The NCAAs from the Inside Out

NCAAs
UGA Tennis Mommas

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Cliff Hayashi
Cliff Hayashi

The past 12 days at the NCAAs at the University of Georgia have been incredible! The level of tennis and sportsmanship exhibited by the student-athletes, coaches, and fans (well, mostly!) has been superb. I ran into some old friends (including Stanford Super Fan, Cliff Hayashi!) and made some new ones. I even had the opportunity to meet some long-time digital friends in person – including College10s2day’s Bobby Knight – what a treat!

During the 2nd week of the Championships, the ITA held its annual Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet. It was overwhelming to be in the company of so much College Tennis Royalty! I had the Nick Bollettieriunique privilege of sitting next to Nick Bollettieri throughout the evening and to be regaled by his many, many stories of his life in tennis. I was also sitting adjacent to Hall of Fame James Blake & RileyInductee James Blake and had so much fun watching him interact with his adorable little girls.

At this year’s Championships, I wanted to give y’all a glimpse at some of the people who make this event so great, so I reached out to some of the players, parents, and behind-the-scenes folks involved. The volunteers from UGA did an incredible job of keeping things running, including squeegeeing courts, manning the gates, and keeping all of us fed and hydrated. I hope those of you on Twitter and Instagram enjoyed my updates there, too!

In this week’s ParentingAces Podcast, which is a bit longer than usual (sorry!), you will hear from Taylor Davidson, a senior at Stanford; Francesca DiLorenzo, a

Elizabeth Milano

sophomore at Ohio State; Chanmeet Narang, the UGA Men’s Tennis Team Manager; Elizabeth Milano, a UGA student and volunteer at the Championships; Tammy Duncan and Olga Reinberg, parents of UGA players; and Beata Redlicki, mom to players at University of Arkansas and UCLA. Please pardon the background noise as these interviews were actually conducted on the grounds of the Championships.

As mentioned in the podcast, entries for the 2nd annual Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tennis Tournament are now open. For the Atlanta tournament (July 17-19) go to http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/261/. For the Baltimore tournament (August 12-13) go to http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/336/.

To watch the FloTennis profile on Michael Redlicki, click here.

Also, registration for the ITA Summer Circuit is now open. Click here for information.

For more information on the 2017 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships, click here. A huge THANK YOU to the University of Georgia, the NCAA, and the ITA for working together to put on my favorite event in tennis, hands down.

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PlaySight’s Role in Playing Fair

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This is the first of my podcasts recorded during the 2017 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships in Athens, GA.

PlaySight Head of Sales Racquet Sports, Josh Graves, grew up in tennis. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he played #1 for the men’s tennis team, he sought a job. Using the vast store of resources he developed throughout his tennis career, he landed his ideal job: working with a cutting-edge tech company in the tennis arena.

PlaySight has really changed since I was first introduced to it at the 2014 NCAA Tennis Championships. The company has created more affordable options for colleges and other facilities that want to bring the latest video, streaming, and stats technology to their users.

Now, PlaySight is situated in 20 of the 32 schools represented at the NCAA Team Championships as well as at the new USTA Lake Nona facility. They also have a presence in several private clubs around the world, including the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The PlaySight folks have also created a great new tournament format called PlayFair using their video replay capabilities as a sort of challenge system (click here for my article on the first collegiate PlayFair tournament). So far, PlayFair has been very well received by key players, including coaches, officials, and players. PlaySight has partnered with USTA to test out the PlayFair format at some junior tournaments. We should expect to see more of these tournaments over the coming months which is great news for junior tennis.

PlaySight has developed an app as well, which can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store or the PlaySight website. It provides free video annotating and sharing as well as free viewing of livestreaming.

To reach PlaySight, go to www.playsight.com. You can also find them on the various social media outlets.

To listen to my 2014 podcast with PlaySight founder Gordon Uehling, click here.

