifies the future of the organization and he/she must show dedication to the growth of the game and the desire to learn all aspects of the business of being a USPTA professional. This nominee must show initiative and be involved in activities in their respective districts. This member needs to demonstrate sportsmanship, teamwork and willingness to reach out to other U30 members in the USPTA through social media or direct contact. This award winner should have served on a committee, task force or initiated a program to help fellow members. INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARD – The USPTA Industry Excellence Award recognizes a USPTA certified professional with a unique entrepreneurial spirit that has done the most to develop unique special events, programs, and/or equipment, services or ideas to promote tennis. Please submit the nomination in reference to events that took place between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

2021 Certification Tests & Upgrades

ON STAYING POSITIVE Denny Schackter, Elite Professional; Waukesha, Wis. I thoroughly love watching my fellow teaching pros on the court. I love comparing styles, communication, enthusiasm and knowledge. More times than not, I discover something that I can add to my teaching and, perhaps, make me a better Pro. Sometimes, I observe an occurrence that I wish I could go down on the court and tell the Pro you might want to handle that statement a bit differently. I am sure you have all been in that same boat.

Jan 31 Eau Claire, Wis. Eau Claire YMCA Tennis Center

Recently, I watched a younger pro giving a group lesson. He was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and personable. The way he handled a correction to a student, in my mind, could have been handled better.

Feb. 21 Aurora, Ill. Rush-Copley Healthplex Feb.21 Eau Claire, Wis. Eau Claire YMCA Tennis Center March 14, West Bloomfield, Mich., The Sports Club of West Bloomfield March 14 Aurora, Ill. Rush-Copley Healthplex *schedule subject to change

Years ago, I observed an older pro give instruction and one thing really stood out. Before vocalizing a correction, he told the student something positive. An example might be, “I loved your footwork on that shot. It was a thing to behold, but you got there so fast you over ran the ball. Let’s take smaller steps as you approach the ball and you will see the results.” He started with a positive and finished with a correction. I wish younger pros, such as the one I observed, could have watched the older Pro I watched years ago. I truly feel in this difficult game how we sell and how we teach determines success or not. A positive statement before the negative one, will keep more students in the game. Keep up the quality work and we will find more players to enjoy our great sport.

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The Secret of Learning Faster


Kirk Anderson, USPTA Master Professional; Portland, Ore.

reat coaches always seek new information that leads to learning more quickly and effectively. Based on a new study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, there are ways that proved to be simple and beneficial. By implementing these changes in your practices, you will see a difference in how quickly your students develop and improve their skills. Players will not improve without practice, but what is most important is the way they practice. The example for this article will be ways to improve the serve, a skill that is practiced with a similar routine during most training sessions. Serving practice is generally done with fixed conditions. The server stands behind the baseline and hits the ball over the net into the service court. This is repeated over and over. While repetition is beneficial, it did not improve skills as quickly as possible and players could even stop improving if the repetitions became stale. According to the research from Johns Hopkins, “What we found is if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row.” The reason is reconsolidating, a term the researchers used to describe the process where existing knowledge stored in the memory bank is recalled and modified with new knowledge. In other words, players remember what they previously learned and layer on new knowledge.

In theory, and something that most of us have followed, hitting from behind the baseline into the service court over and over again will ingrain the right motions into muscle memory so accuracy and consistency improve. This, in fact, does happen, but a better and faster way to improve is to slightly adjust the conditions in your serving practice sessions. If you make the conditions just a little different, you engage the reconsolidating process, so players recall what they already know and add new knowledge. These changes should only be small modifications. If your players are doing something too different, this causes new learning rather than reconsolidating and building on existing knowledge. “If you make the altered task too different, people do not get the gain we observed during reconsolidating,” the researchers say. “The modifications need to be subtle.” 1 Be careful about practicing with modifications before a skill is leaned and can be recalled. This will not enable players to add new knowledge to existing skills because they have not had time for the skill to become an old skill in their memory bank. The key to improvement is making small modifications, evaluating the results and refining what is working. When you modify the conditions after a skill can be performed well, players can do the skill even better. Let’s put these ideas into practice using the serve. 1. Perform the basic skill by practicing the serve under normal conditions. Next, have

