The French Open starts this weekend. Every year, I see a huge spike in players on local courts right around this time. The combo of the tennis-friendly weather and the subliminal messages the brain sends while watching pros play tennis from Paris seems to act as a catalyst to get off the couch and personally hit some balls. This year, when your brain gets that urge, both you and your small fry might decide to improve your skills close to home. Holabird Sports Tennis Camp at UMBC powered by Babolat is a great option for adults and children in the Baltimore Area.
The adult camp is an evening program from June 24-27. The juniors camp has openings for the June 23-28, July 7-12, July 14-19 and July 21-26 programs.
The juniors camp has been in existence for years. Last year, Holabird Sports took on the naming rights and sponsorship with partner Babolat. For twenty years prior to that, Adidas sponsored the camp at UMBC.
Sol Schwartz of Holabird Schwartz is proud of the camp and Holabird’s sponsorship.
The secret weapon of the camp is certainly the coaching staff, led by former pro Rob Hubbard, who has spent over 30 years coaching after an ATP career and stellar college career at the University of Texas Pan-American . Hubbard is a Calvert Hall graduate and a Baltimore native. He serves as Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Tennis programs at UMBC.
Rob was one of my coaches growing up, recalls Schwartz. Rob was coached as a tour player by Lenny Scheurmann. When Lenny started a tennis camp, he brought Rob in. Rob is a gift to any kid who wants to play college tennis.
What makes Rob unique is the experiences that he’s had in the game from a playing standpoint, from a teaching standpoint and a coaching standpoint. He’s got every base covered that a parent who wants to put their kid in a program would want running it.
A kid that’s playing in college still has it in the back of their mind that one day they might go pro. Rob’s been there. From a mechanics standpoint, he can break down any stroke any time to any level and repair it.
Between Coach Hubbard, Oliver Steil, and Robin Hubbard, Rob’s spouse, the camp is loaded with top-notch instructors. Steil is the Assistant Coach at UMBC and a former Division I player at the University of Texas Pan American, while Robin Hubbard was a nationally-ranked player at North Texas University. On top of that, Schwartz himself will offer instruction at the adult camp.
Instructing kids and adults presents different challenges, and the coaches are prepared to give them what they want and what they need.
Schwartz mentioned that “the whole thing with teaching adults is they expect different things out of a lesson. Their primary goal may be to get a workout and the technical side second.”
The 5:1 Instructor to Student ratio also allows for numerous breakout 1-on-1 lessons for each player’s particular needs.
Last year, a wide range of players from their early twenties to their early sixties participated in the adult camp. As Schwartz notes, “age doesn’t dictate performance.”
The juniors camp now has full-day, half-day, extended-day and overnight programs, with the minimum participation age of 6 and 9 for extended day and sleepover options.
Kids can be hard to keep focused, so the day is broken up to maximize the fun and the concentration. The morning is virtually all drills and cardio, with a focus on match play in the afternoon. A 90-minute lunch break is offered each day as a way to cool down and make friends.
The range of experience of the youngsters varies widely and all are encouraged to play, and Schwartz notes that last year, “we had extreme beginners and juniors with a national ranking”.
The camp uses adult balls and nets, a personal sticking point of Schwartz’s. “Real-sized everything”. But he does defer to Coach Hubbard to use any equipment he see fit.
The max enrollment is 36 kids and 30 adults to maintain a 5:1 student/instructor ratio.
For more information, click on the logo at the top of this post.
Next week, I’ll tell you about the best tennis camp the D.C. area has to offer.
USTA SMASHZONE MOBILE TOUR TO VISIT DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
IN BUFORD ON SATURDAY FROM 11 A.M. TO 7 P.M.
Interactive Fan Attraction to Introduce Tennis to
Youth and Families across the Nation
BUFORD, Ga., (May 9, 2013)–The United States Tennis Association (USTA) SmashZone Mobile Tour continues its 22-city tour run this weekend when it visits the Buford Dick’s Sporting Goods Store (3333 Buford Drive) this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
SmashZone introduces youth tennis to kids and parents across the country and began as the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open before being showcased across the country. Since its inception in 2011, SmashZone has attracted more than 2 million people to its tennis courts.
SmashZone is a way to showcase tennis in a fun and interactive way by making stops at fairs, festivals, airshows, retail environments and city centers.At SmashZone,children have the opportunity to play tennis games in a fun, festive atmosphere that allows participants to get active playing tennis from the start.
“The SmashZone Mobile Tour is a great platform to bring tennis to the masses through an interactive experience,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “It provides an opportunity for kids to try tennis for the first time, allowing them to experience the fun and excitement that comes with playing the game.”
The SmashZone Mobile Tour includes a 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts for youth play. Courts will feature games such as Xerox Rally Court, racquet drills and activities, as well as a Target Challenge. The trailer itself, which is handicap accessible, will feature activities for visitors that will include a Tennis Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot, Wii Tennis and Touch Screen Kiosks. SmashZone Mobile is a complement to the USTA’s successful youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis.
