Last Tuesday, August 10, the Junior Tennis Champions Center held its annual Parent Meeting. Speakers included CEO Ray Benton, Tennis Center at College Park General Manager Ajay Pant, Community Outreach Manager Melanie Wright and Tennis Director Vesa Ponkka. Below are the highlights of the meeting:
-This summer, JTCC hired two new coaches, Yves and Patricia-Hy Boulais. Yves is the coach of Alison Riske (primed to break the top 50) and Patricia-Hy is a former top 25 player.
-The new school is almost move-in ready. The last step is to acquire the proper occupancy permits. In comparison, the square footage is nearly double the current study hall.
-TCCP is offering three free tennis lessons to anyone in the community who is a beginner and has a pulse.
-The teaching motif on the Tennis Center side leans heavily on play-based themes.
–Advantage, Prince George’s is JTCC’s latest incarnation of its community outreach program. JTCC now has two programs under its community programming (the aforementioned Advantage, Prince George’s and the DC-based Game On!)
-This year JTCC will manage 13 sites and be involved in 14 community partnerships. It is estimated over 400 kids will receive academic enrichment and tennis instruction.
-All players in the Champions program must commit to at least two days between Monday, September 16 and Friday, November 8.
-JTCC’s reputation is at an all-time high with college recruiters.
-ACES, a Player Development Program (PDP) will be available to all Champions-level players commencing this Fall. ACES contains technical, fitness, mental and goal-setting assessments. It is a departure from previous thinking as it is not strictly a technical-based evaluation.
-In ACES, players perform a self-evaluation and also provide critiques for coaches. Evaluations measure attitude, effort and engagement level. Since technique is not the difference-maker at the elite level, it is pivotal players are cognizant of their mental aptitude.
-Depending on the trial run with the Champions, ACES accounts may be given to players in Future Champions and Transitionals.
Questions from Parents
How is TCCP different from JTCC?
TCCP is a for-profit and its membership fees cover the overhead of the facility. Any TCCP profit is funneled into the JTCC scholarship fund. As well, TCCP programs serve as the feeder system for JTCC.
How will the academic structure prepare the players for college?
JTCC has a long-standing educational partnership with Laurel Springs, a distance-learning curriculum. The curriculum can be the right fit for well-directed and motivated students and is ideal for players on-the-go as they can complete assignments while at tournaments. Full-time players study for four hours per day in a classroom with three instructors and no more than 10 students. If the player falls behind in the classroom, they are barred from the court until they catch up. With this set-up, the transition to college is minimal as the student is forced to become self-sufficient and successfully manage their time.