The French Open starts this weekend. Every year, I see a huge spike in players on local courts right around this time. The combo of the tennis-friendly weather and the subliminal messages the brain sends while watching pros play tennis from Paris seems to act as a catalyst to get off the couch and personally hit some balls. This year, when your brain gets that urge, both you and your small fry might decide to improve your skills close to home. Holabird Sports Tennis Camp at UMBC powered by Babolat is a great option for adults and children in the Baltimore Area.
The adult camp is an evening program from June 24-27. The juniors camp has openings for the June 23-28, July 7-12, July 14-19 and July 21-26 programs.
The juniors camp has been in existence for years. Last year, Holabird Sports took on the naming rights and sponsorship with partner Babolat. For twenty years prior to that, Adidas sponsored the camp at UMBC.
Sol Schwartz of Holabird Schwartz is proud of the camp and Holabird’s sponsorship.
The secret weapon of the camp is certainly the coaching staff, led by former pro Rob Hubbard, who has spent over 30 years coaching after an ATP career and stellar college career at the University of Texas Pan-American . Hubbard is a Calvert Hall graduate and a Baltimore native. He serves as Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Tennis programs at UMBC.
Rob was one of my coaches growing up, recalls Schwartz. Rob was coached as a tour player by Lenny Scheurmann. When Lenny started a tennis camp, he brought Rob in. Rob is a gift to any kid who wants to play college tennis.
What makes Rob unique is the experiences that he’s had in the game from a playing standpoint, from a teaching standpoint and a coaching standpoint. He’s got every base covered that a parent who wants to put their kid in a program would want running it.
A kid that’s playing in college still has it in the back of their mind that one day they might go pro. Rob’s been there. From a mechanics standpoint, he can break down any stroke any time to any level and repair it.
Between Coach Hubbard, Oliver Steil, and Robin Hubbard, Rob’s spouse, the camp is loaded with top-notch instructors. Steil is the Assistant Coach at UMBC and a former Division I player at the University of Texas Pan American, while Robin Hubbard was a nationally-ranked player at North Texas University. On top of that, Schwartz himself will offer instruction at the adult camp.
Instructing kids and adults presents different challenges, and the coaches are prepared to give them what they want and what they need.
Schwartz mentioned that “the whole thing with teaching adults is they expect different things out of a lesson. Their primary goal may be to get a workout and the technical side second.”
The 5:1 Instructor to Student ratio also allows for numerous breakout 1-on-1 lessons for each player’s particular needs.
Last year, a wide range of players from their early twenties to their early sixties participated in the adult camp. As Schwartz notes, “age doesn’t dictate performance.”
The juniors camp now has full-day, half-day, extended-day and overnight programs, with the minimum participation age of 6 and 9 for extended day and sleepover options.
Kids can be hard to keep focused, so the day is broken up to maximize the fun and the concentration. The morning is virtually all drills and cardio, with a focus on match play in the afternoon. A 90-minute lunch break is offered each day as a way to cool down and make friends.
The range of experience of the youngsters varies widely and all are encouraged to play, and Schwartz notes that last year, “we had extreme beginners and juniors with a national ranking”.
The camp uses adult balls and nets, a personal sticking point of Schwartz’s. “Real-sized everything”. But he does defer to Coach Hubbard to use any equipment he see fit.
The max enrollment is 36 kids and 30 adults to maintain a 5:1 student/instructor ratio.
For more information, click on the logo at the top of this post.
Next week, I’ll tell you about the best tennis camp the D.C. area has to offer.