This article first appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Long Island Tennis Magazine. You can see the full digital edition by clicking here.
The top industry professionals and tennis leaders in the Eastern section gathered for the annual USTA Eastern Conference earlier this winter. Once again, the weekend-long event was held at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel, and featured a variety of activities, workshops and meetings as the section prepared for another year of growing tennis.
“The 2020 conference was easily one of our best!” said Jenny Schnitzer, USTA Eastern’s Executive Director & CEO. “We love bringing tennis leaders from across the section together. Watching so many creative minds meet and bounce ideas off each other is always such an energizing start to our year, and we really are ready to roll up our sleeves and find new, innovative ways to serve our mission of growing the game in our section.”
The conference is the perfect way to not only recap what was accomplishment in the previous year, but also to look ahead to the coming year and beyond. The Eastern Section honors those who made a positive impact on the game in our area with its Awards Dinner, and this year also featured the Eastern Hall of Fame celebration.
Throughout the weekend, there were workshops and seminars designed to demonstrate different teaching techniques or ways to grow, and this year included one on how to incorporate team-based drills into your practices, as well as one on how use basic instruction to make your facility welcoming to more people in your community.
The latter was led by Emilio Sanchez, the former seventh-ranked player in the world, who also put together a demonstration with his sister, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, 14-time Grand Slam champion, on their experiences and success playing on tour together.
One of the final workshops of the weekend focused on tennis in the 21st century and how to make sure tennis leaders are using technology and the digital age to their benefit.
“We’re very mindful of the current state of the game as well as where we think it’s heading,” added Schnitzer. “I was thrilled to have Heather Hawkes, USTA’s Senior Manager of Digital Serves for Community Tennis, lead an incredibly informative session on all the digital upgrades taking place over the next few years. Those very exciting changes are going to make a big impact on our tennis community, and I was so glad someone as smart as Heather could come to the conference to break everything down for us.”
The annual Eastern Conference is the unofficial start to the new year of tennis ahead in the section, and the 2020 edition of the event proved once again how much progress can be made in local tennis when industry leaders come together with the same goal in mind.