JTCC Partners with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

Logo - BlackJunior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) is pleased to announce a long-term partnership with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. As a part of the agreement, JTCC will take over all tennis instruction at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Silver Spring YMCA locations. Junior and adult tennis programs will also be offered.

“JTCC and the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington share the similar goal of promoting tennis to people of all ages and skill levels,” said JTCC Chief Executive Officer, Ray Benton. “This is a great partnership that will give us the opportunity to grow the game of tennis in the metropolitan Washington area by providing professional-level instruction that is more accessible to both junior and adult players across the region.”

JTCC will offer its “Rally in 10” program, which helps adults new to the game learn the skills they need to take the court in three weeks. Both junior and adult lessons and programs at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA will be offered on its five outdoor courts and at the Silver Spring location on its four outdoor courts. YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase and YMCA Silver Spring members also can take advantage of JTCC’s indoor winter programs.

“The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is pleased to partner with JTCC to offer access to the best tennis instruction in the region,” said Pamela Curran, Chief Operating Officer, YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. “In offering the JTCC’s world-renowned training program at YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase and YMCA Silver Spring, we will help introduce the lifetime sport of tennis to more people, at a higher level, and have the opportunity to connect them to the YMCA mission in Montgomery County.”

JTCC is a world-class training program for junior players from all backgrounds to reach their full potential both on the court and in the classroom. It was selected by the USTA as the first Regional Training Center for its high performance program and was awarded the 2013 USTA Developmental Program of the Year. JTCC is home of the College Park Tennis Club (CPTC), the premier tennis club in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area offering a 32-court tennis facility featuring indoor, outdoor, hard, red and green clay courts. The CPTC was one of the recipients of the 2013 USTA Outstanding Facility of the Year.

Junior Tennis Champions Center Partners with Brian Gottfried and The Bolles School

Brian Gottfried largeJunior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) is proud to announce its partnership with American tennis legend and expert coach, Brian Gottfried, and the internationally renowned Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Bolles Tennis featuring Brian Gottfried and JTCC is a new comprehensive tennis program in Northeast Florida, offering opportunities for players who have the passion and commitment to excel on and off the court.  Bolles Tennis’ flagship program is the College Prep Program which combines high performance tennis development under Brian Gottfried and JTCC and college preparatory education with The Bolles School.  College Prep students will have the exceptional opportunity to train under one of the great American tennis players and coaches, Brian Gottfried, in addition to training six weeks each year at JTCC, one of the nation’s premier junior development centers.

“Partnering with JTCC allows Bolles Tennis to continue its growth into a comprehensive training program with the goal of helping students achieve athletic and academic success, while developing strong character and leadership skills,” Gottfried said.

Brian Gottfried is world renowned for his success as a professional tennis player, achieving a career-high world singles ranking of #3 in 1977 and win­ning 25 singles and 54 doubles titles, including doubles championships at Wimbledon in 1976, the French Open in 1975 and 1977.  After his playing career, Gottfried made a successful transition into the world of high level tennis coaching, working with top collegiate and professional players including Jimmy Arias, Michael Chang, Aaron Krickstein, Jay Berger, Mal Washington and Kathy Rinaldi.

Ray Benton, CEO of JTCC, said, “Bolles has an international reputation as an excellent college preparatory school and we share the same goals—to provide young people with the tools to earn scholarships to top universities. We are looking forward to working with Bolles and Brian Gottfried in developing strong, academically oriented, tennis players.”

JTCC uses tennis as a vehicle to develop champions with the highest standards of fair play on and off the court, providing a pathway from their introduction to the game to top-tier collegiate and professional competition.  In 2014, players represented JTCC at the Junior French Open, Junior Wimbledon, and Junior US Open, in addition to 32 players being ranked in the top 50 in the nation in their respective age groups.

The Bolles School is a private college preparatory day and boarding school with an international reputation for excellence. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, the school enrolls more than 1,700 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 on four campuses.  The Bolles School focuses on a complete education that emphasizes excellence in academics, the arts, athletics and other activities like clubs and community service.  Students can pursue their interests and learn to balance a rich variety of activities.  Bolles’ rigorous programs prepare students for future success, and 100 percent of graduating seniors go on to college.

Hardworking and motivated young players interested in learning more about Bolles Tennis and the College Prep Program should contact Assistant Director of Tennis, Matt Andre, andrem@bolles.org or 904-256-5088.

