On Friday, January 24th we had a fabulous time playing tennis while benefiting an extremely important cause. Our weekly Doubles Frenzy event is BACK and on the 24th we hosted a big party! We had two groups of players, one level of 3.0 doubles with the other group being 3.5+. Thirty Aspen Hill members showed up for the mix and match doubles fun. A great time was had by all, playing as much doubles as we could get in during our 2 hours of tennis time.
When the final serve was hit at 9:00pm, our champions of the week were Jeff Mund and Josephine Garnem each had the highest number of games won in their groups! When the tennis was complete everyone gathered to enjoy a drink, snack, and watch the Australian Open tennis on TV! The big winner of the night was our entire group—as their participation in the event helped Aspen Hill Club in sending over $500 to the Australian Red Cross to aide in the Australian Wildfire rescue efforts.
Just about everyone sees Tim Hahn before the reach check-in at the Aspen Hill Club. Members are greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. Tim owns the Aspen Hill Sports Shop and has spent time talking with just about every member. But who is he?How does he know so much? This month we are going to take some time getting to know Tim!
Tim’s interest in tennis began when he was in middle school—he was glued to the Borg vs McEnroe 1980 Wimbledon Championship match. After that contest, Tim started playing in the neighborhood. Before he knew it he was a member of the Walter Johnson Varsity Team. Tim continued playing recreationally while attending University of Maryland—where he studied Mathematics.
Tim’s studies lead him to a successful career in his field of study. One day one of Tim’s friends talked to him about becoming a partner in Sports World—a sports shop in nearby Glenmont, Md. This opportunity spoke to Tim, after all—he was passionate about tennis, running, and athletics in general. Tim was excited about this opportunity and jumped at the chance for a MAJOR career change!
As co-owner of Sports World, Tim hit the ground running. He learned as much as he could about tennis equipment. In fact, Tim earned certification as a Master Racket Technician. It is this ability to have a deep understanding about equipment & technology that helps bring Tim a smile as a small business owner now at Aspen Hill Sports Shop. “It brings me joy when one of our members tells me that I helped make a difference in their game. They let me know that I helped them, and I feel really good! I’m helping them be better at what they love doing!” explains Tim. Tim often uses technology to help customers with injuries, “Certain strings can help with tennis elbow. It really can make their pain go away!” Other times Tim helps players achieve more power or control in their tennis game by switching rackets. Tim’s expertise has been relied on by the ATP tennis pros—Tim has been a racket stringer at the Citi Open 13 times!
Not only is Tim “book smart” about tennis, he also has got serious game! Tim is a 5.0 player himself and plays almost every day with tennis buddy Milton White and Aspen Hill Club pros John Parsley, Jeff Klein, and Mark Ortiz. Playing tennis helps Tim feel good, “Tennis to me is about meditation, it’s relaxing. I feel good and I am constantly trying to hit the perfect stroke!”
You may have wondered around the shop and thought to yourself “Geez! Tim sure does have a lot of running shoes for a tennis shop!”—well, there is good reason for that. Before Tim’s life was centered around tennis, he focused his athletic skills in another way—as a marathon runner! Tim has run in 14 marathons, including the Marine Corps Marathon and the Boston Marathon. Tim’s personal record was 2 hours 36 minutes, which had him competing in the US Olympic trials in Korea!!! So if Tim offers you advice on running shoes, you should know with confidence that he knows his stuff.
Aspen Hill Club has been an important part of Tim’s life well before he moved in with the Aspen Hill Sports Shop. As his children, Meghan and Alex, grew up—the family had a home at Aspen Hill Club. They have grown up being fixtures on the courts and became fantastic players—both playing on NCAA Division 1 tennis scholarships. Tim is a student of the game and enjoyed learning as much as possible about tennis—becoming PTR Certified Professional himself.
Tim views Aspen Hill Club as a special place and he’s happy to call it home. “There are so many great pros here at the Club, some focus on mental aspects while others emphasize technical skills. The tennis pros do a fantastic job catering to members. I really enjoy helping my customers get set up to play and then help them find the right pro!” says Tim.
