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Tennis Teachers Conference 2014

Two weeks ago, John Block, Tennis Director, and Anna Becker, Facility Manger, traveled to the Tennis Teachers Conference in New York City courtesy of the USPTA PNW. Here is a recap of their trip!

Thank you USPTA PNW for an amazing five days at the Tennis Teachers Conference in New York City! We had a great time learning from the best Tennis Professionals in the country like Jose Higueras, Paul Annacone, Kathy Rinaldi, Rick Macey, Peter Smith, and Tom Gullikson.

The Saturday session began with a Grand Slam Panel featuring Jose Hugueras, Paul Annacone and Kathy Rinaldi, sharing their insights and experiences from coaching and playing at the highest levels of the game.

Next, we sat in on a presentation from Ajay Pant, “No Nonsense Training,” where he stressed implementing a systematic way of training to ensure that the club and its employees consistently produce exceptional results.

The Saturday afternoon session started with a presentation from Rodney Marshal, a strength and conditioning specialist for the USTA Player Development, known for his work with Mardy Fish, John Isner, and Sloane Stephens. He demonstrated warm ups, pre-hab and mobility exercises to ensure players health and fitness.

Following Marshal, Jorge Capestany exhibited a few of his favorite tennis drills that can be adapted to players of all levels. He included different ways vary the drills to engage players from the 2.5 level and up.

Saturday ended with a presentation from Rick Macci discussing a few of the most common mistakes made at all levels of tennis teaching. Macci believes the most important part of coaching is to develop a player’s courage to play the ball, love the volley, and enjoy competition.

The Sunday morning session kicked off with David Epstein reinforcing the importance of athletic development in the early stages of junior tennis. Challenging the “10,000 hour rule” Epstein emphasized developing more than just tennis players but competent athletes.

Next up was Mark Bey, demonstrating the “Transition From Green to Yellow Balls” for high level players by using different balls to teach technique and understanding tactics.

Anne Davis spoke about how to host a successful Play Day with the goal of all players serving, rallying, and scoring. Davis highlighted the pathways that Play Days create for programming and lessons while growing the game of tennis.

Rick Vetter’s presentation, “Running Team Practices on a Small Court” showed that the more play-centered the activities are the more success your players have.

USC men’s head tennis coach, Peter Smith, addressed teaching competitiveness through team play. Smith shared from his own success that practices need to be dynamic, fun, competitive, and meaningful. Within that environment, there are many teachable moments such as, losing is natural, playing for a higher purpose than yourself, and that other groups sports can teach competitiveness.

Anne Pankhurst spoke about “Coaching Behavior & Its Effect on the Player Development” underlining the importance of coaches modeling the behavior they expect from their players.

Judy Murray closed Sunday evening with the story of world class players, Jamie and Andy Murray’s, rise to the top. Starting from their 10 and under experiences all the way to winning Grand Slams. She included insightful anecdotes useful to players and coaches of all levels.

After the closing of the Tennis Teachers Conference we were treated to an afternoon at the opening day of the US Open! Thank you USPTA PNW!

Harry Popowich's Bar Mitzvah Project


Our friend Harry Popowich is inviting family, friends, and all PAST&E supporters to donate to his Bar Mitzvah Project! Please read the passage from him below:

"I would like to bring awareness and support to the PAST&E program because I am passionate about tennis. Over the past few years I have been playing lots of tennis, and often competing against the PAST&E youth team at their facility. PAST&E is a nonprofit organization that partners with schools, families, and volunteers to help at-risk children Kindergarten-12th grade gain athletic and academic success. They offer academic tutoring, fitness and nutrition curricula, as well as tennis lessons and team tennis. PAST&E was created in 1996 to give at-risk kids more learning opportunities while introducing them to tennis, and they have since impacted the lives of more than 7,000 at-risk children and their families. I would be very grateful if you would help me in my effort to support Portland After School Tennis and Education by donating at the link below. Where it says “Please tell us what prompted your gift today?” you can write Harry Popowich’s Bar Mitzvah Project. Thank you for helping me extend a child's education and bring the sport that I love to them."

Click here to donate! Please include "Harry Popowich's Bar Mitzvah Project" in the gift memo.

Thank you, Harry, for your time and support, and mazel tov on your Bar Mitzvah!

PAST&E Receives $5,000 from Portland Timbers Community Fund


Portland Timber Community Fund granted Portland After School Tennis & Education $5,000 to provide financial support for the Serving Up Success summer program at St. Johns Racquet Center which is free of charge 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 250 low income youth.

