| By Brian Coleman
Owner and Managing Director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, Steve Kaplan, is merging his passion for education with tennis in the opening of the brand new Bethpage Park Tennis Center Education Center.

 

It has been an exciting summer at Bethpage Park Tennis Center as the facility has been undergoing extensive renovations. The new look facility will be more than just aesthetically pleasing and a great haven for tennis players, with many new features and programming being added in which will make Bethpage Park one of Long Island’s most unique clubs as well.

From a purely tennis perspective, the facility is getting a complete makeover that will carry it into the new era of sports training.

“We are making quite a few improvements and renovations at the club this summer,” said Steve Kaplan, Owner and Managing Director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center. “Some are more conventional, like redoing the courts and putting in new LED lights.  We are putting in new curtains and benches, and adding cameras onto the courts. Those are things that will really improve the club.

I’m most excited about some of the new offerings in our new clubhouse, though.”                                                                                     

At the heart of those offerings in the clubhouse will be a brand new education center. The dream of providing academics at his tennis facility has always been there for Kaplan, and now that dream is becoming a reality.

“I have always wanted to do this, but the idea was never really brought to fruition,” said Kaplan. “We are going to be offering an array of educational services with the intent of having it integrate closely with our tennis programming. What you learn on the tennis court you can take into the classroom, and vice versa.”

“The exciting part is that we are offering an array of educational services with the intent of having it integrate closely,” added Kaplan. “We will have a classroom and offer classes in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math], in body image and weight management, as well as college preparatory services, advisement and SAT prep.”

The classrooms will feature software from Sussman Education, one of New York City’s premier providers of educational software, which is owned and operated by two of Kaplan’s former students. 

“We will also have teachers in the rooms that will be assisting, guiding, directing and motivating students, and helping them solve problems,” explained Kaplan. “It will be primarily software based, which will permit the ability to teach different ages and levels.”

The third aspect of the new-look Bethpage Park will be the 2,000 square feet expansion onto the Clubhouse which will be dedicated to Sports and Fitness Performance. Kaplan and his team will be bringing in Frank Dolan, a Nike Worldwide Elite Trainer, to head up the program.

“He is someone who I have worked with for a long time and someone I’ve seen have success in developing players,” said Kaplan. “Our philosophy is that a lot of the disconnect and poor stroking patterns are often the result of physical limitations and the player compensating for that. So to progress players and do it safely, you need to look at movements from a technical perspective. We are going to have a tremendous amount of interaction and communication, so trainers are speaking the same language as the tennis pros, and the tennis pros speaking the same language as the trainers. All of the students will be assessed from a tennis and functional view.”

 

Functional Movement Systems will be at the core of the sports performance center, using the same techniques and models that major NFL, MLB and NBA teams, as well as many military branches and Police and Fire Departments, use to train.

“Every student working in the Sports Performance Center will be getting a functional movement screen test. Training should be unique and individualized to the specific needs of the student,” said Kaplan. “Everybody shouldn’t be given the same training protocol. It should be very evidenced-based on your specific needs.”

A new era will be ushered in soon at the Bethpage Park Tennis Center as it plans on growing its reach and expanding its services under the roof of a completely renovated facility. It will provide more than just lessons on forehands and training with weights, bringing together all the vital components that make a well-rounded tennis player.

“I have always believed that tennis is a part of education, and I think that education of your body is synergistic to education of your mind. So I couldn’t be more excited that something I always felt strongly about and dreamed about doing is coming to fruition,” said Kaplan. “To be able to provide the kind of programming that will allow students to use their classroom education to help themselves on the tennis court is vital. All three components integrate, and the goal is to not only help students ascend academically but also reduce the amount of injuries we see in these players.”

 

Brian Coleman

Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com