players hit serves to a specific target in the service court. The server should be better than just hitting in the service court because that is what happens with an increased focus during practice. 2. After consistency is established, practice again but this time… • Hit with just a little more speed than normal. Players will make more mistakes, but this is okay. They are modifying old knowledge with new knowledge which is how improvement occurs. • Hit a little slower than normal. Again, mistakes will be made that weren’t apparent at the faster speed. 3. Serve from three feet behind the baseline. Players will have to hit up more on the serve. 4. Serve from three feet inside the baseline. Will your players use more spin to pull the ball down more quickly in the court? 5. Select other ways to modify the serve - anything goes. Examples would be to use red or orange balls or serve after a few sideline-to-sideline sprints. Making small modifications to let your players learn new information is very effective for improving motor skills. The point is not to do the same thing over and over again where players become stale and practice without having to think. Slight modifications make your practices more interesting and challenging and your players will layer on new knowledge over existing knowledge for faster learning.

Pablo A. Celnik, “Want to Learn a New Skill? Faster? Change Up Your Practice Sessions,” Current Biology, Jan. 28, 2016


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For My M y o p i c Colleagues in This Time of Covid-19 Chip Fazio, Elite Professional, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. I mean “myopic” in only the strictest most literal sense of the word. That is, those of us who are nearsighted and wear glasses to play and teach.

Foggy glasses

Masks make my glasses fog up! I have tried many different masks and many different anti-fogging products on my glasses. I have had little to no success in preventing my glasses from fogging while wearing a mask. It is super-annoying!

My solution comes from the medical industry. “Paper tape” is available in the first aid section of pharmacies as well as online. It is designed for medical dressings that need to be changed often, so it is minimally irritating to skin. Take a length of paper tape, lay it ½ width across the top of your mask. Stick the top half of the tape across your nose and upper cheek. So, you tape the top of your mask to your nose and upper cheeks. Medical paper tape

It is the only thing that has allowed me to teach comfortably with a mask and glasses on. (Actually, I recommend the 3M brand. I find it a little more comfortable than the store brand pictured.) In a pinch though, I have used painter’s tape. Fog-free glasses

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Find your perfect tennis products at or call 800.374.6153. 10% discount for USPTA members on all purchases greater than $500. NetKnacks will make a 3% contribution to individual USPTA Supplemental Savings Accounts on qualifying purchases. Not a member of USPTA, but would like a discount? Mention this ad to receive 10% off your next order greater than $500 on regular priced items. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer.

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A new take on an old bird – the Tennis or Paddle Match-Up Tournament Mike Graff, USPTA Elite Professional; Birmingham, Mich. Many of you are likely familiar with the Albatross doubles tournament format. The best player is partnered with the weakest player, the second-best player is partnered with the next weakest player and so on. Often your strong players may resist playing in this format to avoid being matched with such a weak partner and your weakest players may resist playing in order to avoid feeling like they let their partner down. The format below attempts to solve this problem by taking the best part of the Albatross, evenly matched teams, and adds the fun and reduced pressure of changing

Round 1 1/16 vs 4/13 2/15 vs 3/14 5/12 vs 8/9 6/11 vs 7/10

partners each round. Players sign up as individuals, are ranked from strongest to weakest, and numbered #1-#16. Players are divided into four levels: 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, and 13-16. These “quarters of the draw” are then partnered in an Albatross like way matching each level for one round with all other levels. For example, for the first round of play the top four players are teamed with the lowest four players. The second round has the top four players teamed with players 9-12. The third round has the top four players teamed with players 5-8 and the final round has the top

Round 2 1/12 vs 3/10 2/11 vs 4/9 5/16 vs 7/14 6/15 vs 8/13

Round 3 1/8 vs 2/7 3/6 vs 4/5 9/16 vs 10/15 11/14 vs 12/13

four players playing with each other. This final round should be the most competitive of the day with each level playing themselves. If rounds are based on a specific number of games played, the winner could be determined based on the most games won. If rounds are based on time, the winner could be determined by percentage of games won. This is a great “meet them all” type of event with no players sitting out and allows a range of levels to compete together in a social yet competitive format.