John Block, PAST&E Tennis Director, Anna Becker, St. Johns Racquet Center Manager, and Scholar Athletes, Miguel De Leon Diaz and Alberto Murillo attended the Timbers game on Saturday for the presentation of Portland Timbers Community Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. Go Timbers!

PAST&E Receives $19,000 Grant from Nike

Portland After-School Tennis & Education at St. Johns Racquet Center receives $19,000 grant from Nike to make the sport of tennis accessible to disadvantaged children and to provide them with positive role models, tutoring and life skills through neighborhood tennis and education programs.

The Nike Employee Grant Fund was established in 2010 to benefit communities where Nike employees live, work and play. Through this fund, Nike employees work to award at least $550,000 per year to nonprofits and schools in the Metropolitan Portland region and in southwest Washington. Nike employees not only participate in the review of grant applications, but also volunteer their time and expertise to contribute to the grantees' success.

Portland After-School Tennis & Education Scholar Athletes proudly display the batiks they created to thank Nike.




University of Portland Visit Day


Saturday, April 5th, PAST&E scholar athletes ventured to the University of Portland for a day full of activities. Every student had their own college “bid buddy” that stayed with them throughout the day in order to show them what life is like as a college student.

The day began with seeing the Pilots Women’s Tennis face off Pepperdine. Then the big buddies and scholar athletes set off for a scavenger hunt to find 7 tennis balls hidden in key buildings on the University of Portland campus, like the library and a dormitory. After meeting for a free lunch, the scholar athletes also heard some speeches about the importance of college. Through the activities and bonding with their big buddies, the scholar athletes were able to see the opportunities that college can offer.

Portland After School Tennis and Education honors Dr. Ernest Hartzog


Dr. Ernest Hartzog was elected as the first Lifetime, Honorary member of the Board of Directors of Portland After School Tennis and Education (PAST&E). A Scholarship Fund for PAST&E Scholar Athletes graduating from High School has been established in his name.

Dr. Hartzog founded Portland After School Tennis in 1995. A widely respected community leader, educator, scholar athlete and mentor, Dr. Hartzog serves on the PAST&E Board of Directors and was its first President.

Dr. Hartzog is a leader in the civil rights movement. He earned a master’s degree at San Diego State University and New York University. He earned his doctorate in psychology and human behavior at the United States International University. Dr. Hartzog was named San Diego’s first black high school principal serving at Lincoln High School. He was instrumental at ending years of unrest and civil rights demonstrations in the high school’s community. He served in education and community leadership positions throughout the nation retiring in 1992 as Assistant Superintendent of Portland Public Schools.

He was a charter member of the 5,000 member National Alliance of Black School Educators and served as president from 1979 to 1981. He was founder and first president of the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators. He continues membership in these organizations. Dr. Hartzog has taught at every level of education and served on the advisory boards of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. He was founder and now serves as a board member of Building Blocks To Success a youth LEGO Robotics program in Portland. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Boulé and serves on the board of directors of the African American Male Achievers Network based in Los Angeles, California and Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Hartzog continues to play and serve the sport of tennis. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Northwest Section of the United States Tennis Association and was the first Chair of the Multicultural Participation Committee of the Pacific Northwest Section of the USTA. He is a member of Sunset Athletic Club where he plays tennis at least twice weekly.

Dr. Hartzog served his country on two tours of duty in the United States Army in both World War II and the Korean War. He and his wife Marilyn live in Portland.

PAST&E Scholar Athletes Raised 38,842 Pennies for Peace!

PAST&E Scholar Athletes collected pennies throughout the month of February participating in the Pennies for Peace campaign. In total, we collected 38,842 pennies! These pennies will help buy school supplies for children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. Thanks to all the Scholar Athletes, their families, St. Johns Racquet Center players, and friends of PAST&E for donating their pennies!

Portland State University and Pacific University's Men's Teams Visit PAST&E

Thursday, February 13th the men's tennis teams from Portland State University and Pacific University visited PAST&E to help celebrate Black History Month. Players spent the afternoon teamed with our Scholar Athletes learning about notable African American tennis players, making friendship bracelets, and playing tennis. Check out this video provided by the Portland State Vikings!

Snow Day Play Day

Snow days in Portland, Oregon may slow the traffic down but not tennis at PAST&E. Check out our Tennis Director, John Block, and Program Director, Trenton Corvino, take wintertime tennis to another level!

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