Story Behind Team Luke Foundation with Tim Siegel

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On July 28, 2015, Tim Siegel received a phone call that tragically changed his life. In this week’s ParentingAces podcast, Tim talks about his son, Luke’s, golf cart accident and how his family has turned such a horrific event into a foundation dedicated to helping others.

Tim grew up in tennis, achieving the highest level as a junior player, college player, and on the pro tour before moving into college coaching at Texas Tech University. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their children in Lubbock, Texas, now working full-time to care for Luke and to share Luke’s story in hopes of raising funds to assist other families that have a child suffering with a traumatic brain injury.

FoxTV will air a recently-produced documentary on Luke this summer. The ITA also produced a short video on Luke which you can view here.

Please take the time to visit the Team Luke Foundation website here. You can follow Luke’s story on Facebook here, on Twitter @TimSiegelTTU, and on Instagram @Luke.Siegel

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Steve Johnson, Sr. In Memorium

Lisa & Steve Johnson, Sr

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This week, the world lost a great man, a great supporter of tennis, and the Tennis Parent I aspired to be when Steve Johnson, Sr. passed away.

I first met Steve at the NCAA Championships in Athens, GA when he was on a panel for parents and high school-age players who were interested in learning more about college tennis. After the panel discussion, my husband and I spoke with Steve and thanked him for his candor. I never guessed that would be the beginning of a friendship that would find us together at the US Open, Indian Wells, the Easter Bowl, and at a variety of college matches in Southern California.

Whenever I traveled to SoCal, I would always let Steve know I was coming to “his coast” in hopes that we would have a chance to meet up and catch up. If he wasn’t too busy teaching tennis lessons or spending time with his family, he would make the effort to find a way to come to wherever I was and say hello. The last time was at the Boise State-UC Irvine match just a few weeks ago.

I will miss Steve’s friendship and his council. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Michelle, and his two well-loved children, Alison and Stevie. Godspeed, my friend.

This podcast was originally recorded in December of 2012. To read an interview between Steve and Frank Giampaolo, click here. For two other interviews I did with Steve, click here and here.

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Why You Should Consider D3 College Tennis

D3 college tennis
Image courtesy of MI Prep Zone
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Adam Van Zee played his college tennis at D3 Wabash College then coached both the men’s and women’s teams at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He now works in development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis while also writing and hosting his own podcast for Division3Tennis.com.

In this episode of the ParentingAces podcast, Adam and I discuss the ins and outs of playing a Division 3 sport. We talk about how to finance a D3 education when the NCAA does not allow for athletic scholarships, how the D3 recruiting and application process works, and how PSAs can use the D3 Recruiting Hub to narrow down their list of potential schools.

NOTE: According to the information I was able to find online, PSAs are allowed unlimited official visits to D3 colleges starting the first day of their senior year of high school. However, they are only allowed one official visit per college. In Divisions 1 and 2, PSAs are limited to 5 total unofficial visits.

If you have questions about choosing a D3 tennis program, you can reach Adam on Twitter @d3centraltennis or via email at acvanzee@gmail.com

For more information on Division 3 from the NCAA, click here and here.

If you enjoy the podcast, please leave us a rating and review on iTunes (click here for how-to’s). It helps a lot!

My apologies for the ad-lib from Sully mid-episode!

 

Sweet Spot of Sport Parent Involvement

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Coach John O’Sullivan of Changing the Game Project discusses transactional vs. transformational coaching (read more here) and why we parents need to seek out coaches who are truly invested in the development of the whole child, not just the tennis player. We also talk about the “sweet spot of involvement” for parents and how we parents need to adjust constantly throughout our child’s junior development. Lastly, we touch on the challenges of coaching your own child and how best to separate “coach” versus “parent” on and off the court.

You can find John’s podcast here – I encourage you to check it out! Coaches may be interested in the Way of Champions conference coming this summer to New Jersey. You can find out more here. To listen to John’s TED Talk, click here.