Round 4 1/4 vs 2/3 5/8 vs 6/7 9/12 vs 10/11 13/16 vs 14/15 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection 11

Recommendations for Maintaining a Coach-Athlete Relationship during the COVID-19 Pandemic Keith McShan & Whitney Moore, Wayne State University One of the most rewarding experiences as a coach is the relationship built with an athlete. Often times we may not remember the wins and losses; however, we will remember the athletes who made us better coaches, the ones who challenged us, and the athletes who go from athlete to lifelong friend. There is no denying that for coaches and athletes the coachathlete relationship is an important part of the athletic experience. From the athlete’s perspective having a strong coach-athlete relationship has many positive benefits. Strong coach athlete relationships for athletes have been correlated with positive personal and social skills among athletes, goal setting, initiative and lower rates of negative experiences (Vella et al., 2013). This article will discuss what the coach-athlete relationship is, how to foster it, and some practical ways to work on the coach-athlete relationship, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coach-athlete relationship can be defined as a relationship that takes into account the complementarity nature, closeness, and co-ordination (the 3 C’s) that athletes and coaches have with one another (Jowett & Cockerill, 2003). Complementarity means how well we can work together. Closeness refers to the emotional tone (trust, respect, liking one another) that both parties describe when they talk about their relationship. Lastly, co-orientation refers to developing a common framework, which involves a set of shared goals, values, beliefs, and expectations (Jowett & Cockerill, 2003). All three of these components are important when referring to the coach-athlete 12 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

relationship. Poor coach-athlete relationships occur when athletes experience a performance based, comparative motivational climate, lack emotional closeness with their coach, and feel that the use of complementary resources are not used effectively (Jowett & Cockerill, 2003; Olympiou et al., 2008). Athletes have reported that having a level of respect, commitment and, belief by the coach helped in developing the coach-athlete relationship (Jowett & Cockerill, 2003). Athletes have reported higher quality coach-athlete relationships in a sport setting where they are rewarded for individual improvement and mastery of their sport and that mistakes are treated as part of the learning process, so they will not be penalized for making mistakes (Olympiou et al., 2008). During the COVID-19 pandemic it may be harder to connect with athletes. Below are some ways to meet the 3 C’s of the coach-athlete relationship during this unpreceded time.

Complementarity Ideas 1. If you have film on your athletes consider creating a highlight video for them. This is a memory they will have for a lifetime. The video can be used as motivation for when they will be in that tournament in the future. You can also create skill specific videos for them to use with mental imagery practice to develop or maintain technique. 2. If you are able to practice consider designing drills and activities toward athletes’ improvements, including tracking their progress

on specific drills or skills. If not in person, athletes can send videos of their form for feedback. 3. Create a virtual academy. Design workouts such as footwork workouts athletes can do at home. You can offer these as a live or recorded session. A live session would allow you to work with athletes in real time. Having the same training group together during these sessions can help maintain group cohesion and support.

Closeness Ideas 1. Consider sending out positive messages to your athletes. Either a text, email, card or letter in the mail. This lets them know you are thinking about them and will aid in their respect for you. Sending them reminders about previous events and memorable moments (matches, tournaments, moments from previous practices) also helps to maintain connection with your athletes and let them know that even if you aren’t being able to meet as regularly as before, you still think of them and value them. 2. Check in on athletes’ mental health during this time. Let them know that you are there for them and make sure they know you value their mental health in these times. You may not have all the answers, however just making them feel like they are more than just an athlete to you is important. 3. Consider putting on your calendar all your athlete’s birthdays. This helps your athlete know that you care. Continued on page 12

Continued from page 11

Recommendations for Maintaining a Coach-Athlete Relationship during the COVID-19 Pandemic Co-orientation Ideas 1. Hold Zoom call check-ins with your athletes. This will help keep open lines of communication with your athletes during this time. Consider doing this with multiple athletes at the same time to help them have peer social support. 2. Develop your coaching philosophy and put it in writing. You may want to include thingssuch as: your vision statement, athlete development plan, qualities you look for in a player and your program expectations. 3. Use this time to develop goals with your athletes. Teaching athletes how to develop their own goals builds an important skill. You can use this as an opportunity to help them transfer this and other skills learned in sport to other aspects of their life. Often times coaches are like extended parents to their athletes. Developing a relationship that takes into account the complementary nature, closeness and co-ordination between the athlete and coach is imperative. During these challenging times remember that as coaches you do make a difference to your athletes on and off the court.

