We were very lucky to have a strong PTR GB representation at the PTR International Tennis Symposium in Hilton Head this year. As you can see from the photos, they met some great people and made some fantastic memories! Read on for a report from PTR member AJ Cotter, who had his first experience of the annual event which brought coaches together from all over the world:
What do you do when storm Ciara hits the UK and has an adverse effect on your time on court? Fly off to the USA; South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island to be precise! The home of the PTR International Symposium. AJ and Jacob from CTA Sussex attended the full week of the world-class education on offer and the amazing networking opportunities. If you’ve never been, we would highly recommend it.
This year was a particularly special year for PTR members as we remembered the founder of PTR, Dennis Van Der Meer. The first day of the symposium was dedicated to the celebration of the life of Dennis. We learned the sad news that tennis industry legend Dennis Van der Meer passed away on July 27th 2019, after a lengthy illness. No one has had a bigger impact on recreational tennis and tennis coaches than Dennis. For more than 65 years, Dennis personally taught tens of thousands of people to play the game. But as the consummate “teacher of tennis teachers,” his influence in this sport extends to millions of recreational players around the world and paved the way for what we now know as the PTR. World Class Educators. The tributes from some of the PTRs founder members, players and coaches were heart-warming and touching.
The PTR Symposium then started in earnest on the Monday morning. The speaker line-up was stellar with professional certification courses available to complement this feast of education.
Merlin Van de Braam presented on Integrated Mental Skills Training. This was a very informative on-court session showing how coaches and players can simulate match ‘pressure’ during practice with various drills. Craig O’Shannessy spoke about Winners and Errors; Learn the Patterns of Play that lead to more Winners and Less Errors. After watching 12 points from a recent Nadal match and voting whether we thought the error was unforced or forced, 99.99% of times we all got it wrong! This basically showed us that there really only are winners – or errors. Evaluating this further helps us teach players to play smarter.
Judy Murray spoke to us about her Journey. This highlighted her own personal challenges as a parent and how she overcame them when Andy and Jamie were young and wanted to play more tennis. A very informative and down to earth story that is an inspiration to all. Robin Soderling presented on the Key Elements of Professional Players. A great opportunity to ask an ex Tour Player who has played all of the greats about how he adjusted and prepared to play against different opponents. Corey Gauff was also an inspiration to all tennis coaches and tennis parents. Sharing his insightful concepts on coaching. Which as you know has had some amazing success of late.
A full line up from all sides of the industry helped us with Business; from How to monetise your program and build a brand to discussing whether or not tennis can save society? All interesting subject matter for sure.
Judy Murray hosted an on-court demonstration of how to organise large groups to execute drills and games that encourage teamwork and develop the required skills for tennis. These can be done with any age group and were a whole heap of fun!
Gigi Fernandez hosted the Gigi Method for Doubles. Gigi is a 17-time grand slam champion and offers a course based on how to teach recreational players to play doubles more effectively. There were some insightful points made that can be instantly shared with our clients.
Highlights included IMG Academy’s Margie Zesinger – talking to us about how to communicate effectively with female players. Margie’s approach was excellent and inspiring to all who coach female athletes. She recommended a book to everyone called Switch – How to make the change when change is hard. Worth a read.
Dean Hollingsworth gave an on-court demonstration on Tennis Movement Patterns. Utilizing Simple Exercises. Making players move more efficiently is a goal for all coaches. Even outside of tennis, hip and ankle mobility is key to longevity. Having players execute simple exercises effectively will assist them greatly with their on-court and off-court mobility.
Today was more focussed on the heart and the mind. With speakers talking about neuromuscular balancing, linked to injury prevention; Drills and Games for Performance; Mindfulness for Peak Performance. Linked in with other subjects on how coaches can access College Tennis more effectively even with morning Yoga for those who wanted to get up at 7am! My personal highlight from the day was the course Jorge Capestany offered – Games and Drills. It’s always fun to learn new and effective drills for groups of all levels. He gave us his top drills to help with varying real-life situations on court, to help players develop the relevant skills.
Friday – the last day!!
Time to reflect on the week. Say goodbye to your new friends. Exchange details so you can keep your networking going and basically say to yourself – wow, where did that time go!!!!
PTR is truly one big happy global Tennis Family.
The International Symposium is a testament to this. If you have ever thought about spending a week away to network with industry leaders; fellow coaches; tennis experts; doctors; psychologists; strength and conditioning experts; tennis hall of fame-rs; ex grand slam champions; current ATP and WTA tour coaches; influencers and iconic individuals in a setting where you can actually approach them and talk to them face to face, share a coffee or a glass of wine informally; then this is an experience for you.
Every PTR Member should make a plan to attend if you possibly can, even if it’s just the one time.