Member Spotlight

Tennis Family for Life!

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By: Elliott Datlow

 

Julie and Andrew moved to the Montgomery County from Indianapolis, and they were looking for somewhere where the entire family could be active. Not really knowing their way around the area (yet) they did what anyone would do—they hit up the “all knowing” Google. Their Google search lead them to the Aspen Hill Club, and we are so happy that they are now a part of our community!

Julie and Andrew were not big tennis players prior to their initial info session with Membership Director Eric Suchinsky, but now it’s hard to find a day that someone from the Harrison family is NOT at the Club! Julie is into her second session of our Adult Beginner tennis program with Coach Elliott—and she is making big strides, “I promised myself that when I got good, I’d treat myself to a new racket, I think I’m there!” In addition to being a star player in her tennis class, Julie has had private tennis lessons with Aspen Hill’s newest pro, Chris Cozzillio. In addition to the tennis court, Julie has had a fantastic time joining Allison’s Body Pump class.

While Julie was new to tennis, Andrew did have experience prior experience playing tennis. Andrew has met many new friends on the tennis court and has made it part of his routine. After having his initial New Member Evaluation with Coach Ilan, he was set up with new players to meet—and he just can’t get enough!

The couple has definitely enjoyed their tennis time, but a big part of the family’s membership was for the kids! Hayden and Hazel started playing in our Young Stars tennis class, where they are learning basic tennis skills using larger low compression balls and other specialized equipment designed to keep tennis FUN for the younger ones! On a rainy day you might even find the entire family playing tennis together on the indoor tennis courts.

The family is at the Club at least 4 times a week! “Oh, we are a tennis family forever now. We just can’t get enough! And we are so looking forward to Child Minding and using the pool. There is already so much for us to do at the Club, and we are so looking forward to having even more activities!” Julie adds.

Julie & Andrew, your family has been such a welcome addition to the Aspen Hill Club community. Smiles follow your family around to all of your activities, and we are so lucky that you found us!

 

Member Spotlight

Welcome Back Jeff!

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It makes us incredibly happy to welcome Jeff back to his indoor tennis court! Jeff has been a member of Aspen Hill Club for nearly 40 years. Upon moving to the area, he began playing tennis at the Club with his IBM coworker Earl. These two gentlemen continue playing tennis together weekly for 37 years later—every Sunday morning. It warms our hearts to give our members a place to get their exercise and enjoy their tennis!

Tennis

It’s A Winner – Junior Match Play!

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Covid-19 brought about a pause to many of our junior players favorite activities including Junior Interclub and USTA tournaments. But our junior players didn’t let that halt their tennis competition! With many schools providing kids a “flex day” on Wednesdays, Aspen Hill Club saw an opportunity to return the kids to safe and fun match play. We’ve been hosting many of our juniors to play several matches and inputting results into the UTR database. These matches are played in a safe environment—kids are socially distanced throughout the event and each have their own set of tennis balls labeled with their initials. This way, players only have to handle their own tennis balls when serving.

 

Many important life skills are learned through competition including: interacting with others, problem solving, and never giving up! It has been wonderful to see our junior players growing on and off of the court through our match play program.

Tennis

French Open – In October?

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By: Elliott Datlow

It’s October, and as a tennis fan, you know what that means! French Open??? That’s right! The French Open at Roland Garros kicks off the spring for tennis players, and occurs annually in May. But due to Covid-19 it was postponed until September! Main draw matches began on Sunday, September 27 with the finals occurring the weekend of October 10.

 

There are so many many storylines to watch out for! What I am keeping my eyes on is the level of play from the players that didn’t play the US Open. When the US Open started, there were very few events for players to play in preparation. We saw pros such as Nadal, Henin, & Barty sit out. And then we saw the players that stayed active through exhibitions such as World Team Tennis  excel—think  about the emergency of Jennifer Brady! And Victoria Azarenka’s hard work during quarantine paid off with a title at the Western & Southern Open and carried it into New York with a runner up finish!

 

In the Rome event leading up to the French, the “King of Clay,” Rafael Nadal, took an early loss. This was more than likely, at least in some part, due to not playing much competition. Meanwhile Dominic Thiem, known for doing great on the red clay, surprised us all by taking the US Open title! This is going to set up an interesting dynamic for the French Open!

