In 1995 two tennis courts were constructed at Putnam Park. It once was a cow pasture and had no buildings just a couple of portapotty’s. The first programmes offered were USTA Local Excellence Training and NJTL for juniors. The Adult programmes were Play Tennis America. I look back and think look what we have accomplished over the years. Close to six million dollars in collegiate tennis scholarships from universities like Harvard, Notre Dame, Stanford, University Of Illinois and Northwestern the list goes on, five U.S. Opens, three Wimbledon’s, four Australian Opens, and a host of others. All from two courts in a public park. Our players have gone on to world rankings as high as thirty seven in the world on the WTA tour. Our players have received many awards from the NCAA. I am extremely proud of all of them. Their hard work and dedication is truly a model for the younger players just entering the game.

I started tennis myself in a public park many years ago as a young boy. I fell in love with the game. If it wasn’t for parks and recreation I would never be where I am today. It was affordable and I had excellent coaching. Looking back, one of the players at the park later became president of the USTA. You see the rich history of tennis began in public parks not in country clubs or academies.Years ago the most prestigious tennis titles were the National Public Parks Championships. The next champions will be discovered in the public parks tennis programmes. Young people who love the game and have the desire to excel and shape their own destiny.

Over the years many have come and tried to lure me away from public parks. I have always said no as I am devoted to the children who want to learn this great game and devoted to parks and recreation. It is important to keep tennis affordable in order to grow the sport. The main reason is children. The sport will grow by leaps and bounds when children discover this great game. For students who cannot afford lessons there are programmes from CSA Palm Harbor that help out financially. It is about kids and their dreams. A community working together to enrich a child’s life.
It starts in the parks and it is simple as that. An example is the Williams sisters.

We train the players the same as the professionals so they have the tools to take their game in any direction they wish. We have a tested pathway of programs to achieve this goal. It begins in 10 and Under tennis and progresses to High Performance tennis. As I mentioned some went on to play professional tennis, some on full scholarship in college and some just liked to play socially. It is the players decision. We encourage parents to take adult lessons. Not just for the fitness benefit and the rewards it provides, but to engage in a fun sport with their children.

We coach the whole person and develop the game around the style they feel comfortable with. Our training is based on science both on and off the court. Off the court education is a top priority. We have tutoring for those who are struggling and volunteer work for those who are working towards a Bright Future Scholarship. We coach the whole person. Even with all that I have accomplished with my players, I still feel I can do a better job and learn not only from my players but other professionals as well.

Children have dreams and should have a chance to see them become reality.

My job as a coach is to help make that dream come true.