Episode:#47 Shaun Boyce and Bobby Schindler

In this episode we talk to David Stolle and Stewart Russell of UTA who has been a staple of metro Atlanta tennis for over 25 years. UTA manages multiple locations throughout metro Atlanta, has a history of helping the city of Atlanta with the city facilities as well as helping private clubs grow and improve. David and Stewart walk us through a bit out the college recruiting process but more importantly we learn more about what is necessary to prepare your young player for the recruiting process.

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Shaun Boyce USPTA: [email protected]

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Bobby Schindler USPTA: [email protected]

https://windermerecommunity.net/ 🎾

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Transcript
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(upbeat music)

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Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

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Every episode is titled, "It Starts With Tennis"

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and goes from there.

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We talk with coaches, club managers,

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technology experts, and anyone else we find interesting.

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We wanna have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

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(soft music)

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- Hey, hey, this is Sehaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast,

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powered by GoTennis!

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Check out our calendar of Metro Atlanta tennis events

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at LetsGoTennis.com,

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where you can also find deals on equipment, apparel,

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So get yourself an Atlanta tennis monster shirt,

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or even the Daniil Medvedev LaCoste shoes

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at 25% off for paid members.

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In this episode, we talk to David Stolle

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and Stewart Russell of UTA, Universal Tennis Academy,

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who has been a staple of Metro Atlanta tennis

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for over 25 years.

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UTA manages multiple locations throughout Metro Atlanta,

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has a history of helping the city of Atlanta

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with city facilities,

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as well as helping private clubs grow and improve.

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David and Stewart walk us through a bit

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of the college recruiting process,

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but more importantly, we learn more about

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what is necessary to prepare your young player

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for the recruiting process.

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Have a listen and let us know what you think.

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(soft music)

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- Good morning, this is Shaun Boyce

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with the Atlanta tennis podcast.

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We have an exciting morning,

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we're a few minutes late getting going,

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'cause that is the nature of what happens with live things.

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And we don't mind, but I appreciate anybody

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who's actually paying attention.

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In this case, today, we bring in Bobby Schindler as usual,

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but we're in the same room at the same time,

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which doesn't happen all that often,

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and we are honored to have David Stolle

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and Stewart Russell with us today,

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from Universal tennis academy,

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and they are gonna talk about all the cool stuff they do,

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as well as catching us up on some college recruiting information,

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which is kind of a year-round process

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from what I can tell.

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It's not just, not even that,

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I just say the kind of thing, my child,

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just turned one year old yesterday,

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so we're already starting him on the career path,

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so we're gonna get him going,

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but I think that's a longer term plan,

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and we're gonna find out from David and Stuart some ways

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to get him started,

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but if you're interested in your kids' plan,

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you think they're good, checking out their UTR,

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you start having those questions,

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and say, "Hey, can we play some college tennis?"

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We've talked to Billy Pate previously,

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we've talked to Luke Jensen,

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we've talked to some others about the college recruiting process

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about how UTR is used,

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as well as how our local coaches are integrally,

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is that integrally?

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They're integral to the process of getting those kids

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to be able to play college tennis,

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and we brought in two of the most competent

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that we know to have this conversation,

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so Bobby, good morning,

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I appreciate you actually being in the same room at the same time.

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- Good to see everyone,

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thanks guys for coming out, we appreciate it.

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- I appreciate it, yeah.

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- Yeah, thanks, David and Stuart,

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so we will start, if you don't know David and Stuart,

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they are UTA, which is Universal Tennis Academy,

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but they work for Universal Tennis Management,

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is the management company that handles that.

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The academy is the on-court presence,

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correct me if I'm missing anything,

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I think it's fairly straightforward that way.

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You guys manage nine facilities currently, is that right?

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You've had as many as a couple hundred in the area,

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so you've been around,

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and since the mid 90s catch me up,

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David, catch me up on where you started,

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you bought a property and ran a club,

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and then took over the world,

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well took over the Atlanta world from there, right?

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- We were just trying to make tennis better, so,

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yeah, so we started back in 1996,

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we worked at a couple of clubs,

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and then we bought our first facility,

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Chad Huchplantation, Marietta in 1997,

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and then in 2009,

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was when the city of Atlanta was needing some help

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managing their tennis centers.

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They were estimated to be losing over half a million dollars a year,

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and when the recession came,

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they were either gonna have to start shutting down

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some of those facilities,

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or they needed somebody to come in and help them with it.

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So we looked at as an opportunity to one,

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help the city to grow the sport,

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three create jobs at a time when people were losing jobs,

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and then from there, we kind of turned it into

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a management company,

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where, as you mentioned,

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we have many locations around the city,

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and we all enjoy teaching.

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I mean, that's a part of our lives,

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and so, yes, there's a management component,

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but the biggest part of what we do is the teaching

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from complete beginners, five-year-olds to kids

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that wanna play in college, to adults, to senior citizens,

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we kind of run the gamut as far as who we teach,

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and where we teach.

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But as far as where I got into the college recruiting side of things,

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I grew up in Boston, I went to school at University of Virginia,

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didn't really have somebody help me that much with the process,

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and when we started our academy down here,

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several of our original kids had interest in playing in college,

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and our overall goal is to try to create things

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that we didn't have kind of as a junior,

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so college recruiting process was one of those things,

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and we've learned that if you spend two years,

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four years, six years, eight years with a family,

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it's always nice to be able to help them with the process,

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and then hand them over to a program

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where you feel like they're gonna continue to grow,

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as tennis players, but also as people.

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- And I like that a lot, that's the concept

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of what's the phrase we use, Bobby, is making tennis,

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making Atlanta tennis even better than it already is.

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- Be better.

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- Be better.

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That's gonna be our new tagline.

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- Be better.

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- Yeah.

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- And it's the kind of thing where the podcast is trying to do that,

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we try to do that with GoTennis,

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are we actually doing something good for Metro Atlanta tennis?

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Are we helping somebody rather than just going out

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teaching, making money?

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And I feel like, I don't typically work on field,

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I typically work on numbers, but I feel like UTA

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is the type of organization that is doing its best

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to help Atlanta tennis.

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Is that an easy thing for me to say, Stuart?

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Is that--

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We let the customer base at all of our different sites

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kind of dictate each one's gonna have some different demands

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or different specialties.

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So when David spoke about whether it's an adult population,

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that's looking for more, whether it's the juniors

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that are looking to play college tennis.

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Came from a background where, when I grew up in,

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as far as tennis, way back in the day, one of the aspirations

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that I constantly heard whenever I was in the teaching profession

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and I'm in play for professional tennis,

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I wanna play for professional tennis.

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And the reality is, and I haven't done the numbers,

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but how many kids that are getting involved in tennis

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are actually gonna play at that elite level.

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And finding the pathway is a tricky, tricky

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because every different customer base,

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whether it's by where they are demographically or whatnot,

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is gonna be different needs.

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So, UTA providing this as a service,

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some of our facilities, it's not necessarily needed

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because the focus and there's nothing wrong with it

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could be more on the recreational players

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who just, their aspiration would be to play high school tennis.

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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But what I find intriguing in the entire thing

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with UTA, especially, is same thing with David,

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I grew up, actually, I was actually a men's tennis coach

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at Ronald Collab where I graduated from.

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I actually had anointed my senior year.

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And the same kind of an idea, I didn't know what I was doing.

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I was getting thrown out of the tennis court,

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but I found the passion for that team activity

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in this individual sport.

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And I'm finding that more, whether it's kids

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who wanna play high school tennis, whatever,

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I've not seen a junior tennis player

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that hasn't relished in an opportunity to play.

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They love doubles and they love team events.

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And we're talking about an individual sport in tennis.

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So the idea of blending it has been a passion of mine.

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And I know it is of David's, whether it's

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on the college side of it, or just in general,

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the team concept.

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And having it, whether it's with UTA,

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I mean, we're a team.

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We're not just on an island by ourselves as individual pro

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who's trying to figure out what's the best bang for our buck.