Dr. Moore will be a speakers at our virtual conference on March 5. References Jowett, S., & Cockerill, I. M. (2003). Olympic medallists’ perspective of the althlete-coach relationship. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 4(4), 313–331. S1469-0292(02)00011-0 Jowett, S. (2003). When the “Honeymoon” Is Over: A Case Study of a Coach-Athlete Dyad in Crisis. Sport Psychologist, 17(4), 444–460. Olympiou, A., Jowett, S., & Duda, J. L. (2008). The psychological interface between the coach-created motivational climate and the coach-athlete relationship in team sports. Sport Psychologist, 22(4), 423–438. https://doi. org/10.1123/tsp.22.4.423 Vella, S. A., Oades, L. G., & Crowe, T. P. (2013). The relationship between coach leadership, the coach-athlete relationship, team success, and the positive developmental experiences of adolescent soccer players. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 18(5), 549–561. .2012.726976





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Taking Care of Your Voice Chip Fazio, Elite Professional, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. One of the primary ways we communicate with our students is through our voice. Our voice has the potential to be one of the most expressive tools we have at our disposal. Yet most teaching pros do not give much thought to developing and protecting their voice. Our voices are vulnerable to injury in our chosen profession. This article is about protecting and projecting your voice. It is even more relevant during the Covid-19 epidemic as many of us are teaching with a mask on.

Warming Up Just like other parts of your body, your vocal apparatus needs to be warmed up. Like any warmup, begin slowly, do not strain with any of this. A good time to warm up is as you are driving to the club or court, or in the shower where the humid air is beneficial. One of my vocal coaches got me to think of the Adam Sandler Saturday Night Live character, “Opera Man”. Opera Man would say everything in an over-the-top booming, jovial operatic voice. You can find Opera Man on YouTube. Yes, it will seem a little goofy. But the exaggerated affect can help you project and support your voice. Aside from the vocal technique, it can get you laughing and not taking yourself too seriously, which is a great thing to bring into a tennis lesson!

Warm Up Using the “Opera Man” Voice: 1. Good posture is vital, do not slouch. Make sure you stand or sit, tall, balanced, yet relaxed with your rib cage expanded, throat and mouth relaxed. Just like in a tennis match, we need to be relaxed yet strong and alert. Take a few deep breaths with your chest 14 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

expanded, so that your abdomen moves in and out as you breath. Exhale with a long slow “shhhh…” sound. 2. Start soft and gradually with a soft “la” hit a note in the low part of your range. Move it to the midrange and then to the middlehigh part of your range and back down. 3. Repeat #2 but instead of varying the pitch, vary the volume of your voice. Start soft and gradually increase to a medium-loud volume. 4. Start soft with a note in your midrange and gradually drop the note until you are hitting the lowest note you possibly can. Hitting a low note means relaxing your entire vocal apparatus, mouth, throat, and chest. I find that when I get my vocal apparatus relaxed, my body and mind is relaxed as well. 5. Add consonants, clear consonants will help your students understand you with less volume. Pick a few random consonant sounds and run through vowel sound. For example, say “Dee-day-dah-doe-doo; Meemay-mah-moe-moo; see-saysah-soe-soo”. Exaggerate the consonant sound more than you would normally.

Other Tips: •

Remember your voice is directional. You must be facing your students for them to hear you. For even more directional voice projection, cupping your hands around your mouth is surprisingly effective. Consider using a whistle to call a large class to order.

Consider investing in a wireless microphone and portable PA system. It may not be possible in all situations. But if you teach large classes or oversee several courts at once, a PA system and wireless mic can be a great tool.

Remember, even if you have a mic, your voice is still vulnerable to injury. You still need to warm up and use proper technique.

