Junior Interclub season is heating up! The Aspen Hill Club’s team is off to a fabulous start, compiling an undefeated record of 4-0 to start the season. Our team is competing against juniors from tennis clubs across the area in the Montgomery County Junior Tennis League, and the kids are having a blast!
The season started out with a tough portion of the schedule, having Aspen Hill hosting 2017 champion Flower Valley followed by our next door neighbor, Argyle Country Club. The Aspen Hill Juniors, lead by brothers Mathew and Nathan Tan, defeated Flower Valley in a tough team match by a score of 11-6. The Tan brothers accounted for four of those points themselves by competing in the Boys 12 and 14 and under matches in both singles and doubles! The Aspen Hill Juniors followed it up two days later by taking another close victory over Argyle by a score of 11-7, and also Norbeck Country Club over the next two weeks.
Another highlight of the first half of the season has been the Girls 12 and under. Aspen Hill is undefeated thanks to stellar play from Emma Ikeda and Wangu Njuguna. Both girls are undefeated in their match play. Way to go, ladies!
Last year’s season ended with a loss by one match to Palisades Club which handed them the league championship. Our kids have this match on July 9th circled on the calendar and are working hard in summer camp to get ready!
The Aspen Hill team is made up of Club members and juniors that are continuing to work on their match play in summer camp. The league is a great way to get our juniors exposed to competitive match play in a FUN team setting. The focus is on learning, having fun, and continuing to get better with every match.
Everyone wants to know what it takes to elevate their game to the next level. If that is you then you have come to the right place! It’s easy to take your game to the next level, the question is, are you willing to do what it takes?
Find a great tennis coach who can help you clean up some of your bad habits, which can include incorrect grips and unorthodox swing patterns. Cleaning up your technique is the fastest way to get better. If your thought is you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, then be a master at what you do. Perfect your craft weather flawed or not. Do what you do and do it well.
Put in the time on the tennis court. Another simple way of getting better is simply being on the court—the more you play, the better you will get. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Participate in Classes
Participate in tennis clinics that focus on skill building. Most classes will have a set theme on one or two aspects of the game to work on during the clinic. Listen to the information, absorb the information and apply the information even if you are bad at it in the beginning. We all heard the saying, practice makes perfect.
Play more matches. Matches are a great opportunity to measure the things you are doing well while also showing you the areas in your game you are struggling with. When competing, a loss is way more valuable than a victory because it breaks down everything you need to work on. Some players will lose a match and just say ”I didn’t play well.” My questions to you are why did you play bad? Were you struggling with your backhand? Did you not get up to the net enough? Were you not moving well? Did you struggle mentally on the big points? Did you run out of gas? Were you making a lot of unforced errors? After each match, especially one that you lost, you should take a moment to reflect on the things that worked and didn’t work. Losing provides you with a blueprint of what you need to work on.
Nutrition is huge in all sports. You have to fuel your body properly for it to perform at it’s highest capacity. Everyone is different so I am not going to get into too many details, but you should eat and drink the things that give you energy during your time on the court. I will tell you a lot of tennis players eat a lot of pasta before their matches to have the carbs they need to sustain. Know your body and find out what works for you.
Get your Rest
If you show up to a match tired, you probably are not going to be able to give your absolute best effort no matter how hard you try. You would not be as focused as you need to be successful. You also will probably not have the best concentration. Getting a good nights rest is very important for your success on the court.
Last but not least, you need to get your butt in shape. We are very fortunate to have the best of both worlds here at our Club with a full gym and swimming pool. Take advantage of it! Getting in shape helps you be better not only on the tennis court but in all aspects of your life. Benefits of being in shape on the court are as follows: you can move better to the ball, have the strength to hit stronger shots, have the stamina to outlast your opponents and you’ll be able to recover faster to play more matches in the same week.
Hopefully, you find my tips for improving your game helpful. As always, keep on playing!
You can always find the Tan family smiling at the Aspen Hill Club! This active family knows the importance of staying healthy and the Club has given everyone a way to be active in their own way.
Allen and Sunant grew up locally, both attending Kennedy High School and were members of the school varsity tennis team. Allen started tennis as a teenager after watching a some of his peers hitting the school tennis courts. He got a few friends together and they taught themselves how to play. Soon enough they were ready for the Kennedy High School Boys Tennis Team.
Now with two sons of their own, 9 year old Nathan and 11 year old Matthew, the couple knew they wanted to get the kids active in tennis. “A friend told me about the great program at Aspen Hill, so we came by. Tennis is great because they learn about exercise, competition, problem solving, and having a hobby for life! It’s much better than if they sat home and played video games!” explains Allen.
Nine year old Nathan is a member of Aspen Hill’s Junior Academy program, where he continues to work very hard on improving his tennis game, “Nathan is always one of the hardest workers in the class, and he makes everyone better,” explains Aspen Hill tennis professional Julien DeLaine. In fact, Nathan has been competing in USTA tournaments, winning his last two “10 and under” events. His last tournament was the USTA Orange Ball event at the Aspen Hill Club, congratulations, Nathan!
