Thursday, July 25, 2013


Welcome New Members
The Hideaway continues to add quality players to its membership rolls. Our three ladies teams will add a few new players that are welcome additions to those who played last season. 

Among our new players are Dolly Moore, who is likely to be

one of the stronger players on our Copper and 3.0 teams, Pat Ben-Dov and Barbara Morgan who we believe will be standouts on our Bronze team, and Diane Russ, tabbed to be another stellar performer on our 3.0 team.We have recently added some dynamic players on the men’s 

side of things as well, bringing Tim McClary, Barry Speakman, and Rob Hartman, all strong 3.5 players, as well as Masa Kumamoto, our first 4.0 player, on board. 

If you would like to get an idea of how strong our men’s teams are likely to be this fall, Captain Ed Marcelo’s Men’s 7.5 USTA team is currently competing, and will be playing its next home match at 10am on August 2. Come on out and check out the action!

Nuts & Bolts/Policies & Procedures
As you can imagine, the influx of new members results in the need for continued refining of our policies and procedures. We hope to have everything in smooth functioning order by the time season arrives. 

for Play
We have tried using a sign-in sheet to keep track of court usage but we believe a cleaner, more effective method would be the following: When making a court reservation for open play, the member making the reservation should provide the names of all players who are a part of the reservation. Prior to play, the member who made the reservation should check in for the group at the pro shop.

All of the names will then be listed on the court sheet that will be in the pro shop, on the clipboard under the covered area at the courts, and in the guard house. Players not listed on the court sheet may be denied access to the Club, unless the pro shop calls them in after the fact.

Guest Fees
A member who makes a reservation can choose to handle guest fees in three ways:
  • Have guests submit their guest fees in the pro shop before or after play, 
  • Collect guest fees from guests and submit them in the pro shop before or after play, or 
  • Have their accounts charged for guest fees. 
Hopefully this will allow us to keep track of things with minimal issues. 

Closed on Monday
Along similar lines, we have been wrestling with our Monday closure. The club is closed on Monday during the off-season, but we have been trying to allow access to the courts despite the Club being closed. 

It was a gesture of goodwill by management, but having open play while no Club representative is on site poses a liability and is a logistics problem. As such, the Club will no longer accept court reservations on Mondays when the Club is closed, and the gate to the courts will be locked I am onsite for lessons or clinics. 

Developing a Culture of Consideration & Cooperation
I’d like to commend our new members and our long-standing members on how well they have managed to make the transition from a closed environment to an open one work. Such transitions are seldom easy, but the quality of individuals we have at the Hideaway, both long-standing and new, have made it seem relatively easy. 

As we continue to grow, I think it will be essential that we continue to develop a “culture of consideration and cooperation.” What do I mean by that? Well, in short, by “culture” I mean a relatively coherent collection of attitudes, values, and behaviors that are or become common practice in our environment. 

By “consideration,” I mean keeping in mind, or actively thinking about how we can enhance the experience of all who share our environment. By “cooperation,” I mean working together, each of us sharing the responsibility of keeping our environment pleasant, attractive and enhancing for all. 

Whew! That was a mouthful/eyeful huh :)? Seriously though, given what I have seen of the character of our membership, I do believe that we can create and maintain such an environment at The Hideaway. 

So what does that culture look like? I believe when we are being considerate:

  • We don’t put our clay-filled tennis shoes on the bench or table, but if we do, we certainly brush the clay off so that others don’t have to;
  • We pick up water cups if we miss the trash bin and we dispose of our water bottles and other disposable containers after we have used them, rather than leave them for someone else to handle;
  • We hang our tennis bags on the hooks provided so that that the seating area remains as clutter free as possible;
  • If we reserve a court and we realize that we don’t need it, we call to cancel the reservation so that someone else may reserve the court;
  • When we finish using a court, we brush and line the court so that the next party to play will have a court as well or better conditioned than the court we played on; and
  • We do not leave balls (or anything else that was not there prior to our arrival) on the court when we are finished playing.
When we exercise cooperation:
  • We park in the designated parking area, regardless of whether there are apparent open slots elsewhere;
  • We ensure that we provide the names of the players in our party, and how long we intend to play when we request a reservation by email or phone call;
  • We use the rest room in the dining room as opposed to the administration area; and 
  • We let management know when we observe something that may not be in the best interest of the Club and its members, or when we observe or think of something that may be added to enhance the Club environment and member experience.
Well, what do you think (you can always comment)? it’s getting late and I’m losing steam. If you can think of other things that would be consistent with developing a culture of consideration and cooperation, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. 

