Reflections on the PTR Symposium

Well it is hard to believe that the PTR Symposium has come and gone. It was quite a week and great experience.

This was to be my first trip to Hilton Head and I was looking forward to experiencing the PTR Symposium as i had heard nothing but great things from my colleagues who have previously attended.

I flew into the Savannah Georgia airport on Friday February 15th. The airport was very nice and seemed almost new. I met up with a few friends and drove to Hilton Head, stopping at a great Mexican restaurant for lunch.

Next, off to the Shipyard Plantation and the Crown Plaza Resort to check in. The Crown Plaza was very nice. The rooms were extremely clean and comfortable, the staff friendly.

After checking in, it was off to PTR Headquarters to check in for the symposium where i was greeted warmly by Dan Santorum and Amanda Mitchell. The first event of the Symposium was the World Team Tennis Competition. While i did not play it was fun watching those who did as they seemed to enjoy themselves. Next year i will make sure i sign up and participate in the fun! Friday evening we were off to a team dinner with the Cardio Tennis Speaker Team members who had arrived.

Saturday, was a busy day as I attended the Master Cardio Tennis training for the National Cardio Tennis Speaker Team. This was a full day of on and off court training. Then off to another team dinner and then out for some more team building. Thanks to the TIA and Michele for organizing and hosting a great event. Saturday also was the start of the annual PTR Championships Tournament as well as some great professional development courses such as Mike Barrell’s Growing Kids, Growing the Game. If you have not had a chance to experience one of Mike’s courses, you need to as he is an excellent presenter and has a real passion for training others to love working with kids. The annual PTR drill exchange was another highlight of a busy Saturday. The PTR finished the day by hosting a cookout

Sunday, the PTR Symposium started in earnest with yoga on the beach, the PTR Championships in full swing and the sessions getting started. One of the cool things that the PTR does, is the Parade of Nations Ceremony, where each country with Symposium attendees, gets to march into the main show court in front of PTR Headquarters with their country flag, some attendees in their countries clothing and have a picture taken with Dennis Van der Meer. Here is a photo of all of those who participated this year:


Some of the presentations on Sunday that I enjoyed were by Nick Saviano, Carl Peterson and Chuck Kriese. Sunday night we were all off to the Gamma Dinner Party and Casino night which was a lot of fun!

Monday, up early and out as we ran Cardio Tennis at 8am across the three indoor courts. We had 30 participants as well as a waiting list and about 25 people who stayed to watch! Monday also had its share of great presentations (as well as rain!). I enjoyed Lisa Ducan, Kirk Anderson/Jason Jamison, Gustavo Granitto, Jore Andrew/ Carlos Manaure. Anne Pankhurst finished the day with a nice presentation on PTR Kids and Quickstart (reminds me i need to order the DVD) which i got to be a participant. Anne was supposed to present with Mike Barrell who unfortunately had to head back to the U.K. Monday evening was the PTR cocktail reception and awards banquet. Unfortunately, i forgot to pack any dress clothes, so i had to miss all of the fun. So it was off to the bar for a quick dinner (try their crab-cake sandwich, it is awesome) and then back to the room to catch the season finale of Prison Break (love that show) and then Terminator, the Sarah Connors Chronicles!

Tuesday was another early morning with Cardio Tennis. We had another 30 participants, some familiar faces from Monday and we unfortunately had to turn people away. Sessions that I saw were: Lorenzo Beltrame, my good friend Doug Eng who taught us how to “Invent Federer”, Rodney Harmon (who i was extremely impressed by) and Rob Antoun with his “Drills for the Modern Game”. Next it was off to the Head sponsored “50’s Sock Hop and Dinner” where I was fortunate enough to sit with Dennis and Pat Van der Meer, Dan Santorum, Doug Eng, David Robinson and Whitney Kraft! Everyone seemed to enjoy the Sock Hop and the Dance Floor was packed!

Wednesday started off with the USTA sponsored recognition breakfast where the PTR and TIA handed out their annual awards. After breakfast I was off to see presentations by Craig Jones and Dave Brouwer. Both of these presentations were very good and focused on our younger tennis players using PTR Kids and Quickstart methodologies. From there I was off to help out with the presentation by Laury Hammel and Phil Parrish on the Zip Zone, how to create an indoor facility which consists of 36′ courts for the USTA Quickstart ( is the website for this new facility). The tradeshow also opened with lots of great booths to stop by and see. Next up was attending the second presentation by Jore Andrew and Carlos Manaure. This was a continuation of their All Star drills session and was a lot of fun. Off to lunch and then a quick team meeting to get set for the Cardio Tennis 4 Kids session which was given by Michele Krause. Michele did a great job with the presentation, utilizing local children as participants. The last session of the day the day that i saw was Clive Carrigan’s on Top 10 Drills for advanced players which was quite fun. I also heard that Jean-Philippe Fleurian’s session on Teaching 4-5 Year Olds through the Art of Storytelling was quite good. Off to dinner with friends while others took advantage of the Professional Development Evening.

Thursday was yet another early morning as we had our last Cardio Tennis workout. We had 4 courts going which were packed with 10 per court. David Robinson had one court using a ball machine which was well received. Over the three days we ran Cardio Tennis, we had 100 symposium attendees participate! Next up, was the Cardio Tennis Fast Feeding Contest which had a $400 cash prize as well as a 2009 PTR Symposium pass as prizes for first and second place. We had 24 participants and the winner, Catalin Chira, finished with getting 47 balls in the correct targets within 60 seconds! After the shootout, i was able to catch the Pat Etcheberry, Walker Sahag and Bill Mountford sessions. Next up was Jorge Capestany’s Cardio Tennis Drills session was was excellent and funny! Jorge has just launched a great website which contains a library of tennis drills for singles, doubles, cardio tennis, Quickstart, large numbers of players. It also has videos on strategy, feeding balls. This is a must for any pro to subscribe to as everyone can learn something. The last presentation of the Symposium was by Ken DeHart on how to prolong your career as a tennis pro.

As i headed back to my room to change for the Diadora/Kaelin dinner and fashion show, i was informed that Boston was about to get socked by a big snowstorm on Friday, right around the time my flight was to arrive (note to self, check to see if you can extend your stay in Hilton Head by a day!). The Diadora/Kaelin event was a blast. The fashion show was a lot of fun and was a perfect cap on a wonderful week.

As I woke up Friday I wondered if I would make it back to Boston today or would have to wait another day to get back. As i was looking at the weather in Boston and checking the status of my flight, I was ready to just stay and take advantage of another Professional Development workshop on Teaching Advanced Stroke Production or Wheelchair Tennis. Unfortunately, my flight was not canceled (though many others were) so I will have to catch these courses at a later time.

As I arrived back in Boston around 3pm on Friday in the midst of the nasty storm, i reflected back on what a great week I had at the PTR Symposium.

It is not to late to take advantage of the 2008 Symposium as you can order audio CDs and DVD videos of many of the sessions from here.

If you have never been to the PTR Symposium, I strongly suggest you plan to attend in 2009. The symposium provides a great way to continue to enhance your skills as a tennis professional as well as providing a fantastic way to network with others from all over the world. I am already looking forward to next year’s symposium (I might even submit a presentation for consideration). I hope I see you there!

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