Junior Tennis Champions Center and Wilson Announce Partnership


Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) and Wilson®, the #1 brand in tennis, today announced a multi-year partnership for Wilson to be the official racquet and ball sponsor at JTCC. As a part of the three-year agreement, Wilson also will test new equipment at JTCC, one of the nation’s top USTA Regional Training programs.

“Junior Tennis Champions Center is one of the premier tennis training facilities in the country,” said Tim Buwick, U.S. Promotions Director for Wilson Sporting Goods – Racquet Sports. “We want the next generation of great American tennis players to be using Wilson equipment, just like Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, Chris Evert and so many others before them. And we know many of the future bright lights in our sport are training at JTCC. Wilson is excited to partner with such a fine program, coupled with top-flight tennis professionals at this top-notch facility.”

“Wilson racquets and balls are used by the top tennis players in the world and it’s exciting to offer the same equipment to our athletes,” said JTCC Chief Executive Officer, Ray Benton. “As one of the leading tennis training facilities in the country, JTCC now partners with three of the top tennis equipment companies (Wilson, Tecnifibre and FILA) in the world. These partnerships allow our players to train with the best equipment in the world.”

Junior Tennis Champions Center is a world-class training program offering opportunities for junior players from all backgrounds to reach their full potential both on the court and in the classroom. The JTCC was selected by the USTA as the first Regional Training Center for its high performance program and is committed to becoming the best junior developmental training program in the world. Since inception, one-hundred percent of JTCC’s graduates have either earned collegiate scholarships or pursued careers in professional tennis.

Green and Gold: Nutrition and Health

Popcorn and cotton candy are gluten free but there are better snack alternatives

Editor’s Note:  Green and Gold is Junior Tennis Champions Center’s school newspaper. The monthly publication is managed by Mackenzie Clark, a student-athlete in JTCC’s full-time school. The following is an excerpt written by her older brother, Harrison Clark:

Let’s talk about gluten. In the past few years eating gluten-free has gone from a Celiac victim’s requirement, to a headline fad for health nuts all over the country. But no one seems to know what it is, where it comes from, and how it affects our bodies. First things first: gluten is a protein found in wheat and many related grains. Baker’s like gluten because it’s what makes bread fluffy and gives it rise. While gluten itself offers us little in the way of nutritional value, it’s often found in foods that contain necessary vitamins and minerals.

Physiologically, humans cannot fully digest gluten proteins. In fact, too much gluten in our system can be harmful to the health of our intestines (where we absorb all of our nutrients!). In Latin, the word “gluten” literally means glue. Think back to kindergarten when you made your own glue. All you did was combine flour and water and you got a sticky paste. This is gluten in action. The gluten proteins tangle together to make an elastic mush that does not dissolve in water. Now think of eating that elastic mush. Not only is it gross, but potentially harmful.

Now, I am not a proponent of gluten-free diets for all. In fact, gluten is in many healthy foods like whole grains and oats. So, as with everything, consume in moderation and follow a few guidelines:

1.  If you think you may be gluten sensitive (you are having abnormal bodily reactions when you eat grains), consult a medical doctor, they will be able to tell you definitively after a simple genetic test; common symptoms include fatigue, sluggishness, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, and dehydration.

2. Cut down on eating a lot of bread; while it’s a good source of fiber and basic minerals, it’s the major source of gluten, and most commercial breads contain a high amount of sugar anyway.

3. if you can find “non-GMO” wheat flour products, great! if not, look for some gluten free alternatives using brown rice flour, quinoa, steel-cut oats, flax seed, etc; as the country is becoming more aware of gluten, more and more alternatives are showing up on grocery store shelves; yes, some downright taste like cardboard, but others are actually good; try a few different kinds, find one you like!

Green and Gold: The Attitude of Gratitude

Green and Gold Editor-in-Chief Mackenzie Clark

Editor’s Note:  Green and Gold is Junior Tennis Champions Center’s school newspaper. The monthly publication is managed by Mackenzie Clark, a student-athlete in JTCC’s full-time school. The following is an excerpt:

The Attitude of Gratitude
By:  Mackenzie Clark (14 years old)

We all have the same daily schedule: wake up, go to school, play tennis, repeat. It sounds pretty
simple right? It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own lives. But everyday behind the scenes, there are people that help us by providing the tools that we need to get through each and every day. Our parents, for example, do so much for us that many times, we don’t even realize their effort or sacrifice. They give us a home, food, clothes, gifts, love, and for the most part, anything else we need. They make sure we get to school and tennis every day. They spend many hours traveling to and watching us at tournaments. They do everything in their power to prepare us for the real world. All in all, being a parent is a job in itself. Many of our parents work outside the home as well. They don’t get paid to take care of us; they do it because they love us. So don’t they deserve to be appreciated for all that they do? Sometimes the power of two little words can mean the world to someone; thank you. Being grateful is such an important thing. The more grateful you are, the more other people may go out of their way in offering more of their support. Perhaps your expression or act of gratitude might inspire someone else to do the same. Kind deeds
tend to inspire all of us to pay it forward.

