Airplanes and Summer Camps- A reply from a coach to the parents

A prospective parent applying for the HAT program recently asked a great question that I want to share with you all. She asked, “What makes the High Altitude summer camp different from the [shoe brand] summer camps that I have researched which are located here and throughout the U.S.?” I love questions like that, and my response was shaped in the form of a story of sorts.

Ryan Segelke - Founder, High Altitude Tennis LLC, The HAT FUND, Inc.
Ryan Segelke – Founder, High Altitude Tennis LLC.

What was my response? I described the scenario which we have all experienced when you get onto an airplane: you get comfy in your seat and begin a surface level encounter with a very nice person sitting next to you. You don’t feel as if you have a choice since you will be spending the next three hours next to this person and you don’t want to seem rude or anti-social. So, you make the most of it. And, besides, you might learn something new!

You open up the conversation by asking if they are returning home or heading off for vacation and the conversation continues from there. By the end of the three hour flight, you have learned some very basic, surface-level information about the person next to you. And, who knows, maybe you exchange cards so you can grab coffee sometime in the future (in my experience, even in the best of connections, the likelihood of actually grabbing coffee is near zilch). Ninety-nine percent of the time, this encounter does not get beyond the initial conversation. There is just typically not enough time or genuine interest to delve into deeper issues that may be going on in each of your lives.

This is what makes High Altitude Tennis Academy unique. We take great pride in delving deeper to understand what makes each individual student tick. The vast majority of general summer academy offerings sponsored by local colleges and big name-brand shoes are not meant to go beyond this surface-level encounter. And if you look close enough and ask the right questions, you will find just that. This is not a bad thing by the way! With roughly 25% of the families that I talk to, the student is not yet ready for intensive training and is 100% suited to attend a basic camp. And I always recommend and refer them appropriately if this is the case. The feedback I recieve weekly is that there are a large pool of players who have enjoyed and had fun with this type of program but have realized that they have now outgrown this experience and are craving more. A portion of that group is just at a loss and not clearly able to articulate the breakdown they are having. They sense that this fun but non-intensive camp experience won’t get their child to their ultimate goals, yet they aren’t sure what else is out there…That’s where we come in!

If the young scholar-athlete is “driving the bus” and asking for more intensive training and curriculum that includes competition with players from around the world and mom and dad are supportive of not only their child’s aspirations but our champion methodology, that’s a family we are looking for!

At the end of the conversation, I emphasized strongly to the prospective parent to have a fun but serious talk about what their young  athlete is ready for and, based on that conversation, invest their money appropriately. So, that’s the question I leave you all with today: are you looking for a surface level encounter? Or are you looking for something deeper and more meaningful? I would speculate that this is a question that can be thought provoking concerning all parts of your life in today’s fast-paced, over-stimulated, instant-gratification world. But we will leave that for a different article!

Do you have a specific question you would like to see answered by me in a future article? E-mail me directly at ryan@highaltitudetennis.com, and thank you from the bottom our hearts for allowing us to be a part of your child’s journey!
By: Ryan Segelke
Grand Slam Level Coach and
Founder of High Altitude Tennis Academy

#HATSummerCamp2017

Pay It Forward – Help Keep Batman Safe This Summer

Meet Matthew “Batman” Batmunkh… he needs your help right now!

Batman Footwork Shadow Swing.jpg
“Tennis Makes Me Happy!”- Batman

The harsh reality is that without your help batman becomes severely at risk to face the high rates of obesity, poor mental health and is more likely to become one of the 49% of students who have tried drugs or 61% of students who have tried alcohol*.

Batman’s Story (so far):

The Batmunkh family migrated to the U.S. in 1999 due to the uncertain political climate in Mongolia and to provide a better future for their children.

Batman picked up his first racket at age 7 and his father who was a circus performer in Mongolia recognized over time that this was his passion.

Unfortunately, sports is expensive and the barrier to entry is an un-attainable financial task for Mr. and Mr’s B. They need your help!

The harsh reality is that without your help batman becomes severely at risk to face the high rates of obesity, poor mental health and is more likely to become one of the 49% of students who have tried drugs or 61% of students who have tried alcohol*.

Batman is asking for help to stay active this summer by participating in 9 weeks of full day summer tennis camp ($462 / week).