Matthew began his tennis in the Aspen Hill Club last winter in the Academy program. Through hard work in Academy and World Class Summer Camp, he is now a member of our highly competitive Future Stars program. Matthew was a key member of Aspen Hill’s Junior Interclub Team, tallying several key wins over strong opponents. In all of his matches, Matthew worked hard and never gave up! His great attitude on the court helped him earn several come-from-behind victories. Matthew is now competing in USTA sanctioned tournaments and his level continues to rise!
Sunant and Allen enjoy seeing the boys having fun on the tennis court from the comfortable couches of the Club, but they don’t just come to watch the action—they get involved too! “We enjoy the gym, it lets us get a great work out in while the boys are in tennis class,”
Allen and Sunant, the smiles that your family shares with us at the Aspen Hill Club are contagious! We are so happy that you are part of our community and we are so looking forward to watching Matthew and Nathan grow on and off of the tennis court!
Join the Aspen Hill Club for a full day US Open experience!
Monday, August 26, 2019 – 6:00am to 11:30pm:
6:00am—leave the Aspen Hill Club (parking in AHC parking lot)
11:00am—arrive at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows\
7:00pm—leaving the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows
11:30pm—arrive at the Aspen Hill Club
Cost: $175 + tax per person
Cost includes bus cost, tolls, travel fees and tickets to the US Open on Monday, August 26, 2019. Tickets grant Access into the upper level of Arthur Ashe Stadium, access to all other stadiums and the entire outside courts. Members can travel from court to court watching their favorite players and shop in all the tennis stores.
Only 53 spaces available. Must have minimum of 30 participants by 7/1/19.
First Come First Serve, No Refunds, – tickets are able to be transferred to other members
Taking a Charter bus with TV’s , bathroom and Wi-Fi
Server—The server is responsible for keeping track of the score and to announce before the start of every point. They are also responsible for finding your opponents weakness, communicating with their partner and making about 70% of first serves in. The server should take some pace off to make sure this happens.
Servers Partner (Net Player) – The net player should try and be as active as possible at the net looking to pick off anything near the middle of the court. They are also responsible for excellent movement during the point, moving forward when they can see the ball and moving back when they can’t see the ball. Lastly, they are responsible for volleying to the other net player when opportunity presents itself.
Returner—The number one responsibility is to get the ball back in play, preferably away from the net player. The returner should also try to keep the ball low to the server or over the net players head. They are also responsible for trying to get to the net themselves. The team that gets to the net first usually wins the point.
Returners Partner—This player is responsible for assisting the returner with calling serves out, usually deep serves. They should also be alert and keep their eyes on the other net player in case they try and poach. Lastly, this player should be looking to poach on any ball near the center of the court.
Now that you know what your responsibilities are on the court when playing doubles, make sure you are out there doing your job to help you and your partner be as successful as possible. Keep on Playing!
In order to be successful in doubles, it is very important for you to have great chemistry with your partner. There are certain traffic patterns some of the best doubles duos abide by between points to keep them both with a positive attitude and working together during the match. Here are the traffic patterns great teams do during every match.
Step 1: After the point is over, immediately make eye contact with your partner.
Step 2: Connect with each other with a high five or a fist pump. This step is extremely important after you or your partner looses a point or makes a stupid unforced error. Your roles as partners are to motivate and encourage one another all the way to the end of the match. If this step is skipped over, then your partner may think you are mad at them even if you are not as it is simply human nature for us to think that way.
Step 3: Walk your partner back to the baseline. During this time is when you discuss strategy and find out where your partner will be serving or returning the ball.
Step 4: Run up to the net in your position for the next point. By doing this, you set the tone as if you and your partner have a master plan and you are ready to execute it. There is also a bit of an intimidation factor in there as well. I’m sure everyone has seen Nadal jumping around during the coin toss along with his fast sprint to the baseline to get warmed up. There is a lot of gamesmanship there as he is sending a message to his opponent that he is ready to hustle for every point and you are in for a tough battle my friend.
If you want to watch all these steps played out to perfection, watch the Bryan brothers play a match and you will see them execute these steps between each point. It’s one of the things that make them the best. Keep on Playing!
Ever since Eric’s parents, Thu and David, left Vietnam 40 years ago they have lived in the United States working very hard to provide for their two sons. Language has been a barrier for them, but instilling hard work into the mindset of sons Eric and Austin has come from their sacrifices.
Eric entered his teen years knowing that his family had it tougher than others, but he also had a role model—his brother Austin. “Austin left for California for college, and he’s been on his own since,” explains Eric. During this time, when Eric was just entering his teen years and Austin was in college, Eric’s father was diagnosed with throat cancer. At the age of 13, while Eric was stressed about his father’s health and what he would do for college himself, he used tennis to distress. “I went to play tennis with my friends one day and I hit the sweet spot of the racket, and I loved it!”
