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Courting Success: 2009 Eastern Tennis Leadership Conference

February 9, 2009 10:13 PM

Those who attended the 2009 Eastern Tennis Leadership Conference and Annual Meeting certainly “courted success.” Held January 30-February 1 at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel in White Plains, NY; the weekend-long event was an opportunity for tennis players, directors, clinicians and overall enthusiasts to further their careers, learn a few tennis tricks, and enjoy the company and advice of other tennis advocates.

The weekend kicked off on January 30 with the High School Coaches Workshop. Coaches listened to advice from the National Tennis Director for Tennis Corporation of America (TCA), Ajay Pant, Women’s Head Coach of St. Johns University, Gemma Alexander-Mozeak, and former director of tennis at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Bill Mountford. They covered topics that included handling cheaters, the best drills, the USTA’s No-cut High School Coach Program, and preparing players for college.

USTA Eastern’s Board of Directors, Management Committee, and USPTA Committees also met Friday before finishing off the night with a cocktail party, hosted by Tennis Week.

The heart of the conference took place Saturday, January 31, with educational workshops beginning early in the morning and lasting into the evening. Some highlights of Saturday included fundraising workshops, Tim Mayotte’s “The Most Under Practiced Elements of the Game” and “Modern Methods of Doubles” with Joe Roediger and Bill Jackson. At the Junior Awards Lunch, players were greeted by former WTA Touring Professional Katrina Adams, and awarded not only for excelling on the courts, but for their sportsmanship as well.

The Annual Meeting occurred later in the afternoon and just after 5:00 p.m., Tim Heath was sworn in as the new President of USTA Eastern’s Board of Directors. Dale Caldwell, President for the past three years, told the packed crowd with confidence that “Tim is the best person for the job and has already contributed a great deal as the president-elect.”

Adults and various organizations were awarded in the evening for their achievements and contributions to USTA Eastern’s mission. The Awards Dinner was followed by a high energy evening with a lively crowd getting up to dance.

After dancing all night and staying up to the early hours of the morning to catch the Men’s Finals of the Australian Open, dedicated participants arrived early Sunday morning to attend the last few workshops of the Conference. Tournament Directors, Clinicians and Local League Coordinators all stayed until the end, learning a few more things from the educational sessions.

“One of the major benefits of the Conference is just coming together with other clubs and organizations to swap stories to avoid reinventing the wheel,” said Conference participant, Michelle Curry. By Sunday afternoon, everyone was still chatting about their clubs, new ideas they gained for improvement, Tim Heath’s new presidency and of course, Nadal’s big win.

Michelle Skelley presenting at the Clinician Training