Tennis Express's knowledgeable staff helps equip tennis players with the right racquet, outfit, or accessory from a large stock of men's and women's gear. A men's tennis polo ($40) dresses players in Dri-FIT technology that wicks moisture and opponents' intimidating grunts from the body, and the women's Nike tennis skirt ($50) boasts stretch fabric and hem vents for added mobility. Athletes keep perfectly feathered coifs away from eyes with Lacoste headbands ($9) and blisters off feet wearing Adidas full-cushioned, no-show tennis socks ($20). Customers can tote newly acquired gear in the Wilson tennis backpack ($50), which is large enough to hold two racquets, shoes, extra clothes, and an inflatable partner for spontaneous doubles matches.
Wielding an education in exercise science, pro experience, and 13 years of tennis-camp instruction, Ken Olivier and staff impart a strong foundation of tennis skills in kids while promoting passion for the sport. Set against the lush and polished backdrop of the Northgate Country Club, tennis summer camps are held twice a week and staffed by highly experienced instructors who teach budding tennis fiends the ropes in a supportive environment. The Quick Start program for kids 6–10 years old starts kids off by using smaller courts and foam balls, ensuring serves can foul properly or strike true while little John McEnroes practice and play actual games. The program includes a rundown of all equipment, fundamental skills, and ever-important hand-eye coordination to minimize the risk of bright yellow projectiles blazing holes through courtside water coolers.
Les Callaway is no stranger to the tennis court; he won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship in his freshman year of college. Though he employed some top-notch training techniques to achieve his athletic goals, he never lost sight of the importance of loving the game. Today, as the head instructor at Cypress Tennis Academy, Les combines both his passion and his acumen to create group and private lessons for students of all ability levels. “We care not just about your tennis game, but your enjoyment of a life-long tennis adventure,” he says before excitedly listing off the kids’ summer camps, tournaments, and adult classes he teaches. The air at his facility is as invigorating as his attitude, the newly resurfaced courts sitting adjacent to a big fishing lake, a source of both fresh breezes and excellent midgame sushi.
Relying upon more than 25 years of experience in the tennis industry, the coaches at Tennis Champs helps students earn mastery over both the mental and physical aspects of the game. They welcome beginners young and old to make a smooth foray into the game during the four-part introductory Tennis 101 course—commonly students range in age from 4 to 18. During this series of 90-minute group lessons, coaches cover fundamentals ranging from just getting the ball over the net to developing court sense—the instinct that tells players where to position themselves and which baseline intersections indicate buried treasure. Three instructional classes introduce youngsters to new topics as they age and progress, allowing them to matriculate to a High Performance class that will further refine and sharpen their skills in preparation for competitive play.
Don't let the primal grunts, the frenzied shuffling of feet, or the sweat fool you: Northgate Country Club's tennis facility is a classroom. Presiding over the operations are Director of Tennis Lioudmila Skavronskaia—who was once ranked 124th in the world and Russia's top-ranked junior—and Head Pro Kate Pomier—who played number-one singles and doubles at Kansas University. Armed with abundant firsthand knowledge of what it takes to ascend to tennis's highest ranks, the two develop and implement curricula designed to help players meet their goals, whether they want to develop a solid backhand or defeat legendary tennis player Larry Bird in a match. The club offers private lessons, hitting sessions, and clinics for juniors and adults alike.
Tennis pro Jamal Morgan brings a lifetime of competitive playing and coaching experience to Prefix Tennis Academy. He teaches custom-tailored programs for kids and adults, and also arranges private, semiprivate, and group tennis lessons.