There are numerous ways we can express gratitude, many of which could be demonstrated here at the JTCC. We may think that we as the players have a grueling schedule, but most times, our coaches are out there on the courts for a much longer period of time than we are aware. They come to work everyday intent upon helping us to become better tennis players and ultimately better people. They spend many of their weekends watching us at tournaments as well. They spend time off the court planning our training and communicating to our parents. This is valuable time that they are not spending with their own families. Let’s all remember to thank our coaches after practice and to always treat them respectfully and keep in mind the sacrifices they make for our benefit. The more gratitude we show, the more the coaches will want to help us to improve! Our acts of gratitude will make them happier and happy coaches lead to happy players!

The more grateful we all become, the more we will realize how truly lucky we are. We are so incredibly lucky compared to other kids in places around the world. While we train at an elite training center and go to great schools, there are so many other kids that do not have access to the opportunities or things that we take for granted each day. Let’s also remember to keep our school area and our playing environment clean and orderly. We should be grateful that we have such a wonderful place to train and therefore we should want to do what we can to maintain its condition. So, while we sit down and enjoy the wonderful dinner our mom or dad just cooked for us, or when we are playing the sport we love, remember to be grateful. I guarantee that we will all start to have a more genuine outlook on life. We will start to appreciate the little things even more.

Our training here at the JTCC is a long journey. We need to remember that it is about the process not the end result. If you don’t enjoy the process and be grateful for the opportunities you’re given now, you may look back and have many regrets. By seeing how lucky and special we all are, we can be happier and have a greater outlook on life. We must make it a habit to always thank others for going out of their way to help us, and to always be grateful for what we have been given and what we have achieved. We also might see that we become more respected by others due to our gratitude. Before you know it, this time we have here will soon be over but we will always be left with the relationships we made, the friends we may have for life, and the person we became as a result of being a competitive athlete. Appreciate the little things, and great things will come.

Green and Gold: Tournament Season

JTCC’s Francis Tiafoe captured the Orange Bowl last year in historic fashion

Editor’s Note:  Green and Gold is Junior Tennis Champions Center’s school newspaper. The monthly publication is managed by Mackenzie Clark, a student-athlete in JTCC’s full-time school. Over the next three days, an article from the newspaper will be posted on the blog.

Tournament Season
Written by: Holden Smith (14 years old)

Every high level tennis player is anxious and excited this time of year. They know that November and December is the biggest tournament season besides the summer. Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl, Winter Nationals and sectionals are the tournaments everyone is getting ready for and there are a lot of things people are doing to get prepared and ready for this crazy time of year.

Tennis training is the first ingredient in the recipe for competitive success. Before these
prestigious events start, a lot of high level, intense training is being done, especially on the grounds of The Tennis Center at College Park. Just this week “Warrior Wednesday” is being brought back as a way to prepare. Every Wednesday until the tournaments start, the full time players will
be competing and drilling for four hours straight to increase stamina and really get them ready for long matches in the Florida heat. Coaches are also doing all they can to take the players out of their comfort zones. That is extremely important because in matches, nothing goes perfectly, there is always something wrong. Wind, sun, rain, extreme cold and warm temperatures are just a small list of things that will not cooperate when people are playing.

The next piece is school work. This is the time of year when kids really begin to fall behind because they are traveling around the country for about a month. We all know it is not fun to do work when you are hanging out with friends in Florida and Arizona. That is why it is extremely important to get ahead before you travel, so you do not need to worry as much about school work. Nobody likes getting back from Christmas break and being told they cannot play until they are all caught up, and being ahead prevents that from happening.

