I competed at and coached nearly all levels of tennis in my career up-to date. During this time nothing has given me more fun and passion than working with highly motivated adults for the past 8 years, who want to take their tennis game to the next level and become the best they can be…regardless of age or current level of play!
Thanks to OTI and Florian’s vision to bring the best possible tennis instruction to adult athletes worldwide, I was introduced to P.J. Simmons, the creative founder of the US Tennis Congress and unbelievable human being.
The US Tennis Congress is a revolutionary event in the tennis industry and the first and only of its kind. It brings hundreds of the most passionate adult tennis players, who truly want to improve their game and become the best they can be, to learn from the best tennis coaches, instructors, mentors, grand slam champions, the game has to offer in a 3-day event.
I was invited to be part of the 2015 US Tennis Congress in Tucson, Arizona this October thanks to Florian’s fantastic job at the last two Tennis Congresses in 2013 and 2014.
I want to share with you some of the most valuable lessons I have learned during this incredible event.
1) Check your Ego at the door – Everyone wins!
I have never witnessed so much passion and love for the game WITHOUT the huge egos in play. The faculty, made up by true industry greats…and me, interacted and collaborated like friends would, and pushed each other to become better as coaches.
This in turn allowed us all to share our experiences and knowledge with one another and most importantly passed it on to the most passionate and enthusiastic adult tennis players I have ever seen.
The adult athletes who attended received the best possible tennis education one can ask for because of that level of involvement from the coaches. Please keep in mind, the adult athletes who attend this congress are gurus in their respective industries as well, but just like with the faculty, you couldn’t tell! Again, no egos here!
2) You can learn it all, if you choose to
In 30+ hours in 3 days of on-court and classroom instruction and presentations, every athlete walked away with not only their best time in tennis but a wealth of knowledge you couldn’t get anywhere else but here. Regardless of what you wanted most, you learned it here.
Experts from every part of the game were present and ready to work with and present their expertise to you. Areas covered included (but not limited to):
- Technical Stroke Instruction & Video Analysis (Singles & Doubles)
- Tennis Strategy & Statistics (Singles & Doubles)
- Building Customized Fitness Plans (specific to each athlete)
- Real-life stories by ATP/WTA Grand Slam & Senior Tour Champions
- Mental Toughness
- Injury Prevention and how to deal with injuries
- Tennis Movement
- How to get the most out of your practice sessions
- Playing as member of a team…and so much more
3) Amazing Tennis Tips from the best coaches in the game
Last, but not least, I learned a great deal myself, given that so many tennis greats were present, sharing their knowledge, and these are some of the tips that stuck with me:
- It is important to play versatile and use every stroke in your game; if you play the same tennis over and over, your opponent will figure you out, sooner or later. Example given: Rafael Nadal slices his backhand in the most unlikely of situations to get out of trouble, even though it’s not one of his better shots…
- Even if you have had a severe injury, you can actually become a better tennis player still
- In order to execute your strategic plan on court, you must first be able to understand and implement the technical details of each stroke, as technical ability gives you strategic options
- Don’t jump the gun; focus on the essentials first; learn how to move and hit the ball properly, then move on to point and match-play for your long-term joy and improvement in the game
- Thinking while playing is the worst you can do; you need to feel not think; get out of your head and into the moment
- Your body is your temple, don’t abuse it; take care of it; learn how to properly warm-up, cool-down, stretch, and rehab your body
- Communication is the most important factor when playing doubles; the rest is simple
- If you want to progress, you need to be willing to take a step back before moving forward; especially when dealing with technical adjustments of your strokes
- If you want to play “safer and more high percentage tennis”, accelerate your strokes, don’t decelerate (mentioned in the context of topspin groundstrokes and 2nd serves)
I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and cannot wait until next year to do it all over again. Thanks again to Florian Meier and P.J. Simmons.
Note: Private lessons with OTI instructor Nadim Naser are available year-round in Florida. Florian personally trained Nadim to teach the OTI system. Click here to learn more about private lessons in Florida with Nadim.