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It's what does our market or our customer base dictate

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and therefore can we provide this service to them.

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And I wanna stick with that team idea

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and David at some point will get back,

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I say at some point, the next thing I wanna do

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is talk about the actual recruiting process

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because that really didn't exist

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when I was in high school thinking about going to college.

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But sticking with Stuart on the idea of the team atmosphere,

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Bobby and I have worked hard with Joel at T2

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and we've created a new league focused on that team atmosphere.

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It's a flex league for the high school kids.

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And it's not college recruiting.

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It's, these are kids that don't have a UTR.

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They don't have a U.S. TA rating.

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They may just learn how to play tennis

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and they wanna make the high school team.

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But I think what they wanna do is they wanna be part

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of something bigger than themselves.

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And tennis doesn't always offer that.

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Tennis offers, I love my favorite story,

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is the 10 year old with the bag as big as him in the tournament

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and he walks, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.

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Hi, I'm Sean and he's checking for, I love that.

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I love that about the individual sport

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and how that creates that bad ass kid.

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And that's, the team atmosphere is different.

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It brings that kid into playin' with his friends

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and having a great time.

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It's, dude, you're big on promoting the team atmosphere,

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whether it's high school or college

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and what that means to tennis.

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My background's been specifically with team.

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I have two kids, fairly accomplished.

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Daughter who played Division II soccer, again, team sport.

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And I have a son who has never picked up a tennis racket

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and was a very accomplished,

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Kenosostate baseball player came through the Juco ranks

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and then was able to be very accomplished

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at Division I school in baseball.

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Again, another team sport.

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So I basically took that mindset

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and then me coaching in college.

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Tennis was more of a team atmosphere.

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I started years ago, I participated in all the UST

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functions, his own old competitions that they did.

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And then one of the ones that stands out to me

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that I did was the inaugural season

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of the National Spring Team Championship,

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which was in Mobile, Alabama, Scott and Lorraine Novak

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put on a phenomenal event and started,

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I wanna say, 2015.

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I could be off a little bit the first year in his existence

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and I started that inaugural season.

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And that was an opportunity for me to get a feel

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for the kids coming from the highest level kids,

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level one tournament.

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So the highest level kids coming all over the country

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but was very intriguing about it was the idea of how much

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those individuals that had inspired to be the top in their,

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whatever region they participated in,

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how much they enjoyed the team aspect of an event

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rather than just going out there

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and either winning or losing on their own.

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And it was an event that was near and dear to my heart.

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I started as my inaugural season

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and I did it all the way up until the last season,

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which I participated in just prior to COVID.

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One goal ball as a coach,

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which was kind of went out on top, which was great.

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But I keep in touch with what was great about it is,

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it's amazing how I kept in touch with so many of the kids

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that whether it was zoneals or whatnot through the years

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and it was simply because of the team environment.

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They had nothing to do with their individual.

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I wasn't that lightning rod coach.

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I do have a lot of energy on the court

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but when these kids come, they all know how to play tennis

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when you're playing at that level.

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But it was amazing to actually decompress for a minute

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and watch them actually lose a tennis match

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but stay and cheer on their teammates.

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Just like in any other sport, my son

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who is a very accomplished baseball player

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had to sit his first couple of weeks playing

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at his division one school.

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What are you gonna do?

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You can cheer on your teammates or you're gonna sit there and suck.

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And I found, you know, with tennis on the individual aspect

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and then you know, he gets his opportunity.

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If you get your opportunity,

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you're hoping that you put on a good show in front of the coach

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that when they do give you an opportunity,

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not only you but the rest of your teammates

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who are gonna recognize that you had their back

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whenever they were doing it.

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And I think something that's lost in junior tennis circle a lot

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and I just have a passion for the team aspect of it

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and blending this idea of this individual sport

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and make it more of whether it's high school tennis or whatnot,

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you know, the team aspect of it is just something

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that's near and dear to my heart.

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- And Bobby, you see that a lot

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because you've got a local high school that plays at your facility.

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It's just an amazing atmosphere even at the high school level

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that kids yell and then scream and...

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- It is great in it and it, I think we're in a really transitional time

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with tennis from the perspective of the old guard,

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the old 50 year old white guy who grew up,

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unfortunately, in a more individualistic sport,

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I like to do it, I came out of baseball.

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So everything I did was team that tennis was introduced later

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and I always felt like an outcast

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because I didn't have come from that mentality.

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I came from a group of guys and we cheered for each other

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and I think it's great and I love what you guys are doing

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and I think we're seeing it a change into the conversations

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we had with Luke, Jensen, Billy, Pate and I know Austin Smith.

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Austin Smith, one of the things he talks about

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not liking the pro-tour was not having teammates.

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You know, and the frightening numbers

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of how many of those kids who trained their whole lives

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to play college tennis then squit altogether.

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That's 70 to 75% of D1 tennis players never pick up a racket again.

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And you know, that's not healthy.

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And I think that the more we can incorporate

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what you're talking about, this idea that we're going to root for each other.

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I think we're seeing it on the professional level,

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the success of the labor cup.

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I'd like the changes they made to the Davis Cup,

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making it more of a weak internment, I think.

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I think those are all things that are going to benefit

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and it's going to grow the game and we're trying to do

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with not ignore, just focus on the highest level players.

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There's a lot of recreational players

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that are going to help grow this game

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that are going to play high school tennis

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and probably not play it collegially again, but that's okay.

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If they go to college, there's now club teams.

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It's better than doing what we were doing

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which was hanging out in bars.

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So, you know, I think all this stuff that is going on

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is only going to be a positive,

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not only for the kids growing up,

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but for the growing of the game.

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So, I think that's one of our biggest challenges, though,

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is it is an individual sport.

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And we lose a lot of people to basketball, baseball,

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to all these because they want to be with their friends.

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I mean, kids want to be social.

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So, one of our challenges is, you know, how do we make it?

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You feel like you're part of a team.

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So, like when we travel to tournaments,

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you feel like you can warm up with people

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and you can get to root for people,

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even though it is an individual tournament.

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I do think one of the things tennis offers

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that maybe some of the other sports may not

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is you get to go to drills and practice

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with different age groups, different genders.

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And so, one of the things that we try to focus on,

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you know, in an academy setting is, you know,

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the old kids used to be the young kids.

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And when they were the young kids,

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you know, the old kids hopefully looked out for them,

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knew their name, you know, spent some time with them.

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And you remind those kids, hey, one day,

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you're gonna be, you know, one of the older leaders here.

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And this is what's gonna be, you know, expected of you.

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And, you know, it's funny,

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'cause when everybody always wants to be playing

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with somebody better or somebody older.

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- We have that conversation all the time.

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- And then we have to remind people, well,

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there's somebody on the other end of the net

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that is obviously not thinking the same way you are

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because they're hitting with your child, you know?

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So, it's one of those, you know, building the team unity

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in an academy or drill setting is something

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that's important, you know, to us.

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- There are questions, we're talking about

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the cultural aspects of it as far as,

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we're seeing it, we're up in Forsyth County

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where there's gonna be 70 to 80 kids trying out

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for these high school, it's no longer,

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we have three tennis players and we're looking for eight warm bodies

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to have a tennis team.

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So, there's competition now.

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And it's gonna be interesting to see how the coach is adapt

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to it to make and start, because, you know,

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I hate to say it, it's not,

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tennis players get away with a lot more than

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what you'd get away with on a football team

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or a baseball team.

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Well, I can't come to practice today, I have this.

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- Yeah.

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- Well, then you're not playing, you know, you're coming.

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Because it's bigger than you, it's a commitment to a team.

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And your, I understand you have other things going on

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in your life, but if you've decided this is something

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that is important, you can't judge it how it affects you,

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there's, 'cause there's 12 other people on the,

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so it'll be interesting to see how tennis transitions,

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especially in our area as the popularity has gone up

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so much where it's no longer, hey, I'm gonna make the tennis team.

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I'm not gonna make the tennis team in South Forsyth

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at Lambert just by walking out.

