Choosing a Tennis Academy

After the lessonTennis is a popular, invigorating sport with numerous health benefits. Routine tennis exercises can increase aerobic capacities, lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve metabolism, increase bone density, lower body fat, improve muscle tone, strength and flexibility, and improve reaction time. Tennis is also a non-contact sport, which is an aspect that many parents appreciate when it comes to their children and athleticism.

In the U.S., there are numerous tennis academies, camps and training programs. Some of the leading academies include the Nick Bolletieri IMG Tennis Academy, the Rick Macci Tennis Academy, Kennebec’s Maine Golf and Tennis Academy, the Weil Tennis Academy, the Evert Tennis Academy, King Daddy Sports Tennis Academy, the Kim Grant Tennis Academy, the Gunterman Tennis Schools, Extreme Tennis Academy, and Rising Star Tennis Academy.

It can certainly be difficult for parents to choose which program would be the most suitable for their child. For this reason, it is important to look at a child’s individual case, instead of searching for the most famous program. Some important issues to research before making a decision are location, accommodations, the program’s focus, training methods, size, age groups and cost.

While determining which academy best suits the needs of a child, it may also be wise to learn about each academy’s techniques and main focus. Many academies provide tennis training, but each has a slightly different approach. It is also recommended that you learn about the other students at the academies, and look into the academies’ alumni rankings in international competitions. Make sure that your child will be getting personalized feedback and advice, as well as training to suit his or her level in the sport.

If your child is young or has little experience in tennis, you may want to consider starting him or her off in a smaller, less competitive program. Some children are more sensitive when it comes to living accommodations and food, so it is important to make sure that the academy or camp facilities suit the child’s needs in that area. Similarly, some children have a hard time being far away from home, or dealing with intense training. Addressing these issues before making a decision can make the experience more enjoyable and worthwhile for everyone involved.

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The R Baby Foundation’s 2012 New York Tennis Tournament

This past weekend, tennis players of all backgrounds gathered at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to participate in the 2012 New York Tennis Tournament benefitting the R Baby Foundation.

The round-robin tournament featured lunch, beverages and a live Calcutta auction, and was open to participants of all levels. With limited spots, last year’s tournament raised more than $80,000 for the charity, which works to save babies’ lives through the improvement of pediatric care. This year’s crowd consisted of many experienced tennis players and numerous finance moguls, resulting in a whopping $100,000 for the non-profit.

Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, explained that his backhand gave him some trouble during the competition. “My groundstrokes were actually pretty good,” he said. “I had too many unforced errors.”

Other experienced competitors included Barry Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group; Taconic Capital Advisors’ Ken Brody; Jared Pinsky and Scott Lebovitz, Goldman Sachs executives, as well as players from the college division such as Charles Brody and Kyle Kliegerman.

Skill and consistency varied greatly throughout the event. Many players claimed it was a result of the long winter, while others admitted they have had little time to practice.

“In investment banking, you have to give up your weekends,” said Kaes Van’t Hof of Wexford Capital. “My first year in New York, I played tennis four or five times, which is a shock after playing seven days a week.”

Nonetheless, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with players like Ackman, Sternlicht and Van’t Hof joking around and comparing fitness regimes during the breaks.

Goldman Sachs was well represented in the semi-finals, but the final win went to Brian O’Connor of Binghampton University and Jonathan Boym of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Spotlight on Gregg Polsky: Law Professor

Gregg Polsky: Law Professor

Gregg Polsky played competitive tennis throughout high school and college. After college, Gregg Polsky completed his law degree (J.D) and his LL.M. in taxation at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. He began his legal career in the Miami office of White & Case. He was then an associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2001 to 2006. From 2007 until 2010, Professor Polsky was the Sheila M. McDevitt Professor of Law at the Florida State University College of Law. In 2010, Professor Polsky joined the UNC Law School, where he teaches tax courses and write articles in the areas of tax and business law.

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Spotlight on Marilyn B. Keller: Lawyer

Marilyn B. Keller: Trial Lawyer

Marilyn B. Keller attended William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting there in 1986. She played tennis on the William Jewell Women’s Tennis Team and she spent her junior year of college abroad at Oxford University.

