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Next Wave of U.S. Tennis Champs Come Through USTA Florida Multicultural 'Camp A.C.E.'

June 29, 2011 11:37 AM
CampACEWeb
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Campers go through footwork drills on court
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Former world No. 6 Chanda Rubin (center) with
fellow A.C.E. coaches
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Campers and coaches
Players such as Florida's Serena and Venus Williams, Californian Vania King, and Florida-raised Irina Falconi and Sloane Stephens are current Top 150-ranked American players on the WTA tour that represent the diversity of tennis in Florida and across the U.S.

When the question is asked 'Where will the next American pros come from?", one can look to the just-completed USTA Florida Multicultural Tennis 'Camp A.C.E.' (Achieving through Coaching & Education), the 7th annual camp for advanced junior tennis players, held June 23-26, 2011, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"With a proven track record of past players that have participated in the training camp -- the 2010 French Open, Wimbledon and US Open junior doubles winner Sloane Stephens, current University of Florida player Sekou Bangoura, and current pros and international junior title winners Sachia Vickery and Victoria Duval -- we must being doing some things right!" said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator and Diversity Liaison Shelly Licorish.

Stephens, currently ranked No. 131 on the WTA tour, is one such player who benefited from the strong off-court curriculum as well as tennis instruction.

"The camp is not just about hitting tennis balls, it's about helping each child reach their potential both on and off the court, and providing them and their parents the tools to help along the way," Licorish said. "The curriculum involving minority high-performance junior players and their parents, learning together about the rewards and road blocks involved in pursuing college tennis or a pro career, is a unique one. We realize that having a great team to support you that is knowledgeable and focused can make all the difference in a young person's development."

Top former pros and junior development experts such as Rodney Harmon, Chanda Rubin, and USTA regional and national coaches provide workshops and on-court session for players and parents, including the latest in fitness, nutrition, college and/or pro tour preparatory information, and video analysis to improve strokes and technique.

"The fact that the camp focuses on incorporating the parent, as well as training the player, makes it even more relevant to today's high performance players," Rubin said. "There are so many considerations in tournament play and I understand, first hand, that having a great team behind you and knowledgeable, focused support can make all the difference in a young person's development."

Thursday, June 23 featured orientations for parents and students, and on-court and nutrition sessions. On Friday, June 24, campers experienced practice drills and workshop sessions on mental toughness, scheduling and goal setting, tournament scheduling, and evaluating strategy and tactics. Saturday, June 25, included on-court activities and workshops on conditioning/agility, grant/scholarships availability, charting and scouting opponents, and sports science and ROTC training. The camp wrapped-up on Sunday with coaching speakers, and "Davis Cup/Fed Cup" play between the campers.

Florida junior participants this year came from Fort Myers, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Miami, New Smyrna Beach, Orlando, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, and outside of Florida from Hephzibah and Grovetown, Ga., and Nyack and Yonkers, NY.

Coaches at the 2011 camp were Rodney Harmon (Jacksonville), Chanda Rubin (Lafayette, La.), Carl Goodman (Tallahassee), Paul Johnson (Miami), Kelvin Rivera (Orlando), Albert Richards (Orlando), John Richards (Orlando), Clifford Malivert (Miami), Eric Johnson (Miami), Evans Merisier (Miami), Christie Walker Thompson (Orlando) and Jan Johnson (South Orange, NY). Speakers at the event were Dede Allen (Jacksonville), Gustavo Granitto (Pembroke Pines), Racquel Malo (Orlando), Garth Weiss (Orlando), and Barbara Wong (Melbourne).

For more information on the USTA Florida Multicultural Tennis 'Camp A.C.E.' (Achieving through Coaching & Education) go to www.florida.usta.com/About-Us/7th_annual_multicultural_training_camp or contact Shelly Licorish at licorish@florida.usta.com.

 
 

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