 

The French Open is my favorite Major to watch and I was lucky enough to attend as a coach, helping my college teammate, Jesse Witten, on his journey as a pro tennis player. Roland Garros is a special place and every year we are treated to fantastic tennis. The pros battle the slow court surface of the red clay, and tennis fans watch in awe. This year the pros won’t have had long to prepare for their battles on the intriguing court surface—so get your popcorn ready!

 

 

Tennis

UTR at the Aspen Hill Club!

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The Tennis Department is extremely excited to announce that we have teamed up with Universal Tennis Rating (UTR)! You likely have heard about UTR while watching tennis on TV— and now you will be part of it!

 

The Club is going to offer programs partnered with UTR. Being a part of UTR is going to mean that YOU will be able to more easily play with people of your level— and that is what we ALL want! As you beat players with a higher UTR, your own UTR number will increase. We will input scores from our Club programs into the UTR system and these scores will be part of the global UTR community.

 

Dave Fish, Hall of Fame Coach with over 30 years as Head Men’s Coach at Harvard University, and co-founder of UTR, does a great job of quickly summing it up “UTR-based events yield more close, competitive matches. And, UTR makes it possible for any player, anywhere, to find a level of competition that’s right for them – enough challenge to satisfy, but not too much to overwhelm.”

Introduction: UTR Powered by Oracle is a global rating system that promotes fair and competitive play across the tennis world. All players, regardless of age, gender, geography or skill level, are rated on a same scale between 1.00 and 16.50 based on actual match results.

 

Benefits of UTR: UTR provides a real-time view of a player’s true skill level. Having a UTR enables you to track your progress, find level-based play, and expand your tennis network to play with people across age, gender and tennis silo.

 

Who has a UTR?: Every tennis player can have a UTR. UTR provides an accurate measurement of a player’s true skill level, whether you are a recreational, junior, high school, college or pro player.

 

Verified UTR vs UTR: UTR counts all results, including matches played in verified tournaments/events and non-verified matches. Verified UTR counts match results played in only verified tournaments and events.

For example, USTA league/tournament matches count toward Verified UTR and UTR. Casual/practice matches and self-posted scores count only toward UTR.

 

How is UTR calculated?: UTR is calculated by an algorithm using a player’s last 30 eligible match scores from the last 12 months. For each eligible match, the algorithm calculates a match rating and a match weight; a player’s UTR is the weighted average of all the match ratings.

 

Tennis

Summer Junior Tennis Wrap Up!

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Summer has come to a close—and I have to say… it was something! It was a challenging couple of months for all of us. But I know that your tennis staff had an incredibly positive experience with our members these past few months. We ended August on such a high note—with 25 juniors joining us for our Friday match play!

 

In June, we came out of our houses and hit the courts. The pros have had a fabulous experience getting our adults and juniors ACTIVE in a safe and happy way. Tennis has gained national attention as one of the safest activities that one can participate in. We all know that getting outside and running around is a vital component of being healthy, as is the social interaction of meeting old and new friends at the Club!

 

All Summer long more members joined us on the courts, and this resulted in additional classes being added to our schedules! We were so happy to have our members trusting us to offer classes in a safe way. I can tell you that nearly every day your team of coaches smiled while we chatted about the improvement of our players.

 

With the Club’s Covid-19 safety protocols, we shifted to total outdoor play with small groups. These small groups allowed your tennis staff to get to know everyone on a more personal level and provide a new level of individualized instruction. This was exciting for our team of coaches—and we’ve received such positive feedback from many of our members that they are delighted with our coaches and classes. These small groups will continue into Fall!

 

Tennis at the Club this season is going to be exciting with new offerings, and I can’t wait! It’s a very exciting time to be a member of The Aspen Hill Club!

 

Tennis

Congrats to Coach Elliott!

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This award is provided to the individual whom continued to encourage all players to stay connected to tennis during the Covid-19 pandemic.  As you know, Elliott engaged many of you with his “Winners On Wednesday” highlights of past and present tennis professionals.  His stories were filled with energy and excitement for the sport of tennis.

