Tennis Camps, from Nick Bollettieri's to Harry Hopman's, Turn Games Inside Out in a Couple of Long, Hard Days
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96
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Skipping the all-day drills of most facilities and believing in the "teaching of individuals, not systems," Reed Anderson gives stroke mechanics a hip, laid-back twist, with three-hour sessions and groups no larger than eight students. Afterward, the low-key Anderson, a teacher for 22 years, turns into a Jimmy Buffett, cheerfully announcing, "It's Margarita time."
"We'll only do more than three hours if a guy is a die-hard, but I want to avoid burnout," says Anderson, 43, who runs his camp at the Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, California. "While all-day schools are big on blisters and just aren't enjoyable, considering all the pain that's involved, we allow people rest periods and let them work at their own manageable pace. This way they don't lose focus. I don't overload them with a lot of lectures and words that flood their minds. Too much teaching just isn't effective."
In this casual setting, individualized--and videotaped--instruction is emphasized. Relying extensively on computerized ball machines, Anderson often stands next to a student, pinpointing and correcting a problem stroke while the group works on other skills. "There are no set agendas, no manic workouts," says Anderson. "I just try to take the stress out of learning. To make it a lot of fun." How typically Californian! The Jose Cuervo approach to swinging.
The five-day school, Monday to Friday (15 hours of instruction), costs $325. The weekend package (six hours) is $175.
Margaritas and accommodations are not included in either package. Students receive preferred room rates at the Westin Mission Hills Resort.
Call 800/386-4107 for more information.
If there is a budding Pete Sampras or Steffi Graf in your household, several U.S. academies offer world-class junior programs. The John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas (800/444-6204) has 30 pros welcoming juniors from ages eight to 18. Two-time U.S. Open winner John Newcombe supervises the 20-year-old program, which teaches students a smattering of Aussie phrases (a great shot is a "ripper") and emphasizes "Play hard, laugh hard."
In Florida, Fritz Nau's Gold Coast Tennis Academy in Boca Raton (407/274-0387) trains youngsters who "are dedicated to kicking some butt." A teacher for 21 years before setting up his own school, Nau wants to work with teenagers who'll stay at the camp for at least a year. "I'm not interested in guys who are already highly ranked, or in having a huge number of students," says Nau. "My goal is molding youngsters, to take a select group to the pro game."
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