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There's gonna be 40, 50 kids going home,

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disappointed each year.

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So it's gonna be on the coach to create that atmosphere

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and to go to, like you said, when you're the young kid

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or you're the borderline kid, you better be trying the hardest.

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You better be picking up the most balls.

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You better do something that the coach sits there and says,

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the Rudy for lack of a better word.

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He might not have the size, he might not have the ability,

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but if the guy who does have the size

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and the ability worked as hard as that child,

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that's how you make a star.

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So, yeah.

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And that was it, okay.

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- That was one of the things that, you know,

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I'm showing up at this National Springteam tournament,

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tournament, and I consider myself

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to be more of a tutor than I did a teacher.

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Kids that were showing up there are the best of the best.

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Or, already no.

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I'm not gonna be able to, obviously,

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have hula hoops out there and make them a better tennis player

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for that week during set event.

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But what I am gonna do is gonna create a culture.

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And what I've just found fascinating is

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the first year I did it, which was the initial phase,

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and I learned it was like,

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how much involvement can I actually have as a coach?

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And it was a typical kids at that level,

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what I found where they lost their match

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and the first thing they did was they left

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to either have a discussion with their parents or whatnot.

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And I was like, "Hey, there's one, gonna be one rule

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"without I'm gonna have you are staying there

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"until this match is completed,

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"you are cheering on the rest of your team

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"because your point counts just as much as Johnny's or whatnot."

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And me being judged as a coach this week is

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how our team does, not how you do.

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And I was fascinated, okay,

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how many kids still would wanna walk off and be that individual?

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Like I lost, almost, I'm not gonna say they,

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the feeling that the professional was,

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I don't care how my team does,

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I just care about how I did today,

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you know, whether it's win or lose.

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And that was the culture I created.

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So I wasn't teaching them anything,

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I was just teaching them,

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hey, if you were, 'cause all these kids are gonna be

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a spy in the majority of them, do play college now,

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at that level at some point,

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I was like, this is gonna be mandatory for you to do.

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Your college coach shouldn't be having to tell you this

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by the time you show up there.

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It's just the facts.

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And it was just the same idea is,

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you have a job to do, regardless of the result

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that you put on there because David said it earlier,

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your coach's job is on the line with how the team does,

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not how you do as an individual.

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And that's a tough sell for a lot of kids

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that have grew up in an environment was,

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I don't care about how anybody else does,

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I just care about how I do.

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And so that team, once you create the culture,

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I had a couple of good friends that actually lived out

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close, and a mere delet played on the Illinois team,

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which was probably one of the best college teams

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I think ever assembled, came out just as,

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just in passing, he lives out close to, in Windermere,

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his wife does, or his family does, where without,

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and he came out and he just hit with our kids one day.

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And I, near and dear to my heart when he said this to me,

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he said he goes, the atmosphere out here with your kids

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is just like what I felt like at Illinois.

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It was just the culture of the atmosphere.

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It was like, they're all really genuinely interested

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in how everyone else in the environment here

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and I was like, wow, that's the best compliment I can get

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'cause I'm a team guy, rather than them just worrying about,

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there's a couple of kids that are kind of falling off

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that day in practice or whatnot,

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but the rallying by the other kids to get them

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and say, hey, we got this, come on, we create,

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that shouldn't be a coach's job.

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And that's what I'm talking about in regards to that event.

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When I did that event, I was like, I'm two to ring kids.

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I'm not teaching kids anything that they're not gonna need

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to know at the next level.

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And I think that's the part of the team concept

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that I would love more people to embrace,

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whether it's on high school team or not.

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- I hit them, sorry.

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In real me, and if I go too far,

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but you brought up something,

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and I think this speaks to your guys' success,

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is that you as an organization or a team,

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you are a bigger entity as we spoke of previously

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that you all wear your hats and are comfortable

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with the hats that you wear.

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Even though there's big time coaches,

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with big time success, everybody does their role

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and does it well and historically is done so.

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And I think that starts and it makes it easier

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to permeate into your academies when the kids see

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what the example that you guys have set,

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and the way the success that it is brought to you guys.

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And I think from, again, the tennis perspective of,

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you got the pro who's got a hopper in the back of his car,

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who's going in one facility the next,

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he's just teaching tennis.

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He's not teaching the nuances of what is going,

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you're going to need if you're going to continue to play.

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- Finding your niche, finding your niche

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and using the rest of the group, the team,

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as a resource, and don't be afraid to ask for help.

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If somebody finds their niche,

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we started out at the facility,

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and I'm actually kind of overseeing or was up,

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and continuing to oversee at James Creek,

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and we found our niche, it was on the female population

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of high level players that wanted to aspire

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to play college tennis.

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And so that was our niche.

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Use people's resources, talk to David

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and then start to develop some relationships with coaches.

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- And switching gears back, I want to talk about,

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you say you've got a lot of those kids

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look into play college tennis.

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I want to switch back to kind of where we started, David,

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and say, okay, tell us about the actual recruiting

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process, because a lot of people have this picture

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of this cloud of who knows who you call and where does it work.

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Is there a structure that can be walked through

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that just says, you do these things and it will work?

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How does that work?

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- Yeah, well, first of all, I think everybody's different.

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Everybody has different goals.

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So, you know, over the last 25 plus years,

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we probably sent over 300 kids to play somewhere in college.

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My job is to kind of help tell their story.

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So usually working individually with families,

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it works a lot better because I've got to listen

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and some kids are really good when they're 10, 12, 13,

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some don't start till they're 14,

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some walk in with US News and World Report.

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That lists the top 100 schools and they're like, David,

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I don't care how much I have to write a check for.

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I want my kid to go to the highest rated school on this list

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and the very next person comes in and goes,

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"Hey, David, I don't care where my kid goes to school,

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I just don't want to write a check."

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And there's no right or wrong.

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My job is to kind of listen.

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You know, it's kind of been a blessing over the last 25 years

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to obviously we've worked with hundreds of schools.

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My job is to not only tell the kid's story,

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but also to work from the coach's side as well

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because it's not trying to get one over on somebody

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and squeeze somebody in somewhere

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because if you try that, it might work for a year,

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but then the kids are not gonna be happy

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or the school is not gonna be happy.

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Then they're gonna call me, want to transfer.

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And then three years later, when you have a kid

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that might actually be a great fit at a school,

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the coach is gonna say, is this one for real

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or are you trying to get this one past me type of thing?

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So I always tell people that because I want it to be a good fit

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and sometimes I work just like a guidance counselor.

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You've got to set up reach schools,

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realistic schools and safety schools

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and people typically spend 95% of their time

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stressing about the reach schools.

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And oftentimes there's no real reason behind that

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other than they've seen that team on TV playing football

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or they see that they're a top 10 school

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and they just think that's where they need to go.

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I always say, have you ever been on campus?

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No, do you know the name of the coach?

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No, do you know anybody on the team?

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No, then how do you know you wanna go there?

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And so part of my job is to help them start the process,

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try to get them to be open-minded

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to a lot of different things.

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I typically like to start with a bigger list of schools

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so kids might have 25 or 30s schools on their list

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and then we try to work our way down

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'cause really you're just trying to marry one.

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It's not like you're trying to pick five,

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you're just trying to pick one.

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So the goal is, you know, you start,

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I start with a list of questionnaires

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which just gets families kind of talking

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because it's not just a kid decision,

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it's obviously it's a family,

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it impacts the entire family

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so you wanna get everybody involved.

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And questions are, you know,

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starting to get them think about size of school location,

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where do they wanna fit in the lineup?

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Do they wanna go somewhere

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where they don't have to stress about being in the top six?

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Do they wanna go somewhere

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where they just can say they're on the team?

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That's part of it and then another question is,

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some people they need athletic money,

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some people might be able to qualify for academic money,

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some people might be need-based

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and then understanding how that works.