When Your Voice is Injured On the occasions when you feel you have injured your voice, like any other injury you want to allow it to heal. Rest, if you can. Try a completely silent day. This will allow your voice to heal with no stress at all. Since you can’t wear a brace or KT Tape on your voice, the only thing you can do is rest it. If you cannot take time off, get one of your up-and-coming assistant coaches to take the lead in group lessons. You can still be on court, but they will be doing most of the talking. It is a good chance to push your assistants and get them trained up. Drink hot Tim Hortons honey lemon tea. I think it works best with lots of sugar or honey. Breath in the steam as you drink. Use a steamer. Boil water, then take it off the heat and inhale the steam. Add peppermint oil to the hot water.

One Last Note After we learn to project and protect our voice, the next level is to think about and develop the quality of voice we want to use in our profession. In other words, the nonverbal aspect of our voices. For example, loud, soft, happy, sad, encouraging, funny, serious, etc. I suggest using your phone’s Continued on page 14

Teaching Adult Beginners the Same as 10 and Under Players? Adam Ford, USPTA Elite Professional; Co-Director of PTM Hope College In my years of teaching tennis, I have seen the way we teach 10 and under players evolve so much. Using modified equipment, different transition balls and progressing from 36 ft. to 60 ft. to the 78 ft. court. Although I have seen many clubs and coaches adopt using these resources and equipment, I have not seen many try to use it with any other age groups or demographics. We sometimes limit ourselves to believing that this equipment is only acceptable for ages 10 and younger. The reason we use this modified equipment is to teach our young students how to rally and play at an early age, right? What I believe we forget is that the majority of these young players are still categorized as beginners. So, why don’t we use the same equipment and teaching methods for beginners of all ages? I think we should try it and this how we can do it. At the Hope College Professional Tennis Management Program in Holland, Mich., we have a Kinesiology class dedicated to teaching tennis to beginners. This is a class that I teach with my PTM students to Hope Col-

lege students with little to no tennis experience. We have these students for 14 weeks, 2 days a week for 1 hour each class. I know what you are thinking, that is a lot of time to work with beginners and progress them and you don’t have that much time and space at your club to work with beginners. You may be right; however, it is the first 3-4 weeks of our class that is the most important and this is where I believe if you do not have an adult beginner program in place, this may help you. In these 6-8 classes, we progress through all the different balls and court sizes. It is important that our students know exactly what they are getting themselves into. We need to let these future students know that we will be teaching them with different equipment to help get them rallying and playing the game more rapidly. For us it’s a race to the “rally” not a race to the yellow ball. Here is a brief example of the first few weeks of our class:

• We start with red balls on a 36 ft.

court, and yes, we even have our students use 21 in. racquets. Right out of the gate, we are able to have

the students rally. We introduce the forehand, backhand and volleys along the way. We will also throw in rallies with topspin or slice as well. Then we wrap the class up with a quick tournament of tiebreakers. In a one-hour class we have our students already playing out points, also understanding a scoring system that they will use in later classes.

• Our next step is orange balls on a 60 ft. court with 25 in. racquets. This is the area that we begin to work on serving and playing out shortened sets, singles and doubles.

• We continue a very similar lesson

plan headed to a 78 ft. court with the green ball and 27 in. racquets.

In 6-8 classes we have our players progressing through all the different types of balls and court sizes. Our players can serve, rally and play. It may not be flawless quite yet, but they can play tennis. These players can now graduate into a majority of our existing adult programs. Just try it. You will be amazed at how many new members and players you obtain.

Taking Care of Your Voice Continued from page 13

voice recorder to record some of your lessons. Listen to those recordings and decide where you can improve your use of your voice in class. We have a great idiom that shows the relationship between body, mind, and voice. When we get nervous, we “choke”. The muscles in our neck and

throat literally tense up. That tension shows in our voice. And is communicated to people around us. Conversely, I believe that the qualities we develop in our voice will be reflected in our body and attitude. We will then automatically communicate those qualities to our students. Winter 2021 Midwest Connection 15

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Six Feet Please! Mario Mousoupetros, USPTA Professional, Senior at Ferris State PTM Program The tennis courts have always been an oasis for people to let loose and have some fun, whether it is adults decompressing after work, kids burning pent up energy, or retirees relishing their free time. This kind of fun is needed by people now more than ever as they battle the pandemic. Luckily, fun is something tennis pros are equipped to provide! With the right planning, tennis is an activity that can still be enjoyed during the time of COVID-19. The following tips are designed to help coaches keep lessons socially distanced and safe.

