Secrets from Paddle Camp

November 9, 2022


This is the first installment of a new series written by platform tennis camp clients from around the country. Each camp has a unique group of directors and pros in special locations, and each camper has a distinctive experience. First up:

CAMP SA Racquets Camp at Owl’s Nest Resort in Thornton, New Hampshire.

DIRECTORS Johan du Randt and Stephen Mitchell or

INSTRUCTORS Genius Chidzikwe, Tyler Fraser, Chris Humphreys, Mark Innes, Andre Ivarsson, Felipe Osses-Konig, Filip Rams, Charlotte Sikora

CAMPERS Mark Parry, Noah Seidenberg, Jason Stuck, and Dave Williams (Chicago)

2022 Paddle Camp2-500

Owl's Nest Camp Jason Stuck Mark Parry Dave Williams
Goals for camp 1. Have fun.
2. Learn from the best in the game.
3. Work on technique, but also thoughts and strategy behind the shots.
1. Have fun.
2. Learn how to play better, smarter team-based paddle.
3. Spend time with paddle guys I enjoy and build lifelong friendships.
1. Spend time with my paddle buddies.
2. Have fun
3. Improve a few things in my game.
First thing you learned that you wish you knew two years ago Keeping things quiet and calm. Wait for the right shot, not forcing it. The power of a great lob and the control of a push overhead. Using your lobs to set up your drives and your drives to set up your lobs.
One or two pieces of advice from the coaches that you're using all the time Softer shots to the middle and corners. Looking to attack. Lobs to the middle to create confusion. 1. Warming up volleying from the service line. The toughest volley in the game.
2. Court positioning - at the net, baseline, and everything in between. Being prepared and in the right place helps you and your partner be successful.
Be unpredictable--show your opponents different looks at everything, service placement, pace of drives/overheads, height of lobs, etc. Don't let your opponents get comfortable.
Favorite drill at camp I like working on the roller and the corner combo drill. The first year at camp, we did a corner combo drill where Johan taught us how to think about the corner as two corners of a 90-degree triangle. He taught us how to move a player back and forth and side to side with different combinations. I use these combinations all the time. Practicing the I-Formation and the corner combo drill. We spent a lot of time on I-Formation (or Australian), which is great to practice and get comfortable using when you meet a big returner.
Anything you want people to know about the camp experience/your experience It is great to go away and have an immersion experience. To just focus on paddle for a full weekend. You are learning from the best in the game. Highly recommend. You can learn and develop significantly in a few days if you're willing to listen, learn, and then try. It takes a while to get comfortable executing new things in a match, but camp gives you the opportunity to work on these things in a structured setting. The pros are so approachable and really take an interest in helping you improve your game. Camp is for EVERYONE and ALL LEVELS!
Any fun off-the-court stories Mark and Dave covered our best ones. The first year we went to camp (2021), we had too much fun comparing notes and what we learned from camp over lunch on the last day, so that we left too late, got stuck in traffic, and missed our flight home. I was responsible for driving and ended up doing well over 100 mph on the highway in a shaky minivan full of sweaty men after three hours of paddle. If you can handle that, you can deal with serving for the match in a 7-6 third setter. Quite the experience! Our first year, we were all very excited to meet Johan and Stephen, guys we had been watching closely on Live Streaming for years. They were the current National Champions - that's why we chose their camp. We flew in the morning of the first session. After a two-hour drive north from Boston's airport to Owl's Nest in Thornton, New Hampshire, we decided to stop at Mad River Coffee to grab a bite before we were due on the courts. Thornton is a very small town in the White Mountains and Mad River is basically the only place in town to grab decent coffee and some grub. As we walked up the front steps and opened the door, Noah shouted, "Wow, I didn't realize they let South Africans in this place!" Johan, Stephen, and Mark Innes nearly choked on their muffins. They all had huge smiles and were very friendly. We hadn't reached the courts yet, but it felt like paddle camp had begun. I realized then and there how much fun we all were going to have.
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