Live Ball clinic participants with Steve Miguel.
Photo by Deb Dager
Potomac “Smash that ball! Put it away! Finish the point! Move your feet! Get your racquet back up and ready for the next shot!” Participants pant, sweat drips — the game is on and players are striving to improve. Balls fly across the net as players hit ground strokes, volleys and overheads. Pros holler tips, instructions and commands — encouraging players to move more quickly and hit more solidly.
The new “Live Ball” and “Techniques and Tactics” tennis clinics are providing an exhilarating tennis program that helps both beginners and competitive players raise the level of their games. Also called “The Best Clinic” (www.thebestclinic.com), the 90-minute clinics focus on reactions and net play, closing out points, positioning and winning. There is no “down time” — the cardio work-out is intense and the points played are challenging.
Participant Louise Meyer explains the value to her: “Live Ball could be renamed No Dwell Tennis because it moves so fast you don't have time to think about the last shot you missed. It's a great clinic for working on moving quickly and covering the court.”
“We keep the ball moving all the time,” said executive director and tennis coach Bob Pass. “You don’t have to worry about the score. We play out points in the doubles format and enforce good habits by performing the skills over and over. We work on reflexes and quick hands.” Along with Pass, the pros that facilitate the clinics are well-known locally: Steve Miguel is the director of Supernational Program and the BEST clinics, Jim Shepard is the director of tennis at the Edgemoor Tennis Club, and Lee White is a certified teaching tennis professional.
Sign up on-line at www.thebestclinic.com or call 301-299-0007. A single “Live Ball” session is $25, a single T&T session is $38. Multi-session packages are available, which lower the cost of each session. For example, a 5-week “Live Ball” package is available for $100, a 3-week “Anytime” T&T package is $110 and an 11-week T&T package is $350. Private lessons are also available.
“Techniques and Tactics” and “Live Ball” clinics are offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. “Techniques and Tactics” (T&T) is organized by level (2.5 – 5.0) and players work on tennis skills, including strokes and techniques, as well as doubles strategy and positioning. “Live Ball” focuses on continuous-play tennis games, competitive point play, fitness, footwork, reactions and the net game. It is also open to players of all levels. These clinics provide an opportunity to meet new tennis players and to participate in tennis events without joining a tennis club or country club. Another plus is the ability to sign up to participate in the clinics with friends or tennis partners.
“Our goal is to work with players not just to get the ball back, but to find the hole and put it away,” said Miguel. “We play multiple games to keep it moving — we are not stuck in just one mode. It’s all about reactions and getting to the net. It’s a high intensity clinic.”
The clinics are catching on fast. An average of 65 players have been signing up weekly — and there’s room for more. Participant Julie Lieuw said, “Live ball is fast paced with lots of net play. I can experience many more points in an hour of Live Ball compared to an entire doubles match. It's also great exercise and a nice way to meet other players.”
Tennis player Marcie Robinson said, "Jim Shepard is a great teacher. I have been working on my serve forever, and a few tips from Jim during a T &T session have made a big difference."
“When you attend these clinics, you will hit eight times the number of balls you would normally hit in a doubles game,” said Marketing Director Debra Dager. “I’m totally addicted.” Dager has been setting up additional tennis events that are both fun and challenging. “We will host a Valentine Round Robin and Chocolate Exchange on Feb. 14 and will have more fun events in the future. ‘Like’ us on FaceBook or write a review, and you will be entered for a free ‘Live Ball’ Clinic.”