Tennis Member Handbook
Be on the lookout for our Tennis Member Handbook. It is nearing completion. Those of you who have not received a copy (digital or otherwise), please be patient as we want you to have the most updated version. 

I’m looking forward to a tremendous second season of tennis at The Hideaway and I hope you are too. Game, set, match! T. A.


LCCTA Takes You to the US Open?
Many of us participate in USTA Leagues, and many of our local teams do quite well (see below). However, at least as important as how well our teams are doing in USTA Florida League competition, are a couple of other opportunities USTA Florida is sending our way. 

First and foremost, courtesy of the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA), is the HUGE chance to be sitting in the President’s Suite at the US Open on Aug. 29th! Well that’s not all. Here’s the entire package:

  • 2 Tickets to the USTA President’s Suite
  • 2 President’s Courtside Box Seat Tickets for Day Session
  • Lunch for 2 in the President’s Dining Room
  • Behind the scenes tour of Arthur Ashe Stadium
  • US Open Bus transportation from Grand Hyatt NY to the US Open site
Only a few of the 100 raffle tickets are available, and the drawing is August 1 at noon, so call the LCCTA at 239-565-5300 for your chance to be wined and dined at the US Open. Tickets are just $20 each, and the experience is valued at $500.

Proceeds will be used to support tennis scholarships for Lee County youth. According to Lyn Bruner, Executive Director of the LCCTA, “in the first 5 months of 2013, LCCTA has awarded almost $4000 in Youth tennis scholarships for local beginning players and Challenger Scholarships to juniors who are engaged in USTA Florida tournament competition.” Thanks for whatever contributions you have made thus far.

USTA Florida Offers Free Training
USTA Florida is also providing opportunities across the State for free training, and as a member of the USTA Florida Community Outreach Committee, I would love to see our area participate in such a training. The training could be about anything that you think would benefit our tennis community, including fundraising, social media, programs for juniors and adults, etc.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to share your ideas on what types of training sessions might be useful for our community. You can do so by completing this short survey (please click here). I look forward to hearing from you by the weekend if you can get to it, but even if you can’t get to it by the weekend, please get it to me when you can. Thanks in advance!

Local Teams Shine in USTA League Play There has been quite a bit of USTA Florida league team activity this summer, and that follows on the heels of all the success that our local teams had before season ended. Earlier this spring, local teams that represented our area with pizazz include:

A Fort Myers-Cape Coral team out of Park Meadow Tennis Center combined 55 and over, 8.0 mixed doubles team which won the Sectional Championship in Daytona this past April. Members of the team were: Jan Wheeler (captain), Diann Cimring, Keith Stiles, Jane Zito, John Suydam, Barbara Stiles, Mike Stern, Dan Campbell, Karen Orlando, Mike Welter, Rankin McGougan, and Sara Bracamonte.

Also performing well at USTA Sectionals in May was the Men’s 65 and over 7.0 doubles team from Fort Myers Racquet Club. The team lost 1-2 in the finals with Masa Kumamoto and Steve Romaine delivering a double bagel to the competition on Court No.1. Team Members were: Ed Marcelo (captain), E.W. Brockwell, Dave Coppin, Tim McClary, Masa Kumamoto, Jerry Leininger, Richard Fell, Jim Yaeger, Steve Romaine and Wolf Tschaikowsky.
A number of other local teams (see clubs and team captains below) have earned the right to represent our area at Sectionals. The Adult 18 & Over have recently completed play, The Adult 40 & Over will be played in August, and the Adult 18 & Over Mixed Doubles Championships will be played in October. 