To read more about Batman story , click here http://ow.ly/7DWP30aFIrb

Click here to support https://www.razoo.com/story/Help-Batman

#HATFundstories

For Media Enquiries:

Raghav Kohli

raghav.kohli18@gmail.com

6 Tips to Achieve Your Tennis and Fitness Goals in 2016

6 Tips to Achieve Your Tennis and Fitness Goals in 2016

 

1.) Set Goals

Goal setting is a very important aspect of not only a great tennis-training program, but also a successful life. Numerous studies throughout the years have proven that, setting goals, writing them down and getting feedback on the progress throughout, increase the success rate of improvement and attainment of goals compared to people that do not set goals.

Many of my former athletes would sit down with me and go through their goals for the next year. Many wanted to Qualify for the Olympic Trials, gain a college scholarship, become an All-American or win a State Title. Regardless of their goal, the athletes that wrote out a specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time based goal, were much more likely to achieve their goals during the year versus their counterparts, that did not set goals.

2.) Plan

“Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Without a plan, to go from where you currently are to where you want to be, is near impossible.

Once a goal has been clearly articulated, work backwards and list out the steps necessary to achieve your goal. I do this on a daily basis when reviewing the HAT student’s goals and comparing to where they are that day. All of the students’ workouts are planned, with the end in mind and focused on long-term development.   If you would like me to develop a personalized plan for you (planned out to your specific needs, goals and abilities), email me at Michael@highaltitudetennis.com.

 

3.) Hire A Specialist

I have written about this recommendation before (click here to re-read my article), and I am still sticking with this recommendation. Many of my athletes had initially worked with generalists, when they were at the beginning of their athletic careers and then when they really wanted to make vast improvements and achieve their goals, they began working with me – to the tune of $750,000+ in athletic scholarships.

4.) Clean Up Your Nutrition

In all honesty, nutrition is probably 60% or more, of achieving your fitness related goals. It has been said that “you cannot out train a bad diet” and I whole-heartedly agree. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen one of the athletes I have been training, wake up one day and decide to fully commit to cleaning up their nutrition. Once they do, their body changes rapidly, confidence increases rapidly and results go through the roof. If you are looking to see a big difference in your fitness, in a relatively short time, commit to eating lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.

My friend (who happens to be the lead nutritionist for the Carolina Panthers) completely committed to her nutrition over the summer between her sophomore and junior year, during our time at the University of South Carolina.   In the two years that followed, she went from an above average competitor, to a school record holder, SEC Champion, 4-time All American and had an outside shot at making the Olympic Team – meaning she was top 25 in the world. She was a totally different athlete simply because of her nutrition.

 

5.) Be Disciplined (Stay Consistent)

If you are working with a specialist and everything is planned out with the end in mind, what could possibly hold you back from your goals? Lack of discipline is the enemy. Look at 90% of the people who have a New Year’s resolutions goal of losing weight. They have their plan and they know what they need to do with their nutrition, but after a couple weeks, they fall off the wagon due to a lack of discipline to commit and stay consistent when things get difficult.

I had a swimmer I trained for a few years that was the picture of consistency. She lived in Belleville, Illinois and we practiced 45 miles away in a county of St. Louis. She drove those 45 miles and made it on time for our 5 am practice. Every. Day. The only day she missed a morning practice was the day after her mother passed away from cancer. She was obviously very disciplined and through her consistency, she recently finished her swimming career at the University of Minnesota as a 3x Big Ten Team Champion.

 

6.) Focus On The Process

Overall, focus on the process and enjoy the small victories you accomplish on your journey to achieving your goals. It take many years to develop a great athlete, so make sure to not fall into the trap of looking for a quick fix. Always look for progress towards your goal, work your butt off and trust the specialists you work with.

There will be many ups and downs each day, but if you remain disciplined, consistent with your plan, work with a specialist and always keep your goals in front of you, 2016 can be a very successful year!

Source: High Altitude Tennis Academy, Parker, Colorado.

Thank You!

I just wanted to thank you again for everything you did, I’m beyond thankful. The experience of flying on a plane was amazing and then followed up with a week of tennis was perfect in every way possible. You gave me memories that I will cherish forever and I can not express how much gratitude I feel towards you and your organization. I just want to add a brief summary of the camp. I was very nervous at first because it was the furthest I had ever been from home but after a few days I was filled with motivation. Steve was an amazing coach, by the end of the camp he was more than just a coach but a mentor. He was great at making someone want to work hard and everything he said from quotes to stories made the camp very interesting. Leaving the camp was sad but I truly enjoyed meeting the people there and being given the tools to improve my game is great. I know with motivation and hard work I can become the best version of myself. All this was thanks to you, I am so thankful for everything. I can’t stress enough how amazing this experience was. Thank you so much for everything, I will continue to work hard and make sure that I use everything I learned for the best. If there is any way I can help your organization big or small I will do the best I can.