Grab a spot

nate the tennis balls.

Kids can struggle with boundaries. Think back to all the times someone almost got clonked with a racquet because they could not wait for their turn. This is where poly spots come in. Those rubber discs you have sitting under your ball cart can make great boundaries when imaginary ones just don’t cut it. You can place poly spots down to show where to stand for drills and breaks. Even adults can use the reminder now and then. Just make sure you are the only one who is handling the spots to prevent contamination.

For drills that require students to serve, have students bring their own can of balls. The students can label their balls with their initials and ensure they are the only one who touches them. Balls that are not the student’s can be tapped back to their opponent with their

Have a ball! As the coach, try to ensure you are the only one to touch the tennis balls from non-serving drills by picking them up yourself. If students pick up the balls, they could accidentally drift too close together during the process. They could also potentially contami16 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

Size matters Try to keep class sizes small. Ideally, a group lesson should not have more than 4-6 students. Try to limit the amount of people on each side of the court as well. Circle drills with stations will help people keep their distance. For example, rather than running a king of the court style doubles drill, a doubles drill could be run with teams of three on each side of the court. The teams could rotate one student at the base-

line, one at net, and one waiting out at the curtain.

Timing is everything Tell your students to avoid showing up early for their lessons if possible. This will reduce the risk of contact with other people while waiting in cramped quarters around the courts. Knowledge is power Inform students of the safety protocols you have put in place ahead of time. This way, they can come ready to play under the new systems.

Trust the experts Always keep up to date with the government’s latest public safety guidelines. They are your greatest defense to help protect you and your students. Websites run by the CDC and WHO are great resources as well. Stay safe out there!

Building a Foundation Fundamentals of Tennis Tactics Derek Ameel, USPTA Elite Tennis Professional; Professional Tennis Management Director, Assistant Professor, Ferris State University Before we talk about the tactics of

the ball back where it came from. Also,

shots that benefit their playing style.

tennis, we first must define the term

try to center the ball by hitting within

An aggressive baseliner might devel-

strategy. Strategy is your overall game

the 60-foot court blue sidelines.

op a pattern of serving out wide on the

plan on how you will compete against your opponent, such as hitting to a weaker side or attacking short balls and moving in. A more in-depth conversation of strategy would include additional elements like playing styles - an aggressive baseliner, net rusher, counter puncher or all-court player. But for now, we will keep it simple. The plan you will use to accomplish your strategy is called tactics. What are you going to do on each point? If your strategy is to attack short balls and move in, what tactics could you use to create short ball opportunities? Therefore, it makes sense to develop a tactical foundation by understanding the priorities of tactics. The USPTA lists the Tactical Components as consistency, placement, patterns, spins, power, shot selection, and competitive situations. Let us discuss the first four and I will give you some very simple drills on building a foundation using tactical priorities. Since nearly all tennis matches are won by the player who creates the fewest errors, the foundation of tennis is consistency, which should be developed first. When trying to improve consistency, limit direction changes. Errors increase when changing direction off a deep crosscourt ball, so hit

In all these drills players cannot hit a winner or force an error out of their opponent. Instead make the opponent hit an unforced error and see who can last the longest. Drill 1 - Consistency: A simple but effective drill is to have

Ad court, to a right-handed player’s backhand, and then hit the return with their big forehand to the open court. The key is to develop a few key patterns within your style and then force your opponent into your patterns.

players rally from the baselines. Play-

Spin is the next tactical priority to

ers should use half racket speed and

develop, which can elevate your game

hit higher over the net.

