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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Davis Cup High Performance Camp--Day One

Davis Cup High Performance Camp--Day One~~~

I spent Tuesday finding out who and what makes up a Davis Cup camp for juniors.

The Scene: Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, a non-profit public facility dedicated to junior tennis.

The Coaches: Martin Van Daalen, USTA High Performance coach for birth year 1991 and Mark Merklein, the HP coach for the 1990s, recently hired to replace David DiLucia, who is now coaching Lindsay Davenport, and Bobby Bernstein, the Administrator of Coaching Education for the USTA

The Players:
Devin Britton, Blake Davis, Austin Krajicek, JT Sundling, Rhyne Williams, and Bradley Klahn with Alex Johnson, who trains at Barnes, filling in during the morning workouts, while Klahn attends school.

I understand the day started with an hour-long early morning run on the beach (I missed that) and then a two-hour training session with drills. While I ran up to La Jolla to pick up my Davis Cup credentials (and watched the Bryan twins hit with USTA HP coach Jay Berger), they took a break, then returned mid-afternoon to play round-robin one-set matches. And while Bernstein was doing his instructive video analysis, mechanics weren't the only focus; Van Daalen and Bernstein were also seeking footage to demonstrate how the fourteen and fifteen-year-olds could improve their warm up habits and match demeanors.

Tomorrow is the Big Event for the Barnes Center--the Bryans will be there for a clinic, and Steve Bickham and his staff were busy getting the site ready for the expected crush of young tennis fans. The facility includes 25 courts, four of which are clay, and although juniors are the focus, adults are welcome too. I can't imagine how it could be improved upon; I just wish every city in the country could find a way to copy it.


Anonymous said...

That's and interesting description of the USTA high performance/Davis Cup camp. While you're there, it would be great if you could ask them why they want the kids to run long distance on the beach for an hour when almost all of the tennis conditioning experts believe that long distance running is not good training for tennis because you want tennis players to have fast twitch fibers for short distance, quickness and explosiveness, not slow twitch fibers which is what is produced by long distance running.

Also, perhaps you can clear up the longstanding mystery of why James "Bo" Seal never seems to be invited by the USTA to these camps even though he has always been one of the top kids in the nation born in 1991. The only explanation that I can come up with is that the USTA disrminates on the basis of height. For example, it always picks Devon Britton a 6 footer over Seal who is about 5 ft. 7in. even though Seal's record has always been better than Britton's and now Krajeck (another 6 footer). Perhaps they believe that height is important, but there are many examples of great players who are not tall including Laver (greatest player of all time at 5 ft. 8 in. tops), Roswell, Chang, Grosjean, and Rochus. This seems unfair to say the least and a cruel thing to do to a 14 year old kid. Then again, I might not have the full story so perhaps they can give it to you.

Colette Lewis said...

As I mentioned, I wasn't there, but it is my understanding that the boys got a bit carried away. An hour long run was not a part of the official training.
As for Bo Seal, I'll ask. I was very impressed with his game at last year's Easter Bowl, but I haven't seen him play since.

Anonymous said...

Bo was invited by the USTA to partake in high performance training but declined because he is enrolled in a full time education unlike the other children who are home schooled, with the exception of Klahn