After college, Ms. Keller attended law school at the University of Missouri in Kansas City where she graduated in 1991. She joined the firm of Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian, P.C. in 1991 and is a member of the bar in Kansas and in Missouri. She is admitted to practice law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth and Tenth Circuits. She primarily focuses on criminal defense, as well as habeas corpus cases and municipal court matters. She has been an active member of the community as well, serving as a Salvation Army Advisory Board Member for Platte County, Missouri and also as an active member of the St. Thomas More Catholic Church.

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The Roddick Lavalle Academy

The Roddick Lavalle Academy, located in San Antonio, Texas, is set on a secluded ranch property. It includes 7 lighted tennis courts, a swimming pool, a half court and dormitories. A separate house is even available for visiting family and academy guests.

Coaching at RLA
The coaches at Roddick Lavalle Academy look at each student as an individual, with individual training needs and goals. They emphasize developing life skills and educating students to understand that the ideas and lessons learned on the court apply to their outside lives as well. RLA has a range of programs for every need from full time and single semester programs with boarding to an after school program and summer camps for less intense training.

RLA Boarding Programs
Students who board at RLA have the option of learning at a few local schools, of learning with distance education programs, or of a home school model with the help from teachers at RLA. Students who attend school can either go to the St. Anthony Catholic High School or to Blessed Hope Academy.

The Total Tennis Program
For those who board and are part of the Total Tennis Program, students will have customized programs to fit their individual needs. The coaches at RLA address all aspects of tennis skills including the physiological, psychological, tactical and technical aspects. The Total Tennis Program includes training sessions in the morning and afternoons from Monday through Friday and half day training on Saturday. Students will have tennis related seminars on nutrition, sports and psychology. RLA students have the option of having traveling coaches accompany them on their tournament rounds.

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The Bruguera Tennis Academy

The Bruguera Tennis Academy is centered in Spain, 12 kilometers from Barcelona. Run by Luis and Seri Bruguera, it is a high performing tennis center that specializes in helping young tennis players to develop their skills. Founded in October of 1986, the center has a proven track record of over 20 years of excellence.

The tennis academy includes a beautiful, countryside location and has all of the necessary tools to create high achieving tennis stars without having to leave the grounds.

Camp Program

Players at the Bruguera Tennis Academy can select a camp experience or a more intense 10 month year program. Campers need to stay for at least one week and will be instructed in Spanish, English or French. For those playing in tournaments, they need to stay for at least two weeks. The programs are personalized for each player and set to help that player to achieve his goals.

Year-Long Program

The long term program includes a minimum of a 10 month stay. The Academy has an Official School with residence on site. The student will be affording a top education while also having access to physical trainers, psychologists, head-teachers and more. Training includes at least 3 hours and 15 minutes on the court and 2 hours and 20 minutes of physical training. Players will have regular studies as well which are accredited by the Spanish board of education.

The Bruguera Tennis Academy includes 24 hour a day supervision to guarantee the safety of players and the comfort of everyone.

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Advantage Tennis Academy

Advantage Tennis Academy is located in Irvine, California. Located ten minutes from some of the best beaches in the state, the academy teaches its budding athletes how to work, how to compete and how to win.

Here is a short video showing daily exercises and drills at Advantage Tennis Academy.


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The Evert Tennis Academy

The Evert Tennis Academy is located in Boca Raton, in the Mission Bay Area. It aims to produce winners of all ages in both tennis and life. Working together, tennis legend Chris Evert and world-famous coach John Evert strive to strengthen the athlete as a whole, by combining technical, mental, tactical and physical training. ETA considers itself to be different from other academies in that it is smaller and more personal. It also works at providing a more family-like environment, and to approach each athlete on an individual level, helping each student reach his or her own personal goals. For this reason, the student-coach ratio is kept at a maximum of 4:1.

ETA Focus

ETA puts a special focus on mental conditioning. At the academy, they believe that tennis achievements are never a coincidence or lucky, but that they reflect a conscious effort that includes both knowledge and commitment to the game. In this way, success in any sport does not only depend on physical, technical or strategic training, but on mental conditioning as well. According to their website, ETA’s mental conditioning program includes motivation, heightened focus/attention, awareness, confidence, discipline, intensity, composure, self-esteem, perspective, communication, time management, continuous improvement, life skills, developing and maintaining professional relationships, and the enhancement of sports enjoyment.