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A coach can help tag an application

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to help you get through admission,

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whether you're getting money or you're not

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'cause there are a lot of schools,

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you know, your Ivy leagues for example,

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they don't have athletic scholarship money

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but coaches do have the ability to, you know,

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tag your application and, you know, help the requirements,

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you know, help you to be able to get into the school.

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So my job, we typically start in their junior year.

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Sometimes we have people that are a little bit anxious

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and I always say, listen, if you're losing sleep

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and you're a freshman or a sophomore,

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I'm happy to talk to you,

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but you gotta remember we're talking about college coaches,

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I'm a coach so I can say this,

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like some of them don't know where they're gonna be in two years,

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you know, and a lot of them are working on,

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you know, next year's class.

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So even though they got their own list of schools.

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Exactly, yes they do.

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Yeah, so even though this is the most important thing to you,

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it may not necessarily be the most important thing to them

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and you get one chance to make a first impression.

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So that's why I tell people,

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when do you wanna make that first impression?

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Are you better when you're a first semester sophomore

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or are you gonna be better when you're a first semester junior?

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You know, and hopefully they're gonna say first semester junior

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if not, they should probably take some time off, I guess.

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So, and I also explain to people,

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I think there's four parts to be in a good college coach.

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One, can you teach tennis?

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Two, can you communicate and can you manage a group of people?

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Three, can you fundraise for your program?

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And four, can you recruit?

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And rarely do you find somebody that excels

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in all four of those areas.

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And there are a lot of great places out there

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where some of the coaches, they may not feel like,

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their job is on the hot seat.

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So they may not spend as much time on recruiting.

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We've had kids that have tried to reach out to certain schools

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and got no responses after five emails.

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And I'm, that's right, I'm like, okay,

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well here's where I step in and I can reach out to the coach

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and say, listen, you want this person on your team?

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I'm not sure what you're doing.

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And, you know, and they'll come back and they'll say,

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you know, thanks for reaching out, I will follow up.

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And then, you know, so that's my job is to kind of help

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create the pathway to make the process easier.

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- So it is very subjective.

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So we're not just looking at, okay, here's,

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fill out this form and it's obvious

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as to what the next step is.

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There's a lot of different variables in that

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within each family.

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- Yes, for sure.

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And that's, to me that's the fun part

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'cause, you know, you talk about teaching tennis.

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If we were just teaching forehands and backhands,

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that gets old really fast.

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So, you know, you're working on trying to figure out

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how each kid thinks, how they learn, how they process things.

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And, you know, I might say one thing to you

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and then I've got to say the same thing to Bobby,

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but I might have to change the approach.

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So I think college recruiting is the same way.

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- Gotcha.

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And that would morph into, yeah, I know we discussed it,

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you know, a lot of kids went through this recruiting process.

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UTR and, you know, UTR, they're just numbering.

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There's a lot of coaches that do gauge what their interest

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or their initial interest in a perspective,

Speaker:

student athlete, and they might look at their UTR

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to say, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

Speaker:

I mean, what David does, and it has a little bit to do with it.

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And I'm not, it's not that I'm downplaying

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the importance of some recruiting services or whatnot,

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but we're, you know, David and us at UTR,

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we're around these kids on a regular basis.

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And we know a lot more of the subjectivity of the things

Speaker:

that we have to consider when recommending someone

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to a college coach.

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Right, we're seeing these kids on a regular basis,

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whether it's a financial, whether it's,

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how is this coach going to deal with the parents

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of this child?

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Because there's a lot of different nuances associated with it,

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but UTR, in some cases, I totally understand the idea,

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but I like to tell the story about UTR being

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more than just a number.

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And there's still, this fascination is it's going up,

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it's going down on a 13 on a 12 on a 11,

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I'm not going to qualify for this school.

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Let David or I or a couple of us maybe have a discussion

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with a coach that might not downplay the importance

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of a UTR from competitive, but understand

Speaker:

the other variables associated with you possibly

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becoming part of their program.

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And that makes me think of our conversation with Billy

Speaker:

Pate and Chase Hodges.

Speaker:

And a bunch of conversations, but Billy Pate, specifically,

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who says, if you're not a, whatever, UTR number,

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is like, you just not playing for me.

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And it may not be that--

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Not objective of a decision.

Speaker:

If I've got somebody like UTA in my corner that can say,

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hey, Billy, I know.

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He's a 12.5, whatever that is.

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Is it good to have you on my side to be able to call Billy?

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I will use him as just the example,

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but be able to call that college coach and say,

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you need to check this kid out.

Speaker:

He's good for the team here, all the X factors.

Speaker:

And David's going to downplay this,

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but he doesn't need to be downplaying this.

Speaker:

When David's getting phone calls from college coaches,

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OK, there's a reason they're calling him,

Speaker:

and it's more associated with what do you think?

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Then it is the number idea.

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And there are coaches that you're absolutely right,

Speaker:

that are going to basically say, they're not playing for me.

Speaker:

But if David or somebody helped them navigate this kid,

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he's come to work all day.

Speaker:

He's going to be the best team player you've ever seen.

Speaker:

And he's very careful in how he does it,

Speaker:

because he's not going to recommend somebody

Speaker:

that he knows is going to come back to bite him,

Speaker:

and he said this earlier.

Speaker:

He's not going to recommend somebody that in a couple of years

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is going to be like, what were you thinking

Speaker:

by recommending this kid?

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But there are times where there's going to be some tough fits.

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I mean, one that came to mind was probably 15 years ago.

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I told the coach, he said, this girl is going to come in

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and play number one for you.

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I said, she's going to be a pain year rear.

Speaker:

She might not get along with the other girls,

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but she's going to win you a lot of matches.

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And she stayed there for two years and did exactly that.

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She called.

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She said, I'm ready to transfer.

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Coach called me after that and said, I just want you to know.

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You told me exactly what I was going to get.

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And I got it.

Speaker:

And I was willing to take the chance.

Speaker:

So that was good.

Speaker:

But getting back to your Billy Pate story, you know,

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certain schools, they might have a baseline

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as far as what they're looking for.

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It worked.

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UTR is a starting point.

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Get me close.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

But I would turn around and I would go to Billy.

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And I'd say, all right, those kids are 12, 5,

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and you're looking for a 13.

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I'd go, how good a coach are you?

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He's going to be even better, so.

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Or if you could--

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Because I'm going to be able to say,

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I've watched this kid for the last eight years.

Speaker:

I know what this kid has in the tank.

Speaker:

I know where he's heading.

Speaker:

And that goes back to the telling of the story of the kid.

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And you know, UTR is just a--

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it's a number, like we said.

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But I always tell families.

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I said, you know, think of it this way.

Speaker:

A coach has got eight to 14 spots of picking people.

Speaker:

They get to hang out with for 20 hours plus a week,

Speaker:

plus weekend trips for four to five years.

Speaker:

I go, do you think they're going to go based on a number?

Speaker:

I go, is that how you do it at work?

Speaker:

I go, you know, there's also a personality.

Speaker:

Better be like them with it.

Speaker:

You need to be-- yeah.

Speaker:

Likeable to their program, right?

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Likeable to their culture.

Speaker:

And I think that that's a part of it.

Speaker:

One of the things that comes up to families will be like,

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oh, this school wouldn't be interested because they just

Speaker:

take foreigners.

Speaker:

And I'm like, well, wait, first of all, I go,

Speaker:

that school may be a great fit.

Speaker:

I said, most college coaches would tell you.

Speaker:

Our job is to get the best team that we can get.

Speaker:

I'd love to get Americans.

Speaker:

But they may not be at the level that we need to be at.

Speaker:

And I had two teammates at Virginia.

Speaker:

One guy was from Haiti.

Speaker:

One guy was from Mexico.

Speaker:

They were two of my favorite guys on the team.

Speaker:

Two guys that I could not stand was a guy from Georgia,

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and a guy from Tennessee.

Speaker:

So I would not be discouraged by that at all.

Speaker:

I think I've never had a coach say, I'm not interested

Speaker:

in Americans.

Speaker:

But what they will say is, hey, my job is based on how we do.

