TIPS FOR YOUR TENNIS VACATION
The following is an excerpt from Kelly Gunterman’s book TENNIS MADE EASY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) on how to best prepare for a tennis vacation.
Going on a tennis vacation may be more work and more fun than you expect. Here are some things to consider before and during your trip to tennis school. Do some research and find the tennis school that best fits your needs. There are a few schools with great reputations. Some resorts offer other activities for the non-tennis members of your group and may be fun for you after your tennis sessions.
Don’t expect too much: Tennis school is a lot of fun but if your expectations are too high, you may leave a bit frustrated. At school, you receive a lot of information in a short period of time. Pick a few tips to focus on and incorporate them into your game. Even the best instruction takes some practice to become second nature. Be patient with your improvements.
Prepare: I know it sounds silly but play a few extra times before going on your tennis vacation to get your body ready for five or six hours on the court. Make sure you play in regulation tennis shoes and have played in them a few times before you go. New shoes can be painful with all of the running you do at camp. Do not wear running or cross training shoes. They are dangerous on a tennis court and some resorts discourage them on the soft (clay) courts. See more on footwear in the equipment section.
Pack for a variety of weather conditions. Make sure you have a warm-up suit or sweatshirt in case the weather turns cool. Also, pack extra shirts and socks. You are bound to work up a sweat so having a dry shirt makes the afternoon much more comfortable. Change your socks to keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters.
Obviously bring plenty of sunscreen. Wear a hat and sunglasses when spending a full day in the sun. Also wearing a hat and sunglasses can help prevent headaches when you are outside all day.
Be honest about your ability: If the camp asks about your level of play, be honest. You may think you play better when you play with more experienced players but since you usually play with people your own level, it makes sense to practice at that level also. A group of players at your same level makes the drills more realistic. If by chance you get into a group that is either too high or too low, talk to the pro on your court and nicely ask if there may be a way to change groups. The staff will do everything they can to make sure you are in the right place. Also, if you are working too hard or not hard enough don’t wait until the last minute to say something. Mention it to the pro on your court. They should be able to adjust the pace of the group. The school or camp may ask for your NTRP rating, which is the National Tennis Rating Program that the United Stated Tennis Association has developed. The NTRP is series of numbers from 1.0 a beginner to 7.0 a tour professional.
The intermediate player is usually between a 3.0 and 4.0 level.
Arrive a few minutes early: By arriving early, the staff of the school has adequate time to make sure everyone is checked in and the groups are ready to go on time. Take this time to inform the staff of any special needs or requests you have before the school starts. The extra time also allows you to get the lay of the land and see what off court activities are available. A massage or a trip to the hot tub may be a great way to end the day.
On the court: Be patient, it is a long day. Most sessions start with a light warm up to get the kinks out and get a feel for the courts. This also lets you meet the other players in your group. You may hear some techniques and tips that aren’t the same as your pro at home. Keep an open mind and try the new techniques. You didn’t come to camp to hear your game is perfect. Some of these may work and feel comfortable right away and some may not but try it and remember that it is always fun to learn new things. Use your time wisely. When picking up balls ask questions. Ask your pro specific things about their instruction. Just make sure you still pick up your share of the balls.
Take notes: There is a lot of information thrown at you in a couple of days so don’t try to remember all of it. Write things down. A great time for note taking is during the video analysis. Ask questions and listen. You may also find the tips given to other members of your group can help clarify some the changes you want to make.