Adult 18 & Over Mixed Doubles
6.0 Mixed- Venita Winslett- Cape Coral Yacht Club
7.0 Mixed- Cynthia Dietz- Cape Coral Yacht Club
8.0 Mixed- Bob Foget- Park Meadow
9.0 Mixed- Katrina Ramsey- Kelly Greens

Adult 18 & Over
3.0 Women- Amy Newton-  Paseo
3.5 Women- Joan Lake- Plantation
4.0 Women- Debbie White- Fort Myers Racquet
4.5 Women- Wendy Hechler- Plantation
3.5 Men- Dan Campbell- Fort Myers Racquet
4.0 Men- John Terrell- Cape Coral Racquet Club

Adult 40 & Over
3.0 Women- Terri Brown- Paseo
3.5 Women- Joan Lake- Paseo
4.0 Women- Rena Gezzar- Plantation
3.5 Men- Kevin Gaines- Fort Myers Racquet
4.0 Men- Ken Casola- Cypress Lake
4.5+ Men- Brad Nash- Cypress Lake

Congratulations to all who emerged as leaders of the pack and to those of us who fell short, heck, we'll just keep on trying! Game, set, match...T. A.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


In addition to searching for new gear to get ready for season (see gear post here), getting the mind, body and spirit up to speed for the season is a good thing to do over the summer as well. I imagine we all have our ways of getting ourselves ready to compete, but I have engaged in a few activities that have been positively impacting my overall state of being.

Since I can’t say how much each is contributing to my well-being, I think I better talk about the different things I have been doing which I know have contributed, even if I can’t say just how much each has. 

Two of the activities that I know have contributed significantly is my Cranio-Sacral Therapy with MaJiC Noone (formerly MJ to those of you familiar with my relational history), and my horseback riding lessons with Wendy Hechler at Greystone Equestrian Center. Steph (for those familiar with my current relational status) has been doing both with me, and she sings the praises of MaJiC and Wendy as well.

You’re probably going, “Cranio WHAT?!!!” and “Horseback riding???” Well, yeah, I have been doing both and I can definitely feel both, and in positive ways.

Oh, and how could I forget; I have been making my way consistently to some very spiritual ground, namely, the golf course…but that’s a different blog altogether.

So what is that Cranio-whatchamacallit all about? Well, I would much rather you talked to MaJiC about that, because if you read about it you’ll see things like, “Craniosacral therapy (CST), or cranial-sacral therapy, is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy focused primarily on the concept of "primary respiration" and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium”…and that’s just Wikipedia’s version!

I suspect you aren’t too interested in reading that sort of jargon, so I’ll just tell you that I lie on a table, fully 

dressed,while MaJiC uses her natural gift of… I’ll call it “energy frequency divination” along with her training as a nurse, Yoga instructor, and more to help you bring your native energy rhythms back in tune.

Is that any better than Wikipedia? Probably not, but the bottom line is that when I walk out of the session with MaJiC, and after having gone for about a month now, that whole mind-body-spirit thing is much better off than when I walked in…from the first time and each session since.

If you have any interest in alternative healing methods, I think you would truly benefit from a session with MaJiC.
Around about the same time Steph and I started therapy sessions with MaJiC, we also started taking horseback riding lessons with Wendy at Greystone Equestrian.

Horseback riding just sounds like a fun little outing, doesn’t it? Well, fun it is, but it is definitely work and a workout as well. Our last riding experience was two days ago, and my lower body is still feeling a little gelatinous. Steph keeps asking me if I feel it in my abs. I’m not, but she is. 

As much as I enjoy riding, learning about the proper preparation prior to riding and about the proper care of the animal and gear after riding has been a major bonus that I hadn’t gotten in my previous riding experiences. I figure in 
another few lessons we’ll be jumping some fences. We’ve got to get the hang of trotting and cantering first though, and by then, my legs should be in better shape to keep me on those 1200lb animals as they hurdle.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to enjoy the sense of well-being from our time with MaJiC, Wendy and the equines, and, of course, the golf course. I suspect when it’s time to prepare for competitive tennis again (September), my body, mind, and spirit will be in much better shape than they have been in some time! Game, set, match…T. A.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


If you use the summer months to prepare for fall and winter play, then this sweltering summer is the perfect time for you to flirt with new equipment. Racquet, strings, shoes, all are prime targets during this time, and I am taking dead aim at all three.

