Spotlight Player – Spring 2017

March 1st, 2017 | Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Reya Coe was one of my summer academy students this past summer. She boarded all nine weeks of the summer, and it was truly an amazing accomplishment from an 11-year-old girl. I had never seen anyone this young complete a full summer of intense training. I must add that she struggled in her matches, she wasn’t very consistent and couldn’t construct points very well. She was literally trying to overpower everyone she played. When Chris Welnetz took her to the Grand Slam at the beginning of the summer, he came back and said, “PJ, Reya was hitting the back fence in the air on some shots.” We knew we had to push her and that she would respond well.

After summer ended, she had expressed some genuine interest in joining the year-round academy. Because of her young age, I had some doubts on whether she could make it or not. Going back to my days in the academy, the average age was around 16 for boarders, we just didn’t have 11-year-olds. They simply could not handle the daily grind of school and tennis away from home. Reya is different though; she is beyond her years and I began to give it more thought.

Her parents finally decided it was time to send her, as Reya was begging to become a full-time boarding student. She joined us in mid-October, and an even tougher feat was joining a new group late in the semester. At age 11, Reya is probably one of our most improved players that we have had in years. In just a few months, she has gone from barely staying in Superchamps to now being ranked top 20 in Texas and top 200 in the U.S. for girls’ 12s. She traveled to Winter Nationals in Arizona during Christmas, and in her first national event, she won five rounds in singles, and three rounds in doubles. By contrast at age 12, I didn’t win a match in my first national event.

She has a ton of potential, and we believe she is the future for our top girls in the academy. She is a true “Newkie”; shows up every day ready to work and she also maintains a near-perfect GPA. Reya is the life of the party; at tournaments she always has a crew of girls with her. At Newks, everyone knows Reya and loves being around her; she loves to talk and loves to make fun of me constantly. She has been nominated for numerous sportsmanship awards as a young Texas player. Her future is bright, and she has ushered in a new era. She has three friends that are interested in boarding next year, all of them age 11. They see what she has accomplished and now they believe they can do it too. It takes a supreme amount of hard work and dedication to do what Reya has done in just a few months, and that speaks to the level of maturity this young girl has. We are proud to have her shaping this new era for Newks Academy!

–PJ HENDRIE, Academy Co-Director

Tennis Tips – Spring 2017

March 1st, 2017 | Posted in Tennis | No Comments »

Most of the instruction your pro gives you, or you give yourself, can be enhanced with the knowledge of which parts of the body to strengthen in order to improve your performance and endurance!

Legs: Who has ever been told to bend their knees more? As the hands go up, take a moment to think about what you have done or have not done to prepare for this instruction. We walk around all day, all life long, so our legs are strong at being straight.

Your challenge is to get them strong in the bent position. We would suggest playing a game of tag, permanently in that bent-knee ‘athletic position’, or putting a chair on the court and hovering your butt just above it before you run out meet to the ball. Wall sits, with music to keep your mind in it, are another great suggestion.

Core: You use your core in tennis for more things than most students realize! If all goes well, you are using your core to fully rotate your upper body while holding good balance with your lower body. Go try this, with and without flexing your abs.

The pro will typically challenge you to take enough steps and react early enough in order to keep the ball in your strike zone, and we agree. For the times that this doesn’t happen (the ball is above or below waste height), if you flex your abs, you will find more ability to stabilize your entire body. If you don’t, you will typically feel your limbs flailing or working against each other.

To prepare yourself to do this, in addition to lots of reps on court, we suggest abdominal work in the gym that allows you to stay standing, and incorporating the most tennis-like movements. Try taking a medicine ball and throwing it against the wall by rotating your lower body and core while keeping your arms as straight as possible. Any variation on this, that works the core and not the arms, will be great.

These are two great examples of what you can do to prepare and impress your pros at home or us on the Ranch. Can’t wait to see you back here at Newk’s. We want to see all those improvements and enjoy those moments off the court, too!

Please feel free to email if you have more questions.

Chris Jacques