Healthy Recipe ‘Soba Noodles with Ginger Broccoli’

Healthy Recipe of the Month

These Soba Noodles with Ginger Broccoli are the perfect way to jump start your health. They’re fun and easy – not to mention this entire dish took me less than 20 minutes to make (ideal for a Meatless Monday or any other day of the week for that matter).

Coconut Soba Noodles with Ginger Broccoli ( serves 4 )
Prep Time: 6 mins,
Cook Time: 6 mins,
Ingredients:
1 (9.5 ounces) package soba noodles
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Preparation
1. Cook the soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the broccoli florets, salt and coconut milk, bring to a boil, reduce to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the noodles to the coconut milk mixture and toss to thoroughly coat.
5. Sprinkle with the lime juice and cilantro and serve.
optional ingredients: cooked shrimp or chicken

Make Your Recruiting Video Work for You!

When it comes to the college tennis recruiting process, and getting recruited to the college of your dreams, it is critical to make your recruiting video work for you.  Think about it, many times your video is the only time college coaches get to see you play.  Sadly, college recruiting budgets and staff are limited in many tennis programs, so seeing every prospective student-athlete play in person is not possible.  This makes it all the more critical that you make a recruiting video that is helpful to college coaches and markets you in a favorable way so you will get recruited.

jeff_the_recruiterIn fact, to give yourself the best chance to get recruited by the most schools, it is important to stand out from other recruits in the recruiting process.  This will give you the advantage of having multiple options, and even leverage in the negotiating process.  College Prospects of America excels in marketing our student athletes in a way that college coaches know and trust, and we are great at helping our student-athletes find the best college for them, at the best price!

College Prospects of America helps with every step of the process, including making a professional and effective recruiting video.  Some helpful pointers in making your recruiting video include:

  1. For all, or at least the majority of the footage, choose an angle that shows where the shots land.  For this you will likely need a video camera with a wide angle lens attachment, and you can take the video from behind the court.  College coaches don’t need a close up shot of the stroke in order to analyze technique, but coaches do need to see where the balls are landing to know how effective the strokes are.
  2. Don’t include a lot of warm up footage.  Most coaches don’t have a lot of time to watch videos, and watching warm up is not incredibly helpful in scouting a recruit.
  3. Make sure music is appropriate.
  4. It’s good to include a couple minutes on each stroke, but probably not more than that
  5. The most important thing is to show several minutes of live ball hitting, and or point play
  6. Make sure you are hitting with a strong opponent who is trying

The most common mistakes, and the worst mistakes to make, are ignoring the last 2 pointers on this list.  College coaches want to see how your strokes hold up in live ball hitting situations, when there is pressure on you.  Many people will make a video where they are primarily hitting off easy feeds, or against a weak opponent, or even against a strong opponent who is not trying hard.  College coaches notice these things and it ends up making your video work against you.  College coaches want to see how you perform in tough situations, under pressure, and on the move.  They want to see how you compete, hustle, and how smart and tough you are.  Most anyone can hit great strokes off easy feeds, and winners against an opponent who is not moving.  Showing those things will not get recruited!  Showcase your talent by playing a tough opponent, playing hard, hustling, and playing smart! 


College Prospects of America can help with making a video and with every step of the recruiting process.
  We can help you stand out from other recruits, and we can get you recruited to the school of your dreams!   CPOA has been trusted by college coaches for almost 30 years! If you would like to find out if you are on track in the recruiting process, or have any questions on how we can help, please contact me, Jeff Borengasser, jborengasser@mycpoa.com, (303)910-2329, and you can visit our website, www.cpoaworld.com

The Most Important Shot in Tennis

On The Court with Coach Mazza

In my experience, it is not uncommon for a typical one hour general “club” tennis lesson to consist of 50 minutes of feeding and rallying from the baseline, then hitting 10 minutes of serves to finish while the “pro” nonchalantly stands next to the basket and shoots the breeze with their student.  If I had a nickel for every time I witnessed a pair or group of players go out and only rally from the baseline for the entirety of their practice, I could buy my own private island and retire today.