On Wednesday, December 17 we had a very special guest—Rachel Kros from USTA/ MAS! Rachel is Senior Manager of Youth Competition. Rachel oversees all junior tennis tournaments, and she came to Aspen Hill Club to educate our families on changes to the way USTA junior tennis tournaments will work! Below I’ve outlined a couple of important changes that all of our families should be aware of:
ONE Nationwide Structure of Tournaments. The 17 sectional structures and one national structure will be replaced with ONE nationwide structure of junior tournaments. The structure will consist of seven levels of ranking tournaments, with the lowest level of intermediate tournament classified as a Level 7 and USTA National Championships classified as Level 1. For entry-level to intermediate players of all ages, a non-ranking series of events called the Net Generation Circuit will focus on age-appropriate competition, development and fun.
ONE Nationwide Points-Per-Round Ranking System. The 17 sectional ranking systems and one national ranking system will be replaced with
ONE nationwide ranking system for the Level 1-7 ranking tournaments. One set of nationwide ranking tables will determine the points earned in all ranking tournaments.
ONE Standings List. At least monthly, the USTA will continue to publish National Standings Lists (NSLs), using the same Best of 6 singles and Best of 6 doubles results system, with 15% of a player’s doubles results counting toward a player’s standing. Points will count up and count down as they have in the past. These lists will be filtered by section or district when they are used for selection into closed tournaments and team competitions.
EVERYTHING Counts. While sections will continue to hold two Closed Level 3s and four Closed 4s, and in some cases Closed Level 5s, all other tournaments sanctioned by the sections will be open to all players and all results will count in the ranking system. This also permits sections to hold Open Level 4s. This means that, for example, if you are vacationing out of section and play a tournament, it will count. It also allows players who live near section borders to play across section lines and have their results count.
ONE Quota list criteria for every Section. no more endorsement requirements for Nationals. Sections will no longer impose minimum requirements to appear on a section’s endorsement list. Sections will continue to get a minimum Quota number of players into USTA National
Championships, but these lists will all have the same criteria and will be published on a monthly basis so players better understand their chances of making Nationals. The criteria provides an incentive for players to compete in-section as follows:
In the BG 18, 16 and 14 divisions, no more than three singles and three doubles results can be from tournaments sanctioned by an entity other than the Sectional Association; and
• In the BG 12 divisions, no more than two singles and two doubles results can be from tournaments sanctioned by an entity other than the Sectional Association.
It All Starts in 2021. All of the changes will take effect in January 2021. In the coming months, be on the lookout for webinars and other educational materials that will take a deeper dive into the details of the new structure.
We are looking forward to Friday, April 3rd, 2020 when the Aspen Hill Club’s tennis staff and members will team up to raise money for Fred’s Aces Scholarship Fund! Fred’s Aces is a 501c3 Non-Profit which works to bring local needs based kids into our junior tennis program! The kids apply with an essay and a recommendation. If selected, they receive a scholarship to attend a full session of junior tennis classes at AHC. Our team will be running a few fundraising events throughout the year—but our biggest event is the April 3rd fundraiser which features TENNIS PLAY, PRIZES, SILIENT AUCTION, & FUN!Please save the date and look out for more information coming soon!
Hello everyone! I wanted to take a minute to help everyone understand the basics of junior tournament play. Tennis tournaments sanctioned through the United States Tennis Association (USTA) count towards a player’s ranking (or standing) in our region, which is USTA/ Mid-Atlantic. A player needs to be a member of the USTA in order to play a tournament—all of our juniors should be members of USTA!
How we host entry-level tournaments
At the Club we have been hosting many USTA Level 7 tournaments. These are designed to be “entry level” tournaments and to teach kids about tournament play. Our team at the Aspen Hill Club believes that kids get BETTER and LEARN through competition. We also host several “Level 5” events throughout the year for those experienced tournament players.
Designations within tournaments
Tournaments are designated by “Levels,” with Level 1 (L1) being the highest level while L8 is for players just learning about tournament play. The higher the level, the more points a player earns for their ranking. As an example, a player that wins one match at a L3 earns 190 points while a player winning an entire L7 tournament earns 165 points. There is little incentive for very strong players to play lower level tournaments.
A player’s ranking is made up of the sum of their top 5 tournament events within a year. So If I had played 6 tournaments and my point totals were 200, 210, 215, 220, 225, and 100—the event where I earned 100 points would not count towards my ranking. This is a sign that I should be playing higher level tournaments!
