Mental Equipment Syndicated Column – Apr 1, 1996 – Dr. John F. Murray – In this month’s article, I encourage adult tennis players to participate in two activities to boost their game in a short period of time: (1) sport psychology training seminars, and (2) adult tennis camps.

Sport Psychology Training Seminars

Since last month’s plea for increased psychological skills training at the junior level (See March, 1996 Mental Equipment at the ATP Tour Headquarters), several tennis directors and club owners summoned me to conduct mental toughness clinics for their adult members. After all, kids shouldn’t be the only ones having fun! I’ll remain local this month and deliver Mental Equipment to USPTA Professional Mike
Oransky’s woman league members in Gainesville, Florida.

Have you ever attended a mental skills training seminar or taught these skills to others? I would love to hear from you about your experience. Please describe aspects of the mental skills training that were most beneficial and I’ll share selected comments in a future column. You can send me a message using this form

Adult Tennis Camps

Another way for adults to have fun and gain valuable tennis knowledge in a short period of time is by attending a tennis camp. Adult tennis camps, fitness and nutrition resorts, and spas are quite popular and numerous in Europe. This may be due to extended European holiday periods, or just cultural traditions that promote “working to live” rather than “living to work.”

Adult tennis camps show no resemblance at all to campsites. The best camps are housed within chic resorts in luxury surroundings. During my tennis coaching career, I worked at various tennis programs in clubs, hotels and resorts throughout the world. The tennis camp that I am most familiar with, as a tennis professional for 5 seasons, is Bio Hotel Stanglwirt in the Tyrolean Alps of Austria. This Peter Burwash International managed facility was often rated by tennis magazines as the top tennis camp in Europe. Guests were greeted on Sunday evenings and left on Friday evenings after a complete tennis experience. Guests ranged in age from 18 to 80, from beginning tennis players to ranked professionals, and from anonymous store clerks to world famous celebrities.

Tennis camps vary on a great number of qualities. If you are planning a tennis vacation, do your homework first. Here is my list of the top five questions to ask in looking for your ideal tennis camp getaway:

Level of Personalized Attention

Do the staff get to know each guest personally, discover their needs, and remain flexible enough to meet these needs? Know why you are taking this vacation and let the staff know (e.g., tournament preparation, stress release, trying to overhaul your game).

Quality of Tennis Instruction

Are the tennis staff competent tennis professionals? In group training, no more than 4 players should be assigned to a court per instructor (4 is a group, 5 a crowd).

Quality of the Tennis Facility

Are the courts in first class condition? What surfaces are available? Are there indoor courts in case of rain?

Quality of the Resort and Surrounding area

Does the place more resemble a boot camp or the Ritz Carlton?

Comprehensiveness of the Program

Is there a well balanced and complete agenda? The best tennis camps offer:

A. Welcoming and departing socials
B. Initial efforts to group players according to their demonstrated abilities on the court
C. Well rehearsed demonstrations of themes and strokes provided by the professionals
D. Stretching sessions prior to instruction
E. Daily group and private instruction
F. Round robin socials
G. Video analysis
H. Radar gun analysis
I. Singles and doubles exhibitions by the professionals
J. Mental fitness training
K. Tennis strategy sessions
L. Ongoing videos of famous tennis matches
M. Ratings of guests’ ability level with feedback regarding areas needing most improvement.

If you want to improve your game very quickly, you will want to attend a sport psychology seminar. When you have more time, book your reservations to a quality tennis camp.