to a new level. Adding topspin allows

Once you have developed better consistency, the next tactical component to improve is placement – directing the ball side to side and controlling the depth of the shot. Drill 2 - Direction: now the objective is to change the direction on each ball that is hit to you. You cannot hit the ball back where it came from or you lose the point. Most everyone has used Drill 3 Depth: In this drill you want to hit each ball past the service line. The point is lost on any ball landing in the forecourt. Adding a rope about 4 feet high over the net suspended by two poles can really improve a player’s depth. The point is lost if the ball is not hit over the rope and pass the service line. Consistency and placement (direction and depth) allow players to create patterns of play or a sequence of

you to hit with greater racquet speed, increase net clearance, and assist in bringing the ball back down in play. Backspin can increase depth and keep the ball low, and both can aid in keeping the ball out of the preferred contact point of your opponent. A simple drill to begin with is Drill 4: Spin: Players rally from the baselines using half racket speed for their forehand and backhand groundstrokes. The rule is you must alternate hitting topspin and backspin on every shot. If you hit two topspin or backspin shots in a row, you lose the point. Having players go through these drills is a good way to evaluate their tactical priorities and see what areas they need to further develop. Developing these tactical fundamentals should help build a solid foundation to reduce unforced errors and win more matches.

Winter 2021 Midwest Connection 17

Make Discounts and Promotions Work George Lowe, USPTA Elite Professional; Grand Traverse Resort and Spa If you are like me, you don’t like to

thinking up to get more players on

tion for community court rentals. Non-

discount tennis lessons or programs,

the court. We have very reasonable

members can rent courts at a special

and promotions seem to always fall

private lesson rates and even offer

rate that is higher than member rates.

flat. The same people come back just

a discount when players purchase a

They can reserve courts up to 48

for the promotional period and then

five-lesson package up front. After

hours in advance (less than the week

leave after it ends. It feels like I am

more consideration I figured we would

advance allowed for members) and

devaluing my teaching ability and the

give it a try and see what would hap-

they must put down a 50% non-re-

teaching ability of my pro staff. Enter

pen. Within the first two days of the

fundable deposit. Now there are more


promotion ($50 discount on 5 lesson

nonmembers inside the club. We get

packages) we saw $1600 in sales.

to talk to them. See why they are hesi-

The first week we saw $8000 in lesson

tant about joining, collect their con-

package sales. Right away it made

tact information and start to develop

sense. We took care to make sure that

relationships with them. They tell us

lessons were still profitable, but we

where they play tennis in the winter

were generous with the discount be-

and we get to hear new ideas for ways

cause there were a lot of open courts

they could see themselves joining.

and we did not adjust the pro’s fee for

We also have the opportunity to sell

lessons. The fact is, people still want

them on five lesson packages that are

to be active, get on court and work

discounted, and they get to see why

on their game. With private lessons

the club is so great. Our membership

as the only option, more people have

sales manager has agreed to send

agreed that they need to work on cer-

them all a special club membership

tain aspects of their game during this

promotion after our community court

down time so that when doubles can

rental promotion ends. Brian Tracy,

resume, they will have learned a new

renown sales trainer and speaker says

shot, improved technique or learned a

that by the law of probability, the more

new strategy.

prospects you make contact with, the

The virus has taught me so much about the tennis business that it’s crazy to say but I am thankful for the learning experience. Of course, it has not been easy to offer tennis programming during the pandemic. The positive side of it is we have all had to think outside the box to develop new products and new ways to keep people playing tennis and taking lessons. Recently, I became a believer in discounts and promotions. Right now, our county health department is allowing us to have two households on one court while wearing masks. That includes the pro, so at most we can do privates for 4 players on a court (from the same family) and a pro and singles play or household team doubles. Really, it means we are doing only private lessons and court rentals for singles. Before this limitation, 95% of our court rentals were for doubles play and 50% of our private lessons were for 2 or more players. So how would we entice more players to take privates? Discounts! Initially I was resistant when my boss asked me what discounts I was

18 Winter 2021 Midwest Connection

Promotions. Our club only allows members to rent courts. We have five indoor courts and demand is high.

more sales you make. This is exactly where we are trying to do. These times have definitely disrupt-

For that reason, you must be a guest

ed our ability to run tennis program-

of a member to get on a court without

ming and tennis clubs like we used to.

a pro and pay a guest fee. This guest

Maybe it’s a good thing? Maybe we

play is limited to five times per year.

will finally have the time and space

With the new regulations in Michigan,

to find out how to attract more play-

95% of our court rentals went away.

ers, more people and more members?

Solution? Allow community members

Time will tell, but so far, this time has

to rent courts. During the month of

been a great teacher for our club.

December, we are running a promo-


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