Speaker:

So I think that being open to learning

Speaker:

about different coaches and their philosophies,

Speaker:

and really, I can't emphasize enough,

Speaker:

and you can start this at any age, just getting on campuses,

Speaker:

watching practices, going to see matches.

Speaker:

Because stuff you see on the internet,

Speaker:

you don't get to see in person.

Speaker:

Being able to watch how a coach and a team

Speaker:

interact with each other, being able to watch how teammates

Speaker:

interact with each other.

Speaker:

Yes, it's great to win, but how do they handle themselves

Speaker:

when they lose?

Speaker:

I was fortunate.

Speaker:

I played for a coach who watched me lose a match

Speaker:

at Kalamazoo one and one, and he still wanted me on the team.

Speaker:

And I said, well, I do want that.

Speaker:

He said, well, I saw you were fighting at 5-1 in the second set.

Speaker:

You came off the court and could have a conversation with me.

Speaker:

I'm not expecting people to win all the time,

Speaker:

but I'm expecting people to compete.

Speaker:

And maybe that's a bit of it as well, is that work ethic.

Speaker:

And I think that's why you've got a lot of non-Americans

Speaker:

on the team.

Speaker:

And maybe this is a question to ask,

Speaker:

and say, OK, I played NAIA.

Speaker:

And it was a lot of guys from outside the country,

Speaker:

and they worked so hard.

Speaker:

And it might have just been because that's what it took.

Speaker:

It was that much more important to them

Speaker:

to be there at the school playing college tennis

Speaker:

than it was for me, because I was just there for my father

Speaker:

to pay the bills for four years so I could put a band together.

Speaker:

Playing tennis was fun.

Speaker:

I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a life-changing concept

Speaker:

where some of these kids, maybe in the Atlanta area,

Speaker:

they're a little spoiled, Bobby.

Speaker:

I think you've made a comment of that to say,

Speaker:

they don't really need it.

Speaker:

There's that work ethic, isn't there?

Speaker:

I think it's cultural.

Speaker:

And I don't say that for-- I said the sport itself, first of all,

Speaker:

because it's not a team sport, because,

Speaker:

better or worse, your parent is playing a very big role

Speaker:

in the situation and the indoctrination

Speaker:

from where your parent comes from.

Speaker:

There's so many things that we can't control.

Speaker:

Again, what I hear and what I love and what they do

Speaker:

is what we're trying to do is try to break down the walls

Speaker:

and some of the things that get in the way of tennis is success.

Speaker:

And part of what they do, because they're so good

Speaker:

about being a team within their organization,

Speaker:

where in their own hats, they have the ability

Speaker:

to offer things that most coaches don't feel

Speaker:

they have the expertise, time, whatever reason,

Speaker:

because they have other things that they have to do.

Speaker:

I get it.

Speaker:

The problem with tennis historically is the coach,

Speaker:

if I don't know what I'm doing,

Speaker:

I'm too stuck up or too, just called David Stalin,

Speaker:

and say, David, help me.

Speaker:

I have a great kid.

Speaker:

Could you help the family with the process?

Speaker:

Now, he can't give the personal endorsement,

Speaker:

because he might not know the kid as well,

Speaker:

but at least he can be a gateway and start

Speaker:

the child in the right process.

Speaker:

And I think that, of course, the board of problem with tennis

Speaker:

is that we don't communicate enough as coaches to say,

Speaker:

hey, this is just because this is not a poor reflection.

Speaker:

I don't have the time.

Speaker:

How can I find the kid?

Speaker:

When I was at Whitecombs, I had a couple good kids.

Speaker:

I was like, listen, I can't coach you in here.

Speaker:

That doesn't mean I wouldn't love to.

Speaker:

Of course, I'd love to coach a kid

Speaker:

who's actually a good tennis player.

Speaker:

I'm going to send you to winward.

Speaker:

Go see the guys at winward.

Speaker:

They're close by.

Speaker:

They can provide for you what I can't provide.

Speaker:

I think that's the responsibility of a quote unquote coach.

Speaker:

- Yeah, but take me to probably go on

Speaker:

where you're thinking Stuart,

Speaker:

which is those recruiting services,

Speaker:

which is the system that helps the coach,

Speaker:

maybe my coach in high school,

Speaker:

doesn't have the time or the energy,

Speaker:

or even just the expertise.

Speaker:

I mean, so many tennis coaches are convinced these days,

Speaker:

they have to wear all the hats.

Speaker:

If I'm just working for myself,

Speaker:

we've got a lot of those guys here.

Speaker:

Really just working for myself.

Speaker:

I gotta wear all that.

Speaker:

I gotta do everything, or I'm gonna lose this kid,

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or there's no longer gonna be my client.

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But I think the families are gonna appreciate

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going to someone who is an expert in that.

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And you guys know a lot about those.

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They're plenty of recruiting services.

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I can go to the dot-nets out there

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that kind of help me through that system.

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I think UTR has all their new magic systems

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that are supposed to help,

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and I haven't researched any of that.

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So I gotta lean on you guys to help me understand

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those services.

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- We meet with Chase, a good friend of mine.

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Chase actually, Ron Oak,

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Ron Oak Virginia, where I was actually a coach.

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He was actually, there are two rival country clubs

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that came in the area,

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and Chase was actually one of the directors there,

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Chase Hodges, which is one story short.

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(laughs)

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Tennis is a small circle of people,

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but we had this discussion with them.

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And it was like, yes, the recruiting service is gonna,

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getting back to Bobby's point

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about the recruiting services versus the personal touch

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and or whether it's UTR.

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Telling people the story is the end.

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We talked to Chase about this.

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Getting back to having somebody as a number,

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and that being an important idea,

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not to tell you a whole story,

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and it doesn't tell the recruiting stories of,

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what if I told you that the majority of the backdrop matches,

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this person pulls out.

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Just don't play,

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because they don't want it to impact their UTR.

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And I know Chase eluded to this in the podcast

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when he did it,

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it all impacts your UTR.

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So let's get rid of that.

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- Let me have some misunderstanding, yeah.

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- But it's a misunderstanding,

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but the bottom line is we still have kids and parents

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allowing that to happen.

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Even in the USDA circle,

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you can look back at USC tournaments across the board

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and look at the backdrop and the consolation matches

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and how many kids are pulling out.

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Right, if you're a college coach,

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then we're able to tell you the story,

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and but you're able to look and see withdraw, withdraw, withdraw.

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And unless the kid doesn't injury and that tells me a lot

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about what I don't want on my team.

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The kid is not ready to be out there

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and go back to your point about the foreigners

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versus Americans, they don't want to play.

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They want to play matches.

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And if it's important to a coach

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that this person just plays matches,

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regardless of a winner or loss,

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or how it's going to impact their UTR,

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that's a character flaw that somebody needs to tell

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the story to before it bites you in the butt.

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And that-- - Is that a character flaw

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or is that a coaching mistake, a parenting mistake?

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Because it's not the kid usually making that decision, right?

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- Could be, could be, because we hear the kids,

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this UTR, they're studying on a daily basis,

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their UTR number, and it's like,

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if I play this kid, it's going to go up or down.

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I don't know if it's the parent,

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but I tell you right now,

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it is coach's responsibility.

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Either to intervene one way or the other,

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and basically say, okay, we don't do that.

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We play, okay, unless there's an injury

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when I just a fine line, we play matches.

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We don't let, you know what I'm saying?

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That's something that I think we need to tell the story

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and do a lot better job of is,

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when I look at back draw matches,

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and I say, I'm not playing,

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but I actually have heard kids say,

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that's not gonna help my UTR,

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so therefore I'm playing out.

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- That's a problem.

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- I think though the issue is a technology problem.

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When everybody here was growing up,

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I learned how good I was, February of the next year

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when a little book showed up in my house,

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it told me what I was ranked.

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- Yeah, that point, I thought about it for about a day,

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and I was like, oh, it's okay.

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Oh, it's better than I thought, right?

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And the next day I went back out to playing, right?