The third and final part of the puzzle is fitness and mental training. Fitness is extremely important if you want to last a long time in matches. When playing a lot of matches in Florida where it is
very hot and humid, stamina is very important. That is why the fitness instructors at The Tennis Center are working really hard to increase all of the athletes stamina and strength so they are not tired when going into a third set. Mental training is also extremely important. The players need to be in the right frame of mind when going down to these tournaments. They need to be ready to compete and put it all on the line because their parents are not paying thousands of dollars for them to travel to these places to tank.

Overall, I really believe the staff at The Tennis Center and the players have prepared well for these tournaments. A lot of the players have been waiting a year to play these events again and have been working really hard to improve and be in the best position to do well. I have no doubt in my mind that the players will do their best, and the players will do great in Florida and Arizona. Good luck to every athlete that is competing in the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl, Winter Nationals and other Mid-Atlantic Sectionals!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

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Pam Parker instructs Cleveland Elementary students before their tennis lesson

Editor’s Note:  Today is #GivingTuesday.  It is a worldwide effort to transform how people think about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with Thanksgiving and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to improve their local communities, give smarter and in a way that is closest to their heart.  Junior Tennis Champions Center needs your support to expand its Community Outreach program.  Below is a story about one of their Outreach sites where there is a strong demand for more tennis programming.

The mandate was as indisputable as a clean forehand winner down the line.  To be a part of the family, tennis had to be a part of you.

“I started tennis when I was eight years old,” explained Pamela Parker (or Ms. Parker if you are one of her well-mannered students at Cleveland Elementary in Washington, D.C.).  “It was a requirement to be a Price that you had to play tennis.”

Since the sport was woven into the Newport News, Virginia native’s DNA,  it was a natural extension for Parker to spearhead the effort to pilot a tennis program at Cleveland Elementary in 2010.

“I talked to [USTA and WTA Executive Director] Ronnie Goodall and the USTA,” Parker recalled. “We had this big kickoff event with the [Washington] Kastles and everyone came out and everyone was excited.”

Shortly afterwards, Junior Tennis Champions Center stepped into the picture and provided coaching expertise, opportunities for high-level development and implemented an academic component called ACE (Academic Creative Engagement) that intertwines tennis themes with Math and English concepts.  Understandably, the students were wary of the academic piece.  Parker describes their transition from tepid acceptance to rampant enthusiasm:

I had coaches coming in teaching tennis and the kids were extremely engaged.  Then the ACE program was introduced.  This component adds a little oomph.  They cover our core values.  At first, it was a slow process.  The students were wondering, ‘Why do I have to go to a classroom when I am supposed to be playing tennis?’.  But after approximately two sessions it changed.  The teacher now has to choose numbers to decide which group gets to go the classroom first.  We have come from hesitation to cheering ‘I get to go to academics first!’.

As word spread around the school, the number of sign-ups and inquiries skyrocketed.  In response, Parker created the school’s first club tennis team.  But supply has yet to appease the demand.

“It is such a strong program that everybody wants to be a part of it,” Parker acknowledged.  “I cannot meet the needs of everyone.  The club team gives them a taste of the program until I find a slot for them to participate in full.”

Instead of feeling exasperated after tallying the ever-growing waiting list, Parker is energized.  She lives by the where there’s a will, there’s a way mantra.

“This year I have a three-year-old and he is phenomenal,” gushes the tennis aficionado.  “We have not worked out what we will do with him academically yet but he is in the tennis program and he is really good.  A natural.”

There is a surfeit of children at Cleveland Elementary like this three-year-old who Parker is eager to assist and jump start their tennis career.  Under her new mandate, this time of the self-imposed variety, she is seeking to introduce the game to as many youth as possible.  It would be foolish to bet against her.  Parker is already envisioning lining up more nets to accommodate the exponential expansion of her tennis family.

A Little Oomph: The Voices of ACE

Editor’s Note:  If you are reading this post on your phone, click here to be re-directed to the video on YouTube.

Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.

In one week, there will be a catch phrase for another day of the week:  #GivingTuesday. Tuesday, December 2, 2014 is a global day dedicated to giving back.  More than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation.

On December 2, please consider supporting JTCC and its Community Outreach initiative.  In the video below, the academic portion of the Outreach program is highlighted.  JTCC seeks to implement ACE (Academic Creative Engagement) at all sites in 2015.

Holding Court with guest Thomas Mayronne

Editor’s Note:  If you are reading this post on your phone, click here to listen to the podcast.

Junior Tennis Champions Center alum and University of South Carolina tennis standout Thomas Mayronne calls in to discuss new teammate Yancy Dennis, scoring format changes and his adjustment to collegiate competition.