Eric became consumed with learning as much as he could about tennis, this included YouTube videos, endless Google searches, and anything else that those of us that are “Tennis Nerds” can relate to! “Tennis became my way of dealing with everything,” Eric explains, “It became my passion and also my distraction tool.”
Eric’s mother saw her son’s attention to tennis and wanted to help him play more tennis. “My mom worked at the hospital with Susan Towe (AHC member). Susan told my mom information about junior tennis classes, such as prices, and we knew we couldn’t afford that” explained Eric.
When Susan figured out that cost was an issue, she made a decision that would alter Eric’s ability to get onto the tennis court, she gave the family information on Fred’s ACES. Eric has now been attending World Class Elite at Aspen Hill Club and is an integral part of the program; Tennis Director Terrance Scott explains, “Eric is an incredibly hard worker who leads by example. Our program is better because of Eric.”
Fred’s ACES is a 501c(3) scholarship fund set up in memory of longtime Aspen Hill Club member Fred Sommer. Fred’s ACES provides scholarship opportunities to kids, of all ages and levels, across Montgomery County that face obstacles when it comes to getting onto the tennis court. The funds have assisted over 50 kids ranging in age from 8-17 years old, fully funding their tennis classes at The Aspen Hill Club. “Fred’s ACES was a dream come true for me, it fundamentally changed my life” explains Eric.
Since picking up a racket at the age of 13, Eric has developed into a force on the tennis court. He is entering his third year on the high school team at Gaithersburg High School, where he has been Varsity Captain for three years. Last year Eric played #2 on the varsity team, “ What I love about tennis is the strategy that it takes and the need to analyze your opponent. Figuring things out on the fly is key in tennis.”
Eric is in his senior year at Gaithersburg this year and is looking forward to attending the University of Pennsylvania on a full scholarship/financial aid package next year. When Eric had his interview with UPenn, he was able to select where his admissions interview would take place, this decision was easy for him. “My interview was at Aspen Hill. At Aspen Hill and though Fred’s ACES, I learned that there are good people out there that want to help. I am forever inspired.”
Eric, thank you for adding so much to our tennis program at Aspen Hill Club. You have grown into a leader and your coaches at Aspen Hill are so proud of you and cannot wait to see the great contributions you’ll make in this world.
February brought an incredibly special event to The Aspen Hill Club—our Club and members served as hosts to the 2019 Winter Invitational. This special junior tennis tournament brought nearly 60 kids representing seven cities across the nation (DC, Boston, Dallas, Harlem, Philly, and Trenton) to learn and compete on and off the court. Each city sent USTA Local Excellence programs to the event.
USTA Excellence centers are designed to use tennis as a vehicle to educate and bring opportunities (on and off the court) to underserved youth. In addition to playing tennis at the Winter Invitational, players were treated to guest speakers including USTA National coaches, a college coach forum, and leadership skills and lessons by Win4Life.
To be a member of a USTA Excellence team, players must do much more than be strong players. Players must have at least a 3.0 GPA, conduct at least four community service events a year, complete a USTA NJTL Essay competition, and compete on local and national tennis events. While competing at the Winter Invitational, all players from across the country united and prepared over 200 lunches for the Montgomery County Coalition for the homeless – Home Builders Care Assessment Center (HBCAC) Men’s Emergency Shelter.
Former Aspen Hill member (and standout tennis player) Jeri Ingram had the idea to bring this event to a place that meant so much to her, “My dad (Joe Ingram) was a member of Aspen Hill and brought me to summer camp when I was 9 years old, that’s where I met Vicki (my first coach) and Jeff Klein. Tennis changed my life and “if there was one person responsible for me enjoying the game of tennis and believing in my ability, it would be Jeff,” Jeri recalls. Bringing kids from across the country to the place where she began her tennis playing was incredibly special for Jeri, “I thought back to how many people helped me at Aspen Hill and at Springbrook High and I know it’s my obligation to reach others.”
Jeri played college tennis at the University of Maryland before playing pro tennis and having a world ranking. She returned to college after playing on the pro tour. Her career goal was to become a college athletic director, but after working with kids, she knew she had a different calling, she explains: “As I began working with kids that can’t afford tennis, I wanted to do more. The more kids I reach, the more I want to do.”
Jeri founded Metropolitan Tennis & Education Group six years ago to help kids have opportunities that they ordinarily wouldn’t, “It’s an awesome opportunity to teach kids and prepare them for college,” says Jeri. MTEF currently has 30 kids on their team, and “We have a GPA of 3.7,” boasts Jeri.
The 2019 Winter Invitational was a huge success. The kids played phenomenal tennis and were treated to learning from college tennis coaches. The kids had a blast and loved the facilities offered by The Club. “We appreciate AHC hosting the event, because of community involvement events like this can happen. It’s a heavy lift and we need great support like we received from Aspen Hill” explained Jeri.
Aspen Hill was lucky to watch such great tennis and meet so many fabulous new faces!