On Saturday, Nov. 7, the Long Island tennis community came out and reinforced just how large and strong a community it really is. The 1st Long Island Tennis Expo was a huge success (planned and organized by the staff of Long Island Tennis Magazine), as the event drew 1,200-plus tennis enthusiasts from all across the Long Island and Metro areas.
Held on the campus of Farmingdale State College and with the weekend weather cooperating, the exhibit space was completely sold out. Represented were exhibitors from tennis equipment manufacturers, tennis organizations from Nassau and Suffolk Counties, indoor tennis clubs, summer camps, country clubs, tennis retail stores, tennis manufacturers, college scholarship advisors, health food and energy drinks providers, tennis travel destinations and many other retail companies, as well as the USTA Eastern/Long Island Region and USPTA professionals. Attendees walked throughout the Expo Hall, learning about what all the different exhibitors had to offer. Some vendors sold products to eager customers, while other gave away gifts and spoke with existing and potential clients. At the Expo, USTA Eastern/Long Island was able to sign up more than a dozen new members.
Specialty areas were a hot spot at the event. Those areas included USTA's QuickStart demonstration, which is an exciting new interactive format designed to introduce kids to the game of tennis. Sportime’s Speed Serve competition area was extremely popular for people of all ages who wanted to just how fast they could serve. Sportime also provided a Dartfish video analysis for participants to see how there serve stacks up to some of the top-ranked professionals on the tour. Glen Head Racquet Club setup a personal training area where their trainer, Jonathan Landsman, tested players on their movement and agility, while also giving them helpful tips on how to improve in those all important areas. Dave & Busters brought along assorted video games, as well as a prize wheel that provided hours of fun for all. Attendees not only got to participate in all of these fun and educational activities, but also walked away with many great prizes and giveaways.
Adjacent to the Expo venue was a theater which featured presentations from some of the best and most knowledgeable speakers that the Long Island tennis community has to offer. Steve Kaplan (Bethpage State Park), along with Frank Dolan who is a trainer and consultant to the World Champion New York Yankees, started off the afternoon with a presentation on tennis performance. They discussed how to improve movement efficiently for peak performance, how to reduce injury, and how to build core strength for dynamic stability and balance. Bob Litwin took the stage next and took on the topic of mental training for competitive situations. Many were riveted by Bob's inspirational speaking. The presentations concluded with a very educational panel discussion on the road to college tennis and college tennis scholarships. The panel was led by Lawrence Kleger, who is the executive director of tennis for Sportime clubs in New York. The panel was made up of top experts and professionals with experience in all levels of tennis who walked the audience through the various steps necessary to reach there goal of playing college tennis. The panelists included Ken Flach, a former ATP professional tennis player and a U.S. Olympic gold medal winner and winner of four Grand Slam titles; Butch Seewagen, an NCAA All-American at Rice University (1967-68), runner-up in the 1968 NCAA singles championships and served as the head tennis coach at Columbia University from 1970-1979; Joe Arias, a USTA high performance coach and national Quick start specialist; and Mike Kossoff, coach of many top-ranked juniors at Sportime, as well as having coached one top 800 player in the world, four players to Nationals and eight to Division 1 scholarships. Lawrence led the panel through different areas of the recruiting process and then opened it up to audience questions.
This event was a great way to end the 2009 tennis year and we are looking forward to an even bigger and better Tennis Expo II in 2010.