Tips for Tournament Players:
Age divisions go by 2 year groupings: 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s, 18s. So a 13 year old girl would play “Girls 14 and under” (G14u). She is permitted to play the 16s and 18s, but she isn’t able to play younger divisions.
ALL players that play a L8 tournament earn 50 ranking points! A player needs to win a match in higher level events to earn any points. Example: If I play a L7 tournament and don’t win any matches, I earn zero points.
Points earned in older age divisions count down! So if I usually play 12 and under tournaments, but earn points in the 14 and under—those points will count towards my 12 and under ranking.
Level 7 & 8 events are scheduled as 1 day and/or TIMED events! You will know the timeframe that the kids will play Level 6+up are 2 day events! They can take up much of a weekend
I was teaching a class on Monday night and on the court next to me there were four ladies playing during their Reserved Season Contract Time. I couldn’t help but notice that all four of them were playing with the same racquet, which I also play with. The Wilson Clash has been selling like crazy and for good reason. The racquet provides phenomenal control yet allows you to give off a powerful shot with the flex from the racquet head. If that’s not enough for you to go out and buy it immediately, did I forget to mention that you don’t feel a thing in your arm during the impact of the ball. I love this racquet and apparently so does everyone else! See Tim Hahn at the Pro Shop to try it for yourself. You are in for a treat!
When you and your partner are getting destroyed from a strong cross-court returner, you and your partner should be open you make an adjustment. One of the best ways to take away the cross-court return is to play from the Australian Doubles Formation. The Australian doubles formation is when the partner of the serve stands on the same side of the court. So if you are serving from the deuce side, your partner is standing in the deuce service box. This formation will force your opponents to return their serve down the line which is a low percentage shot. Why is this a low percentage shot? Because the net is higher with an extra six inches and the court is shorter by four and a half feet.
In order to make this work, when serving you will need to stand close to the center court mark. You will need to do this for two reasons. One is to avoid hitting your partner with the serve and two because you will have to hustle cross court to hit the down the line return. Another reason to try this formation is that it catches your opponents by surprise. A lot of players have never seen this formation before and do not know how to play against it. If you can catch your opponents off guard and get them overthinking, they will probably overthink their shots and start making a lot of errors. Try this formation the next time you play and watch them scramble to figure out what to do. Keep on Playing!
Hitting approach shots and attacking the net is a great tactic in both singles and especially in doubles. It puts pressure on your opponents to do something with the ball. Some players will try and pass you close to the lines, over your head or they will hit the ball right at you. This brings us to our topic of discussion. You want to get close to the net to be in optimal volley position but you do not want to get too close.
You always hear us coaches yelling “close to the net”. This terminology in tennis simply means move forward. You do want to close in on the net to avoid hitting low volleys at your feet, but you do not want to have your nose on top of the net. Here are three reasons why:
Number 1: If you accidentally touch the net during a point before the ball bounces twice on your opponents side, you automatically lose the point.
Number 2: If you are too close to the net, then you give yourself less time to react to the ball to hit a good volley. The more time the better.
Number 3: When you are on top of the net, you expose your self to be lobbed. Even if your opponent doesn’t hit a great lob, if you are too close you have no chance of tracking the ball down.
So, how close should you get? To measure, go half way between the net and the service line and then take one step forward, which will be your best location to stand. It is absolutely fine to step forward to hit a strong volley but make sure you recover and step back into the best volley position for your next shot. Keep on Playing!
What a season! The Aspen Hill Club juniors finished off what they started and took the 2019 Montgomery County Junior Tennis League title with exciting fashion. Heading into the last week of the season, AHC’s team was looking good as they sat with an impressive record of 5-0—but had 2 incredibly tough matches remaining: the 2018 league champions, Palisades Club, followed by the always tough Cedarbrook to close out the season.
Our juniors were able to achieve revenge over the defending champs, (and only team last year to defeat Aspen Hill Club) Palisades! With the win, AHC was guaranteed their MCJTL championship. But with one match remaining, the undefeated record was on the line against Cedarbrook. The match lived up to the hype—ending at an even 9 matches to 9 matches! With this tie, all games were counted to determine the winner. By a score of 26 to 22 games, your Aspen Hill Club juniors ended the summer interclub season with an undefeated and perfect record!
The following week the individual playoffs took place, and AHC’s players represented The Club in excellent fashion. Here are highlights of those results:
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.