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So we spent all of our time focusing on getting better,

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where now with technology,

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we're human beings, we like control,

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we like to be able to manipulate things, right?

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And so we're always trying to figure out the system,

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right?

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And so we've gotten away from doing the things

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that we need to do to get better.

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So what are you doing to your game to improve?

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Not what tournament am I not playing?

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So I can't hurt my rating.

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You know, I had a girl,

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she wanted to be top, this was probably 10 years ago,

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she wanted to be top 15 in the South,

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and I said, "Grey, I said, how are you gonna do it?"

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She goes, "I got it all worked out."

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She's like, "I'm gonna go to Little Rockark

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and saw Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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I'm gonna go to Jackson, Mississippi.

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I'm gonna play these events.

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The draws will be weaker,

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I'll pick up more points, and I'll be top 15 in the South."

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And I looked at her and I said, "Well, that's one way to do it."

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And I said, "Here's another way."

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And she looked at me and she'd write something down.

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I said, "Why don't you start beating people

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that are top 15 in the South?"

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And she looked at me like I had three heads,

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and I walked away and I was like,

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"That's where I feel like we have a problem,

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a perception problem."

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UTR came around a few years later,

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and from a recruiting side of things,

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because you notice we haven't talked really anything

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about USDA rankings.

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We've been talking about UTR.

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- Still got to get into Kalamazoo right now.

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- Right. - Right.

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- Play the Orange Bowl,

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and you got to figure out how to do that.

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You got to manage both, right?

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- Right.

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- But 10 years ago, and I'm talking to a coach in Michigan,

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I'm saying, "Hey, this kid is eight in Georgia."

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Well, that translates to 12 in the Midwest,

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and that translates in the top 30 in Peru,

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and so you're trying to translate.

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So the one nice thing about UTR,

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at least it makes us closer to be able to compare apples to apples,

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and it's taken the international part of the sport,

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and it's kind of unified it.

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So, and even Chase said,

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it helps me from making a mistake.

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It doesn't help him make the decision.

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- Correct.

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- The number, like Stuart, you said,

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it's more than just a number,

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but it doesn't tell the whole story.

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- Absolutely. - Maybe we just taglined UTR.

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(laughing)

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But it was saying,

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it helped me from making a mistake.

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It gets me in a better apples to apples,

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as you said, point of view.

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- Yes, so from recruiting side of things,

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it has made it easier,

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but to my other point, the technology side of things,

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I've never had anybody say,

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"Hey, I think my UTR is too high."

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You know, it's typically--

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- Mine probably is.

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- Okay.

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(laughing)

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But it's one of those things where,

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you know, I think kids and parents,

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you know, I think they're,

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we're way too into technology,

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like, and we're getting away from

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what parts of my game I'm trying to work on.

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And if I'm working on something,

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guess what, I might take one or two steps back,

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but if I'm playing a tournament that weekend,

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I'm gonna try those things that I'm working on,

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probably not.

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I'm gonna go back to what I'm comfortable with

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'cause I'm worried about the technology

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that's gonna happen Monday morning, you know?

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So I feel like that hurts us.

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- It's one of the reasons we brought up this T2 League,

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is if I'm not worried about my UTR for a match,

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what would I do?

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If I'm not worried about college recruiting for a match,

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hey, what happened over here?

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Oh, I certainly worried the whole match

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'cause I got a, the doubles thing coming up

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and I stayed at the baseline, I just hit only drop shots.

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Whatever it is that I get to work on,

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that we did back, that's what we all say back in the day,

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right, that we did saying,

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hey, you know what, I went to work on something.

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I needed to work on something.

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We look up and we watch the professionals

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every once in a while,

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and what did Alkaraz lose to that guy?

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And you go, okay, maybe he was working,

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that's my first thought is maybe he was working on something.

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Maybe even those guys do a little bit of that,

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but also managing schedules, is that part of it?

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Yeah, that's gotta be part of it, right?

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Adaptability, adaptability on a match by a match basis

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at the next level.

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But look at the success, go back to our point earlier

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about team atmosphere, the success of someone like,

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whether it's a John Isner or whether it's a Benchelle now,

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they were all talking about their college experience.

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They don't just talk about,

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and it's so well-rounded in when they speak about it,

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it almost sounds like that's the highlight of their life.

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I mean, those people are gonna relish in these team events.

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I mean, John Isner always talks about his time

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at University of Georgia, Benchelle is on a regular basis,

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Brian Shelton, who actually was coached, you know,

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George Deck, you know, did a fabulous job, I think.

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Amanda McDowell, who was NCAA single champion,

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that worked with, went to George Deck,

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came through our program, whatever.

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But these people, the well-rounded aspect

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of those people and their adaptability,

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I look back and I say, that kid genuinely loved college, right?

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And not just a success on the pro tour,

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when I watch Benchelle, that's what, I say a college player.

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I don't see a professional tennis player right now.

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I say a college player that's, that worked in,

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wasn't distraught of a losing in individual match.

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Might have been working on things, I'm sure,

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I think he played at one point, it started there at six singles.

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You know, it worked his way up, high in the lineup.

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I'm sure we didn't lose the match.

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Because he was a football player, originally.

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Yeah, that's why the reason is why he's probably not burned out,

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but exactly.

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Right, exactly.

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Just that atmosphere of him losing a match,

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but feeling like his team was still successful,

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I think it's just huge for kids.

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So whether it's playing high school tennis,

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I have never once had a kid,

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and I know there were coaches out there

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who say, don't play high school tennis.

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Coach has no one to talk about.

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I've never once done it, because I understand the atmosphere

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that's it, right?

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So more important than worrying about the math teacher

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giving your player bad advice.

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Nobody's screwing up their forehand.

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Majority of the high level players

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are going to be the best player on the high school team.

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Right.

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Well, you got a job to do, bring up the rest of the group.

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Right, right?

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That's your job.

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And that was a tough thing we had growing up.

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And I pointed you, David, just because you talked about the back in the day

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and how we used to find out what our ranking was,

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that we physically wrote down our scores, trying to remember them, right?

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But then when you look at the high school time frame,

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I played high school tennis with Jason Steele,

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who's one of the coaches in the four-cyth area that's helping us.

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Yeah, that's helping us.

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We played a high school on the same team at the same time,

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but we didn't practice with the team.

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Because the rest of the team, I was recruiting off the chess team.

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It was like, guys, all right, you're tall here.

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Stand here and whack the ball when it comes to you.

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But we don't have that problem anymore

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with the numbers in certain counties,

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where I'm picturing this, though, is the better players.

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It comes back to that, my kid.

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I always wanted to play with a better player.

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We all have a good answer for that.

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I'm surprised it's still a thing,

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because all the coaches we talk to have a good answer for that.

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But the better players, being part of a team,

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and being able to bring in more than themselves

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and see that larger picture for themselves,

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is more than just the UTR.

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It's more than just even what my coach says, yeah, yeah, he's a good kid.

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But is he a good teammate?

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Yeah.

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Is he somebody that can handle adversity?

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Is he somebody that can help somebody else handle adversity?

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Because what's tennis?

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It's a microcosm of life.

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And typically, how you handle yourself on tennis court

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is going to be how you're going to handle situations in life.

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So we use it as a way of getting to connect with people

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in the next generation and hopefully be impactful

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so that the way they handle and learn how to handle adversity

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will take that with them for the rest of their life.

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Making better people, right?

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A small sample size of that, we call a story that happened

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in the second year that was a national spring team championship.

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They awarded gold medals to each participant on the team.

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There was a year that there was a second year I was there.

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There was a team at one.

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I did not coach this team.

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There was a team that won and one of the individuals

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that played in the younger age division did not win one single match.

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And he still won a gold ball or gold medal.

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Because he was part of the winning team.

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He lost every single match doubles and singles.

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And he still won and there was an uproar from not all.

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So I cannot believe this individual won a gold medal

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and didn't win a match.

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Didn't tell the whole story.

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The kid was there like he was participating

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in something bigger than me.