10 and Under Tennis is an ongoing effort to encourage young people to get active by playing tennis. The initiative uses modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s age and ability. By featuring shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process.
USTA SMASHZONE AT ASIAN FOOD & TENNIS IN DC AREA THIS WEEKEND
US Open’s Premier Fan Interactive Attraction to Introduce Tennis to Youth
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 17, 2012 – The USTA announced today that the SmashZone Mobile Tour, the premiere fan interactive attraction, will be part of the Asian Food & Tennis Festival this Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., with operating hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
SmashZone Mobile Tour engages audiences by introducing them to the game in a fun and interactive way by makings stops at fairs, festivals, and air shows. Children will have the opportunity to play tennis games and it will allow participants to get a racquet in their hand from the start.
The Asian Food and Tennis Festival is the largest Asian Festival in the Mid-Atlantic area and features unique music, cultural performances, food, and entertainment to promote greater understanding of Asian countries and cultures. This year’s festival theme is “The Year of Dragon”.
SmashZone Mobile includes a 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts for youth play. Courts which will feature games such as Xerox Rally Courts, Esurance Sweet Spot and a Target Challenge. The trailer itself, which is handicap accessible, will feature interactive activities for visitors that will include video game kiosks featuring Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS, a TENNIS Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot, and Touch Screen Kiosks.
SmashZone Mobile is a complement to the USTA’s ongoing youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis. 10 and Under Tennis is part of an effort to encourage young people across the country to get moving and start playing tennis.
The 10 and Under Tennis initiative is geared towards getting more kids to take part in tennis using modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s size. By featuring shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process.
“We are thrilled to have the SmashZone Mobile Tour provide an opportunity for thousands of children to experience tennis for the first time,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “The tour will introduce our 10 and Under Tennis program which is a wonderful approach to ensure children build confidence in their skills while having fun and leading a healthy lifestyle.”
For more info on the SmashZone mobile tour, check out www.10andundertennis.com.
The rain cleared just in time to hold the USTA Mid Atlantic’s “Battle Against Obesity” Family Tennis Day outdoors in Baltimore’s Patterson Park last Sunday. About a hundred local kids, including tennis clubs from city public schools, enjoyed the three-hour long festival.
The program featured instruction from some former USPTA professionals, and children of different age groups were sent to separate courts for the activities. The lessons for the very young involved children catching tennis balls in buckets and learning how to balance a ball on a racquet. Older children enjoyed target practice and advanced instruction.
The only long lines at the event were for the face-painting booth. Even USTA Maryland Executive Director Lynn Coddington got into the act–as Hello Kitty. In addition to the free healthy food options available that day, there were nutritional information advisors on hand to answer questions about food choices for children.
The highlight of the day was a visit from the Washington Kastles mascot. Slice posed for lots of photos with the kids, even allowing himself to occasionally be used as target practice for the eager fans.
The entire event was free and the USTA has staged these family days throughout the nation over the spring. On Sunday, most of the kids in attendance walked off with free tennis racquets and other sporting gear. Participants had to hit a prize with a tennis ball to win in the ‘Hit It and Get It Zone’. A sporting goods company even donated STX Lacrosse sticks. How very Maryland.
Tennis is a tough sell in Baltimore. But on this one Sunday in May, Patterson Park could have stood in for Atlanta or Charleston as kids got very, very excited. About tennis. Tennis East Coast also learned this weekend that kids tennis clinics will return to East Baltimore’s Patterson Park this summer for the first time in several years.
Linwood and Eastern Avenues, Baltimore, MD 21231
For more information, contact Lynn Gertzog (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the middle of a Memphis Tennis couch potato weekend in February, I got pretty excited watching a Tennis Channel advert for the 1-2-3 Tennis Tee, so I had one delivered. I could improve my swing. I could finally get the backhand right!
The tee arrived in a 6-foot long box, and when I took it out to assemble it, I realized that it is a Do-It-Yourselfer’s dream. Almost every part of the device’s simple yet clever construction is composed of things you could buy in a hardware or fishing tackle store. For the price, about $100 shipped, you’d drive yourself crazy trying to build your own version.
Six PVC tubes and a swing-pivot arm is what you get. You also get 3 balls with velcro tabs already stuck on and about 30 velcro tabs that you can attach to (almost) any tennis ball. The whole apparatus seemed flimsy and shaky when I put it together. In fact, I thought the written assembly instructions were so minimal that I was worried that I would build it backwards. Yet, after about 60 seconds, it was built. The color-coded (by hand) pieces snap together so quickly and easily that you thank god that IKEA never got ahold of this project. I felt like I knew what I was doing. It’s good practice to assemble the tee, because if you plan to trot it out to a local court, it is awfully cumbersome. You will need to assemble/dissemble it each time you use it if you’re taking it with you. That might be the biggest downside of all for the tee. After testing it on the court, you learn how to field-strip it in less than 30 seconds. That still leaves the problem of carrying the dissembled tee to your car.
