We were sad to see our wonderful and colorful Hungarian fitness trainer Beci Ilyes move back to Europe last month. Besides doing a great job motivating and working our players, the kids had grown quite attached to him. Instead of letting him slip out of our minds, we decided to say goodbye formally and have a gas doing it!
Beci wears his hair in the most impeccable fashion, sporting a sharp spiked Mohawk kept in place by quarts of hair gel. When he demonstrated an exercise, he would move powerfully, often using his signature phrase, “Like this … Boom Boom!” knowing that not a hair on his head would move and inch. To have some fun and bind the group of coaches together and create a team feeling, we decided to have a “Beci Hair Day.” All of the kids will be styling like the man himself and say “Boom Boom!” We will give prizes for the best look and then send some photos back to Hungry to let Beci know that he is not forgotten.
Great programs get kids to work hard, learn to compete intensely, but also make sure it’s fun. I have been fortunate enough to have a number of talks with famed coach and motivator extraordinaire Wayne Bryan, father of the Bryan Brothers. He advocates taking your players to see events like Davis and Fed Cups, Futures and college matches. My group, for example, took our kids to the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 4. Wayne feels that such an event is equal to 30 days of practice, as the kids will be animated and motivated by the tennis. Above all, he preaches that watching great tennis brings joy, the driver to greatness.
Wayne also suggests unconventional events to get the kids jacked up. He tells of a program in Las Vegas that had a talent show. According to the program director, the tennis improved significantly, and after working together made the time spent together a blast.
Some of the coaches I have been lucky enough to work with have tried some off-beat things as well. When coach Carl Thorsen worked with me at the USTA Player Development Center, he agreed to let the court of girls he was training cut his overgrown hair, if they worked hard for the whole week. Carl’s haircut looked awful, but that group worked like crazy for that week, all the kids, not just the ones on his court, laughed hysterically during the styling session, and we giggled about it for days to follow.
So, we are looking forward to Beci Hair Day and I know that the laughs will make the hard work a lot of fun and a good friend of the program will be truly honored.
I would love to hear of any tales of other programs doing fun stuff and having a great time while doing it.
<p>Tim Mayotte was one of the nation’s best tennis players during the 1980s. Twice during the 80s, he finished the year ranked in the world's top 10. Besides reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open, he also won a Silver Medal in the Olympics and represented his nation in Davis Cup action. For the last decade, Tim has shifted his focus to developing top American players and is currently running Mayotte-Hurst Tennis Academy at the Cunningham Tennis Center with his partners, Lee Hurst and Carl Thorsen. He may be reached by e-mail <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.</p>