Bremyer Leads Youth Tennis In McPherson
2020 is the 100th anniversary of USTA, and to celebrate, USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 outstanding members of our local tennis communities.
In July, we recognized Janie Bremyer, a tennis community leader in McPherson, Kansas. Bremyer says her tennis career began during the “tennis boom” of the 1970s. As her community was learning to play, she got involved, too.
“That’s how I got started, through these random tennis lessons where huge groups of people would come and learn,” Bremyer said. “I’m the kind of person who has always liked to have a sport, and it just ended up that tennis was a good way to express that.”
The group atmosphere is an element of learning that Bremyer has continued to provide to McPherson’s tennis community through Mac Advantage.
Mac Advantage is a local tennis group that provides lessons, camps and team tennis to the community. The organization partners with schools and parks to provide courts to host lessons and events. Bremyer established Mac Advantage 26 years ago as a way to bring parents and kids together.
“It started as a support group and now it’s more like a racquet club,” Bremyer said. “The year before we started it, I pulled together some of the parents that I knew were tennis enthusiasts and they became a core group. The first couple of years we had around 60 kids involved, and now we’re running around 120 kids.”
Today, Bremyer is still heading the organization and keeps the camps running every summer. She says the best part about being involved in the program is seeing the kids succeed and have fun while doing it.
“It’s really about the relationships you build with the kids. That’s kind of been my thing in life, to provide this for the community,” Bremyer said. “There are people who were there at the start to support this, and their children have grown up, had babies, and now we’re teaching those babies.”
Because of her focus on youth tennis, Bremyer was asked to be involved in USTA’s development of the Youth Progression Pathway- a program designed to help kids develop their skills by using red, orange and green balls, as well as smaller courts.
“We were already doing something like that through MacAdvantage, so I signed up to be one of the 28 groups around the country who were trying the program out,” Bremyer said.
After testing the program with her players, Bremyer was asked to attend a focus group in Chicago to discuss the results. She says being a part of that process is one of the best memories from her tennis career, and she still has the notes she took during the meeting.
During a re-build at McPherson’s Wall Park, Bremyer got the idea to put in special courts for the 8 & Under players who use the Youth Progression Pathway. The courts serve as a unique addition to the facility and have helped Bremyer provide more opportunities for local youth players through Mac Advantage.
“I give lessons not because I’m the best player, but because it pushes me to learn and understand. You get to know the families in the community,” Bremyer said. “The vehicle of finding and connecting with other people through tennis brings a wealth of experiences into your life. I think anytime you put yourself out there, you get back even more than you give.”
Bremyer says the things that keep her passionate about tennis are the people and the simple joy of being on the court.
“To think that I’ve had a positive impact on people’s lives is the most important thing, whether they became a great player or just had a good tennis experience,” Bremyer said. “My best memories are nothing amazing that I’ve ever done, but you always love hitting a good shot. That’s what keeps people addicted to tennis.”
USTA Missouri Valley and USTA Kansas are proud to recognize Bremyer with the Gold Star Award. You can check the official list of section winners here.