Teaching Pro Spotlight: Larry Brown (Lincoln Hills Country Club)
As tennis players across the Midwest take the courts once more, teaching professionals are finding new and creative ways to keep their juniors active. One such pro is Larry Brown of Ludington, Mich.
Brown has been an avid student and advocate of the game for almost two decades and loves bringing new players into his world. When Brown moved his teaching talents to the Lincoln Hills Country Club five years ago, he was a catalyst in helping grow the tennis program and bringing new players to the club. Through careful coordination with the club's leadership, Brown has created and grown a successful junior program. In recent years, Brown has welcomed as many as 80 players in one session.
When COVID-19 derailed tennis across the Midwest, the veteran coach knew that he would once again have to be creative with how he introduced the sport to his players. But one thing was certain: Brown would find a safe and engaging way to provide his players a much-needed break.
"Kids need something," said Brown. "It's no different than adults; we've been kind of locked down and locked up, so to speak.
"At some point, they have to find a way to release this energy."
And find a way Brown did.
At the beginning of August, Brown hosted a USTA orange ball tournament as a culmination of an eight-week modified summer program run at Lincoln Hills.
The junior players from around the surrounding community competed against one another in a round robin format that not only encouraged team play but also a safe environment.
Brown and his team were keen to implement all safety measures by checking each player's temperature before they took the court. The event was also limited to eight players on three courts at a time to minimize contact. When players were not on court, they were assigned a socially distanced chair as their home base.
For Brown, the tournament was a huge success not only in the eyes of the players but for the parents as well.
"I go above and beyond whatever is expected in safety, and I will do a few more things," said Brown. "That way, that wins the confidence not of our kids but the parents."
Brown suggests that other organizations looking to get back into running programming consult multiple resources and find what works best. He also recommends using full transparency for both players and parents as to what will happen at the event and what to expect.
The orange ball tournament is just the first of many events to come, Brown hopes. With the help of the incredible staff of Lincoln Hills, Brown will continue to provide a much-needed outlet for his players in a professional and dedicated manner.
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