Even before the summer scorched its way into our little southwest Florida paradise, I had been contemplating a switch from the Wilson Blade Team BLX that I had been using for the past few years. Although I have truly bonded with Kirschbaum strings, particularly their Pro Line II which I used for years, and their Evolution, which I have used over the past 18 months or so, I realized that I might have to experiment with new strings as I sought to find a racquet suitable to be my court mate.

For shoes, I have stuck pretty much to Prince, which I have found to be the most comfortable and suitable for my combination of teaching and playing. However, I have encountered a few Nike models that have been really comfortable as well. In any event, the search is on for the gear I’ll be using for the 2013 – 2014 season.

The Racquets
Jan David assists customer at Tennis R Us
I began my racquet search online with’s demo program, but developed a cordial relationship with Jan (pronounced “Yan”) David of Tennis R Us who allowed me plenty of leeway to do my racquet testing (Thanks a bunch Jan!). With Jan’s help and counsel, I wielded a number of different “sticks” in my search for a racquet that would allow me to generate the kind of power and control that I would need to be competitive when I took to competing again.

Volkl Classic VI
In addition to power and control (i.e., spin), I knew that I needed something that would offer sufficient comfort to compensate for my aging wrist, elbow and shoulder. Although nothing compared to the soft feel of Volkl’s Classic V1, I couldn’t generate the kind of “pop” I wanted with the Volkl, despite trying a variety of strings and tensions. I may just stay with the Volkl for teaching.

Babolat Pure Storm Team GT
Among the racquets I demoed were Dunlop, and Pro Kennex, all with the latest comfort technology, but it wasn’t until I came upon Babolat’s Pure Storm Team GT that I found a stick that felt really good in my hand, and allowed me to generate the levels of spin and power that I was looking for, without causing me discomfort after using it for some time. Unless something wows me between now and the start of season, I believe I’ll be wielding Babolat’s Pure Drive Team GT this coming season.

The Strings
Of course, when you are leaning toward a new racquet, you have to experiment a bit with strings to see just what might be the right combination of racquet and string to give you optimum performance. I have not completed my string research yet, but I do have a few very good candidates, in great part through the generosity and expertise of Mitchell Lvovksy at Genesis.

As I engaged in my search for the right racquet-string combination, I contacted Genesis, because after discussing strategy and technique with Alex Lvovsky at FGCU matches, and watching Lance Lvovsky play on the FGCU Men’s Tennis Team, I realized that the Lvovskys knew tennis from the playing side. As I spoke with Mitchell, I grew confident that they knew tennis from the equipment side as well.

After chatting with Mitchell for some time, we decided that I would try a couple of their more popular strings: Black Magic (17g), and Typhoon (16g), both polyester strings that promise to deliver excellent power and spin. Of the two, I have tried only Black Magic in the Pure Drive Team GT, and of the strings that I have tried (Dunlop Silk 17g; Dunlop Black Widow 17g), Black Magic has delivered the best performance results, along with excellent tension maintenance. The performance testing is not nearly far enough along for me to offer you a definitive review, but it will be in time for season.

At this stage of the game, the multifilament Silk has given me plenty of power and very nice feel, but it hasn’t offered the level of control that I have achieved with the co-poly Black Magic (click here for more on string types). The Genesis Black Magic packs a pretty powerful punch along with great control, but I haven’t found just the right tension that offers the kind of feel I am looking for.  Both strings appear to be arm friendly, but I’ll report more on that when I have put all the strings through their paces.

The Shoes

Prince T9 Roadster
I haven’t found anything I like as much as the Prince T9 Roadster (of course they’re obsolete), but the Nike Zoom series and the inexpensive City Court VII have been very comfortable, good looking shoes. I’m looking for some alternatives for the upcoming season, and with the nice shoe selection at Tennis R Us, I’m confident I’ll find something new for next season. 

My serious gear testing will be on hold until September though. Until then, I’ll be working on my golf game in preparation for the World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach at the end of August. We’ll talk gear in much more detail then. Game, set, match…T. A.