ETA Facilities

ETA’s facilities include 23 courts, both hard and har-tru, in order to prepare athletes for matches on both surfaces. The campus also features a Pro Shop and Clubhouse, a fitness center and dorms for students under 18 years of age. Each room houses between two to four students depending on the season, and all come with air conditioning, cable hook-ups, telephone lines and internet access.

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The Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center

The Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education center in Philadelphia has as its mission to create opportunities for a diverse cross-section of young people to make positive decisions in their lives.  They strive to achieve this lofty mission through innovative tennis instruction, education, life skills and leadership development, all of which take place in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia and at the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center.

Vast Range of Programs

The Arthur Ashe Tennis and Education Center has one of the largest range of junior tennis programs in the entire country.  They include programs for children ranging in age from 4 to 18 including center-based programs, summer programs, neighborhood-based programs, youth leadership programs and competition based programs.

Competitive Programs

The competitive programming through the center is called USTA Jr. Team Tennis and its purpose is to help children to build their game while building team spirit and unity.  They bring kids together to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams.  These programs are designed for kids between the ages of 5 and 18 and they seek to promote social skills and the spirit of cooperation.

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Weil Tennis Academy

For fourteen years, Weil Tennis Academy has been building a renowned program for competitive tennis players and champions.  They offer intense full-time programs and also have holiday and summer training camps.  Located in Ojai, California, the Weil Tennis Academy offers it all for the serious tennis players.

Professional Coaches at Weil

Weil Tennis Academy employs professional coaches who are dynamic, flexible, committed, talented and patient.  They travel with the players to over 100 tournaments each year including to ITF, WTA & ATP, USTA and US Sectional & Regional events.  Coaches come to Weil Tennis Academy from around the world and they understand the daily challenges required of young tennis players and future stars.

Residential Program

The Weil Tennis Academy residential program offers players a safe environment to develop their character, their academics and their tennis skills.  The facilities are located in beautiful Ojai, California where they share membership at the Valley Athletic Club.  They have 10 championship hard courts and 4 state-of-the-art clay courts.  There is a fitness center, a cafeteria with nutritious meals, and spacious dorm living.

Weil Tennis Academy Camps

The Weil Summer Camp includes over 30 hours of tennis and fitness training with Weil’s internationally high performing coaching staff each week. There is a five to 1 player to coach ratio and a focus on match play (singles and doubles).  During the course of the camp, players will have tactical and technical drills, a fitness program, mental fitness exercises, video analysis of lessons, optional travel to Southern California junior tournaments, and Wednesday night doubles tournaments with trophies and prizes.

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The Austin Tennis Academy

Nestled in the Texas hill countryside, 25 minutes west of downtown Austin, The Austin Tennis Academy has been building outstanding tennis players since 2003.  They have a full-time Academy program that helps junior tennis players to reach their potential in the sport.

Full-Time Academy

The full-time academy offers group tennis training, private tennis instruction, tournament travel with coaches, fitness plans and so much more.  They have a proven track record of helping players to get to the colleges of their choice with scholarships.  Coaches enjoy a collaborative atmosphere at the ATA that is student-centered and that has the student’s interest at the heart of the training. ATA actually hosts six sanctioned Open tournaments annually which allow players additional tournament competition without having to travel.

Coaching Background

The coaches at the ATA have proven junior track records, helping junior tennis players to develop their skills and their confidence.  Each coach has experience developing elite national caliber players and they are completely dedicated to helping students to develop both on and off of the court.

Summer Camps

The Austin Tennis Academy also has summer programs, aimed at helping children to develop their talent and skills in a warm, caring environment. They offer a wide range of camps including the Quick Start Camp from 9-10:30 am for ages 5-8; the Morning Camp from 9-12; the Afternoon “Tournament Tough” Camp from 1-4 pm for tournament players; the All Day Adventure Camp from 9-4; and the All Day Tournament Tough Training Camp from 9-4 for tournament players looking for a serious summer experience.


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