Elliott began his “Covid-19 At Home” tennis by finding a hitting wall at Olney Manor Park and giving Aspen Hill Club members tips on what to practice while hitting on a wall, any wall!  He also provided fun games for kids while we were all quarantined at home.

His motivation to keep you engaged during this very difficult time was prompted by his willingness to ensure tennis would be back… And he has done just that!

Elliott received his award during a virtual cermony hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic. The Aspen Hill Club is incredibly proud of Elliott and his commitment and dedication to the sport of tennis!

Tennis

World Team Tennis 2020

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Har Tru, the company that makes our GREEN CLAY), was gracious enough to invite Aspen Hill Club members to experience World TeamTennis matches at The Greenbrier (White Sulphuric Springs, WV). This was an unbelievable experience for those that attended!

Ten Aspen Hill Club Families were lucky enough to see the biggest names in tennis from a mere inches away! Members got to see players including Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Genie Bouchard, Taylor Fritz, the Bryan Brothers, Sam Querrey, Monica Puig, and many many more! I was so inspired by seeing the pros serve up close that I made a YouTube video about serves showing them in slow motion, please check it out on our Facebook page.

Aspen Hill Club member Glenn Margolis shared his thoughts: “Taylor Fritz serve is incredible to see in person, You don’t realize how fast 138 MPH is!”

Kyle went to the matches with his family of 4 and shared with us, “This was such an incredible event to see tennis up close!”

We are so happy that so many families were able to take part in this truly memorable experience, and a big “thank you” To Har-Tru for helping us get to the matches!

 

 

Club News & Events

Checking In!

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By: Elliott Datlow, Tennis Director

 

We are so excited to offer outdoor play to our Aspen Hill Club members. You’ve read about our procedure for checking-in while keeping socially distanced. But what does it look like? Check out this check in guide so you know what to expect when checking into the Club!

 

  1. Enter the club by way of parking in the back lot and entering up the stairs of the deck.
  2. Observe the OPEN DOOR and sign indicating required 6 ft. social distancing!
  3. Check out the several floor markers indicating where to stand and wait. Our staff are wearing masks while checking you in!
  4. Follow the sign, exiting the side entrance.
  5. Out the door and down the ramp to your tennis court you go!
  6. Have fun!

 

 

Tennis

Tennis is Back…Outdoors!

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By: Elliott Datlow, Tennis Director

 

We are ecstatic to be offering outdoor courts to our members as we get back into the “swing of things!” Usually we have the luxury of weaning ourselves back into outdoor play. If it’s a bit chilly we can change it to an indoor court. Or, maybe the wind gusts are driving us crazy— I’ll stay inside, thank you! But not now! BOOM! You are playing outside.

 

You’re right! Outdoor tennis is a lot different. What can we do to adjust to outdoor play? Here are a couple of key adjustments you can make as you hit the outdoor courts at the Aspen Hill Club!

 

  • Know that it’s not going to feel good! Outdoor tennis is an adjustment. You will feel much better the second time you play outdoors, I promise!
  • Have a hat or sunglasses! We aren’t giving our eyes time to “toughen up” to the sunshine. Be kind to those eyes and give them some protection!
  • Know which way the wind is blowing! You want to hit HARDER if you are playing into the wind, and use more spin if you are hitting WITH the wind.
  • Take a long warm-up Your body and mind aren’t use to playing outside, try and work into it. Make sure you start the warm-up with short court rallies and start slow from the baseline.
  • USE EXTRA SPIN! Topspin and slice are going to keep the ball in the court and helps to keep your consistency up… Use your spin.
  • Move those feet! The ball isn’t going to bounce how you expect. Instead of taking 3 big steps to the ball you need many many small little steps (especially as you approach the ball). With little steps your body will be able to make those adjustments that are necessary in fractions of a second.
  • SPLIT STEP! As your opponent get’s ready to make contact, take a “split step.” This is like a little “bunny hop” that can be critical to getting your timing and ball anticipation correct.
  • HAVE FUN! I think we can all agree that a bad day on the tennis court is better than being stuck inside at home— we can ALL relate to that.
Photo taken pre-Covid