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It's not like he lost every match and he was wearing it on his chest.

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He was cheering on the rest of his teammate for the rest of the week.

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So I was like, and there were actually parents.

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I believe who were writing in on this story

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saying that the kid didn't deserve a gold medal.

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How many out of teams?

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My point was I almost would refuse to coach if this kid didn't win a gold medal.

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I would never coach there again because this kid was part of that.

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And my point is I could not believe there was an uproar

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that this kid didn't lose much because they don't know what this kid was doing.

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Now if this kid was running off and sulking and crying

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because he lost every single match, OK?

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I mean one thing different probably didn't deserve it.

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But they let the coach make that decision for that.

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This kid lost a match and was still cheering on the rest of his team the entire rest of the day.

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They're not winning a match.

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I guess what ceremony?

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He got a gold medal just like everyone else on that team.

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I go to a base ball reference.

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I go to a baseball reference.

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Of course, Bobby, I strike out every time in the world series.

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My team still wins.

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Do I not get my right to get your ring?

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You get a ring.

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And that's where the team aspect just makes a huge, you know, makes a huge difference.

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As we always talk about we get these round tables

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and four more shows.

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I've already popped up in my mind being by far the oldest at the table.

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Though I have to do it, I think, by three weeks.

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I laugh at you guys talking about technology.

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My idea of technology was, well, I'm so old.

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We didn't even play tournaments.

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That, you know, people asked me, what was your ranking?

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I was like, ranking.

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I was 20th at my club.

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I didn't need to go play someplace to lose.

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I could lose any day of the week.

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Now, I didn't know that we had great cash, Chris Garner, Randy Vignan,

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Sven Saluma.

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I mean, there were some serious players playing the, obviously, were coached by King Van

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Austria and John Van Astrand, Molly, Molly played a wimble, so, you know, a whole different story.

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But I didn't need to go anywhere to be humble.

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I could go out any day of the week and get my butt handed to me.

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So that's number one.

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The other thing that I hear and I scream and I always laugh about, obviously, the culture

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of the sport.

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And how much responsibility does that come from a higher being?

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We talk about it.

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The idea of tennis etiquette.

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How, that is, the importance of it, his died.

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And, you know, I get things evolve and it might be old fashioned, but I think there's always

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something that you should take out of that.

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And it's just the idea of the respect for the game.

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I think we, we, we, we laugh it a little bit about what we are on in Atlanta with the idea

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of the out-of-player.

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This is a mommy-driven sport.

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In my opinion, in Atlanta, tennis is mommy-driven.

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And mommy's played out there, which is great.

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We have a bunch, you know, unbelievably successful, but how many of them judge their value as a tennis

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player?

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You'll ask him, "How'd you do today?"

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And immediately they give you a one or loss.

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I didn't ask you whether you want a loss.

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I asked you, "How'd you do today?"

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Did this stuff that we're working on in practice come into being, "Well, you know, and knowing,"

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as David said, "Well, you know they're not going to work on their second top spin serve,

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because they got to get it in.

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So they're going to tap it and they're going to wonder why the second return was nailed

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at them.

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Like, guys, really, if you want to win, you need two strokes in Atlanta."

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Don't you want to be a tennis player?

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That's a whole different discussion we can have.

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So I think the culture, be it the sport, or being where we are at because of how tennis

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is evolved here is makes it very challenging.

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And then the interesting one, as we just talked about, too, as we're seeing more professionals

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coming out of the college ranks, do you see that changing the dynamic as well?

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And what, you know, the future holds for tennis because with COVID, there was a fear that

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men's tennis might go away entirely.

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But now, all of a sudden, you're seeing more and more kids who have gone to college coming

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out on the tour and having success.

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And this is a little bit different.

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And, you know, is that going to change the way we look at college and the way maybe in

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this country will make people wake up to the fact that it's not about?

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I think it bridges, I think it helps bridge the old philosophy, which was the young kid who

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was becoming an elite tennis player.

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The first thing on their mind was I want to play professional tennis.

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I think by seeing this evident with, I don't know the whole story, but I do know what I see

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doing with my eyes.

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I think seeing the success of some of these college players to do it, I think there's another,

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it helps bridge.

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It's a very viable option.

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Yes.

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And I'm not just talking about the division one athlete.

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I'm talking about whether it's division two, whether it's juke-o, for the right reasons,

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to be able to, the first thing on a kid's mind, which, near and dear to my heart is to

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be saying, I aspire to play at the next level.

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And the next level is not professional tennis.

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The next level is entertaining, if I can check a box and play collegially.

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And they're seeing it, and I'm sitting in front of them.

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And I think that's where it really helpful.

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And don't you think that's going to help the idea of cultivating the team more?

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Because now, like you said, when I was growing up with, and I was going to play professional

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tennis, my coach looked at me and said, look, you're 120 pounds, you're graduating high school,

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you could probably, with your ability, your effort, we could play D1.

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You're going to sit out a year.

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We got to put about 40 pounds on you.

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I didn't want to sit out a year.

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I knew I was still going to be five-nine at the end of the day, and I wasn't going to play

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professional.

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So growing up in New York, we didn't have the collegiate sport powerhouses that it is down

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here.

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So it just wasn't part of my thinking.

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It wasn't, so I think that's great the way it's going now, that it's becoming, so that should

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lend itself more to these kids getting exposed to a team environment, hopefully earlier,

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and maybe getting rid of some of that mommy and daddy influence.

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I mean, I've never passed judgment, but you look at people who made a foregone, the college

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route to play professionally, the Corrigal Office of the Koch Office of whatnot.

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I've never downplayed this, it's very successful in what she's doing.

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Well, you don't know if she was to go in college, how that might have impacted her professional

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career.

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I don't know if it's a financial decision for a lot of people.

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I don't know if it's more the fact that they just want to be, they want to forego college

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for whatever the reason.

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But I think it teaches just so much more that you'll be equipped to deal with the adversity

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when you're playing professionally.

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I look at people like when I watch, and I say this to my students all the time, I look

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at people that are constantly out there and don't look happy.

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Yes.

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And it's a couple of professional tennis players who stand out when I watch them play.

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They're constantly looking at their coach's box for assistance, hands on the head and whatnot.

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Versus kids, the kids, people that have gone through the college, I've been here before.

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I've done this rather than looking at mom, dad, or so forth on a regular basis for guidance

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on why are they failing today?

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You don't see it as much in the college ranks.

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I don't know.

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I think college is a great bridge, right out of the program.

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There's a bigger jump from high school tennis to college tennis, and there is from college

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tennis to pros.

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Sure.

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Sure.

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And I think that college tennis won to your point earlier.

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It gets people out on their own.

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They're making decisions.

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They're turning into adults.

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They're living and getting acclimated by themselves.

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And that's what they need to do when they're on the tour.

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So why not be at a place where somebody in many cases are paying you a lot of money to

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chase a yellow ball, get an education?

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You're not pushing all your chips into the table, like you would be if you just go straight

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from juniors to pros.

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And you're making lifelong friends and you're going to be in an environment that you wouldn't

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get on the pro tour.

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So I think you're finding more of those players are enjoying it and they're seeing they're

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getting a complete experience in a team sport, which is going to help them later.

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And to our point, we did something with Tim Siegel, former coach of his son, if you're familiar

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with the story.

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And to do the event, the amazing part to me was his teammates from Arkansas 40 years ago

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still come.

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What do you need us to him?

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And they all show up and they still are that bond is still there.

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And you talk, you know, there's no atheists in Foxhole type mentality.

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All the great parts about the team environment you make friends with a commonality that you've

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been never met before.

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And not to laugh about it because it wasn't well-department.

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You know, thought about, you know, you hear all these kids now with the mental health issues.

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Couldn't getting growing up, putting it back a little while, getting in that environment

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where you feel like you have a support system because let's face it, what is Novak have,

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even though Novak came out, he's got a team.

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He's got eight guys that travel with him.

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Number 200 in the world does not have eight people traveling with them, right?