If you live in a dry climate where you can permanently leave it assembled outdoors, or if you have a big basement rec room, those would be ideal situations. If you live in a narrow, urban setting, it’s just too big for permanent interior setup, especially with the ‘swingspan’ of a child or adult.
On the court, it is not flimsy at all. It can take a hard ball hit without swaying. When I first took it to the court in the video, you might be able to notice that it is missing a piece which I left at home. I was so mad and I didn’t feel like loading my daughter, the tennis tee and our bag of balls and sticks back into the station wagon. So, I decided to just give it a try. As you can see in the video, the missing base support didn’t seem to make a bit of difference for Annabel.
While I didn’t fall in love with it for my game, this thing is a kid’s best friend. I tired of retrieving and setting balls to hit for myself, but I found that it was not a bother to continually set it up for my very eager three-year old daughter. The tee has three retractable fishing lines with velcro ends which attach to three velcro-enabled tennis balls. The retractable lines are weighted to a standard tennis ball. You pull the ball (with the line now attached by the velcro straps to the ball) down to your desired strike height, and then begin your battery of shots. As an adult, the ball will tear off the velcro and the line with even a weak shot. That is not the case for kids. You really have to work with this product to find the sweet spot of pulling the velcro partially off the ball for kids to be able to hit the ball cleanly off the line every time. Otherwise, a hanging ball will inevitably tangle with another ball on the line and hilarity ensues.
The caveat for kids use is that the lines are weighted to a standard tennis ball, as mentioned above. That means that the use of Quikstart balls on the tee require an abundance of trial and error with smaller bits of velcro attached to the upper level QS balls (Red/Yellow, Orange/Yellow) and no ability to use the QS foam balls for the youngest players. The foams balls are simply too lightweight to be able to be pulled down to the wheelhouse of the youngest players due to string tension.
As I already mentioned, as an adult, I didn’t like having to retrieve and line-set the balls for my own use after a few hits. I derive nearly the same pleasure hitting against a wall. But it was a completely different story for my daughter.
For once, she got to do tennis on her own terms. Being able to swat the ball in her 3-year-old wheel house when she was ready seemed to make tennis alot more fun for her. By the time she hit her tenth sortie of balls from the tee, her form looked much improved from ten minutes before. I’m referring to the last balls she hits in the above video.
The most impressive thing about the product is that my daughter asks to play more tennis now. She likens the entire game to hitting from the tee and likes helping me put the tee together, too (“The blue dot goes with the blue dot.”). Anything that keeps kids on the court longer is worth its weight in something immensely more expensive than PVC pipe. For kids alone, this product is gold.
We’re pleased to introduce Annabel, Tennis Maryland’s newest contributor. Annabel has been a tennis fan since she attended the Rogers Cup ATP event in Montreal, Canada on her first birthday in 2009, watching Novak Djokovic win on Court Banque National and Andy Roddick prosper at Stade Uniprix.
She followed that experience with a debutante appearance at Legg Mason Kid’s Day in 2010 and a return visit to Montreal, this time for the WTA event.
Around this time, Annabel’s mom put her tennis foot down and declared that Annabel ought never to be seated in the front row at a pro match for reasons involving the child prodigy’s then-inability to keep quiet. Imagine!
Thereafter, Annabel’s involvement in the game has exclusively involved tournament Kid’s Days (Washington, Newport, CitiOpen), annual pilgrimages to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Wii Grand Slam play and on-court Quikstart instruction. She even took a lesson from Sebastien Decoud last summer.
Though she’ll only be contributing on a part-time basis, you can expect full-court coverage from this li’l Jimmy Olsen. Her first product review will appear on the site tomorrow.
USTA Supports Nationwide March Promotion to get Kids Playing Tennis With Youth Tennis Events in Baltimore
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is conducting a month-long drive, March Into Tennis, to get more kids playing the sport. Throughout the month, a record 1,200 USTA youth tennis events will take place across the country.
A variety of organizers including clubs, after-school programs, parks and recreation, Community Tennis Associations and others will host Youth Registration Events, Play Days and launching Kids’ Tennis Clubs as part of the USTA’s youth tennis efforts.
Parents and children can find more information about all the March Into Tennis promotions by visiting www.marchintotennis.com. The following are youth tennis events taking place in the Baltimore area:
Youth Registration Events
Youth Registration Events will allow parents to sign-up their children for spring and summer tennis programs at local tennis facilities and youth serving organizations.
Date: March 11 from 10 AM – 12 PM
Host: Howard County Recreation & Parks Tennis Event
Where: 5001 Meadowbrook Lane, Ellicott City, MD
Play Days will provide kids of all skill levels the opportunity to experience the fun of competition in a social and fun setting. These events will take place in short, continuous matches over a two-to-three hour period.
Date: March 31 from 2:30 PM – 4 PM
Where: Forty West Racquet Club, 6421 Baltimore National Pike, Baltimore, MD
Steve Pratt/Dana Gordon, Brener Zwikel and Associates
(310) 408-4555/(856) 397-2917 or SteveP@email@example.com
Trina Singian, Communications Coordinator, USTA
(914) 697-2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org