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They don't have that luxury of having a team.

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There's very few people at the, even at the elite level that have that team in their box

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with them, you know, most of them.

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If you look at who, you know, and how few people make money in tennis, it's a different thing.

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So how can we do expose this more and make this more of the route that should be taken or

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looked at seriously because it's going to have my friend and we probably on Andre Janisak,

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you know, Andre played top level North Carolina.

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He said, Bobby, tennis, as you said, tennis prepared me for life.

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I got to hear no a lot.

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It prepared me for sales.

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I lost a lot of matches.

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I lost a lot of points.

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Well, a lot of people tell me no in the business world too.

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It comes full circle.

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I like that.

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Back to tennis is a microcosm of life, right?

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Yes it is.

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I've got one more thing I want to ask before I ask you guys a king of tennis question.

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I'll give you each of that because we're running down here.

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UTA 360.

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Who wants to give me, you got a short version?

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You got a 30 second version or a three minute version.

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You guys got a cool thing that you're helping kids get, it's part of the helping kids get into

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college thing, right?

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For kids in our program, basically, we're just, we're looking at tennis and it's now become

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more than just hitting balls, right?

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So what we try to do is partner with a various, whether it's an orthopedic sports psychologist,

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nutritionist, workout person, stretching person.

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So we just try to connect with experts in the field in the Atlanta area that are able

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to spend some time doing seminars with our kids and really helping them become fully equipped

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to be the best player.

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And as we talked about, it's physical, mental, psychological, how do you handle injuries

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and things like that.

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So it's just one way that we just try to do something to be as we first started with.

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We're trying to create things that we wish we had when we were growing up and if we can

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make the tennis world better than when we started, then we're doing something right.

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Not trying to tackle it right, not trying to tackle it all by ourselves.

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Yeah.

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But go ahead and use in other people's resources, experts in the field to try and create what

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would be a comprehensive athlete, comprehensive means it's more than just, like what David said,

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more than hitting forehands back into the big serves.

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There's nutrition, there's other aspects of it.

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So not being afraid to say we need help, like Bobby mentioned earlier, and going out and

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finding some experts in the Atlanta area because they're here, the people that near and

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dear to their heart, this is their specialty.

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And not being afraid to say, hey, can you assist us with this because this is not our specialty.

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And that's the team aspect.

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Not trying to tackle the law by ourselves, but go ahead and reach out to other people that

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might be able to help or group, get better and become more comprehensive.

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Yeah.

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That's fantastic.

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So to finish up, I've got a King of Tennis question.

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It's one of my favorite things is I'll let you guys decide.

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It doesn't have to be college recruiting specifically, but sometimes in this case, I would say, all right,

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college recruiting, is there anything if you were King of tennis, is there anything you

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would change?

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But I'll allow you to zoom out if you want to about anything in tennis.

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But if you do want to stick with college recruiting specifically, I'm good with that as

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well.

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But I'll ask you each individually, I'll start with you Stuart.

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And I'll say if you were King of tennis, whether it's college recruiting specifically or that

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pathway or anything in the tennis world, whether it's Atlanta related, is if you were King

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of tennis, you could just make a decision, snap your fingers, whatever it is.

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Is there anything you would do or change?

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I would love to be in whether it's USDA or UTR offices one day with the higher ups,

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and basically figure out a way to make team, whether it's doubles or whether team events become

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extremely prevalent for the health and sanity of those that are only playing individual

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tournaments, singles only, and highlight it.

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The only way to do it is possibly to get more points for team events, higher level or

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even doubles events, which I know is a tough sell in an individual sport, but to actually

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glorify and bring it back the importance of doubles.

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Doubles and were team events rather than just every weekend, multiple tournaments that

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are basically singles driven.

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For a while, I have not found one kid that is used to playing individual singles event

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ever said to me, I prefer or really like doubles and I love team events.

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And it's I think it's because of the breath of fresh air.

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So it came for tennis, I would highlight or glorify more of those events, even if it was

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on the professional tour, which I know it's not going to sell, whether it's US Open or

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whatever, find it amazing that they only show the finals of doubles, right?

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But or whatever it is, whether it's mixed doubles or just that whole concept of bringing

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that back, bringing that whole concept of glorifying it, whether it's the Davis Cup, whether

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it's the labor cup, get more involved in those type of team events because I think you'll

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find that the individuals that are participating find them very relieving as opposed to the

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constantly battling it each week on having to judge their own results rather than their

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team results.

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Good for mental health.

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Yes.

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Good for the future of tennis getting into league tennis, talking Atlanta specifically so

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we need a format and we need an incentivization system.

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All right, call me next week.

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I need an answer format incentivization.

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My King of tennis response is going to be a little bit more geared towards tournaments.

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I think we should have some tournaments during the course of the year where when the kids

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sign in, the parents also get to randomly select another player in the draw and they have

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to go watch that player play as opposed they're watching their own child play.

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And I think by the end of it, then parents are going to be less stressed because they're

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going to get to watch somebody else play and hopefully enjoy this board of tennis.

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Their child is going to be able to tell the parent at the end of the day how their match

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went and then they can be happy for the rest of the day.

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So how are you going to incentivize me as the parent to not watch my own child rather

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than just drawing a rule?

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Well, I think there's a lot of parents out there that would like to have less stress in

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their life.

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So hopefully you'd want to do it.

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Stress free, tennis free tennis.

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Stress free tennis.

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That's exactly right.

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I'll think of it in other direction which I think this is a great idea.

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It also allows the parents to have more interaction.

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I mean, I was telling stories.

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I played tennis from the time I was 13 and this is what I do for a living.

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I'm 58.

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My mother has seen me play tennis one time in my life.

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She never missed a baseball game.

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In a baseball game, there was a crowd in a tennis match you're isolated.

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In New York, you were behind glass.

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So you were looking down.

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So the ability to feel like there's a purpose for you to go there and then oh, by the way,

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look at another child's demeanor and sit there and say, I don't want my child back like

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that.

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Or I do want my child to look like that.

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I think that's one of the best things I've ever heard.

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I love the absolute.

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And it goes back to what Stuart was saying and I think it compasses everything, the ability

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for people to step out of their comfort zone.

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So important as we talked about.

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Listen, you're not going to be better until you're comfortable stepping out of your comfort

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zone.

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So love it.

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Very interesting.

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Same thing with my mother.

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Her.

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I'm a mother actually knew everyone on my son's baseball team stats.

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She knew him by name.

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She knew how to cheer for him.

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She knew what their stats were.

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And not just her grandchild.

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So that idea is more of that, but again, that's the team aspect.

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She wasn't better than what I was going to come up with, which is more of that searching

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for Bobby Fisher thing.

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We got to stick all the parents in the basement because they're not allowed to be in the room

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because the parents are awful.

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And we don't want you around.

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We'll just have you watch on the screen.

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Maybe we need more of where the Atlanta tennis open has their air condition sweet and all

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the parents have to go up there and you have to sit next to the parent that your kid is

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playing against and you guys have to cheer and figure that out.

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Well, it would teach the parents to make the whole environment.

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I mean, I literally heard a story about it.

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I think we were talking about yesterday where the child wouldn't play another turn because

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the opponents' parents were yelling at them and the kid walked off the court crying.

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No, this is that would never happen any place else.

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You'd get tossed.

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Why does it happen here?

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That's a cultural thing that, like you said, I think that's a great way to teach another

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segment.

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We just have to jump into the next one.

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Exactly.

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David Stoley.

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Stuart Russell.

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Bobby Schindler's always.

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Thank you so much.

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I really appreciate your time.

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Yeah, thanks.

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Thanks for having us.

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We'll do it again.

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Thanks, guys.

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Well, there you have it.

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We want to thank Rejovenate.com for use of the studio and be sure to hit that follow button.

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For more tennis-related content, you can go to AtlantaTennisPodcast.com.

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And while you're there, check out our calendar of tennis events, the best deals on TechnoFiber

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And with that, we're out.

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See you next time.

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