I am not denying that rallying from the baseline is an important skill for tennis players to possess – it absolutely is. A junior player, particularly in the beginning stages of their tennis career, must develop shot tolerance, consistency, patience, discipline, and a passion for “Tennis 101” – keep the ball in the court! However, I think there is commonly too much emphasis placed on just that skill alone, and other much more important shots and skills often get overlooked.

I recently came across an article from Craig O’ Shannessy which really hit the nail on the head and unveiled some key match statistics from the 2015 Australian Open Men’s and Women’s Main Singles Draws. I think many people will find several of the findings quite surprising. You can find the link to the entire articlehere:

RALLY LENGTH NICKNAME MEN WOMEN
0-4 Shots First Strike 70% 66%
5-8 Shots Patterns of Play 20% 23%
9+ Shots Extended Rallies 10% 11%

*Chart taken from Craig O’ Shannessy’s article entitled “The First Four Shots” from ausopen.org (Published on Jan. 15, 2016)

The best players in the world are the best for numerous reasons, one of which being that most of them can keep the ball in play all day, especially on the practice court. So why are these percentages of 0-4 shot points so high? One of the main reasons is their serve game is that good! They keep their first serve percentage up, win a large amount of their first serve points (often by ace, service winner, or forcing a weak return), and keep their double faults (and free points in general) to a minimum. John Isner led the ATP Tour in 2015 with a 91% serve hold rate, and there is a long list of players who aren’t very far behind that number.

I was curious myself as to how closely these statistical trends applied to the junior level. I proceeded to go and chart an evening’s worth of points played by some Colorado state level juniors. My initial thought was that it would probably be about the same, although for slightly different reasons than the grand slam level pros. Boy, was I wrong – the percentage of points that lasted between 0-4 shots was even higher (85%)! However, my thinking was accurate as to why I thought most of the junior points would last so briefly. Their serve game wasn’t a strength, but rather a liability. Low first serve percentages, high occurrences of double faults and careless errors on the first shots after the serve were pretty much the norm. Return games weren’t that much better – missed returns and careless first shot errors after the return were abundant as well.

A player who has serve troubles is like having a car without tires – they won’t get to where they want to go. At HAT, we realize how important these first initial shots of each point are and that is why we dedicate at least 45 minutes solely to the serve and return aspects of both singles and doubles to every 3-hour practice.

Drill Ideas:

  • 85% Singles Drill (Borrowed from Daniel Hangstefer, Metro State University Denver Men’s and Women’s Head Coach):
    • Player 1 serves and must make their second ball. Player 2 returns and must make their second ball. 4 shots total must be made – serve, return, 3rd ball, 4th ball. Stop the point after the 4th ball is made. Player 1 does 5 sets serving on both the deuce and ad side, then switch roles with Player 2. The goal for each player is to make 85% of their first two shots (17/20 total).
  • 85% Doubles Drill:
    • To become a good doubles player, one must be able to make their serve and 1st shot and their return and 1st shot, and execute them well and consistently.
    • A total of 4 shots must be made – serve, return, next 2 volleys. Stop the point after the returner’s 1st volley is made. Each player does 5 sets serving on both the deuce and ad side, and 5 sets returns on both the deuce and ad side. The goal for each player is to make 85% of their first two shots (17/20 total).

But What Does It Really MEAN?

I was talking with Mary (a HAT member) recently, and she was describing a great resort her family used to frequent in Canada. When she first found this gem of a vacation spot, it was 100 percent a small business and a darn good one at that. The resort was led by a professional, charismatic, and detail-oriented owner that believed every single interaction with a guest was a chance to develop a lifelong friendship and customer (in that order). The fish stinks from the head and, in this case, it stunk in a really good way! Each staff member believed this to be their own core statement and motto as well and gave Mary and her family a very personal experience. Mary said that she really liked knowing that the money they were spending was going to the very friendly staff members that they interacted with.

And then just like the dark side from Star Wars coming onto the scene (music playing – duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh!) a large corporate company came in and made the small business owner an offer he couldn’t refuse. Mary described the changes that happened: the personal touches that initially made the small business so appealing and charming were demolished by higher prices, fees on every service imaginable, and the atmosphere changed to have the cold, stark feel of a cookie-cutter establishment. Needless to say, Mary has not returned to this resort.

I clearly remembered this conversation after reading an excerpt from the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. The book describes the main character on a motorcycle trip with his friends and his realization that technology and all the noise that it brings with it has made our lives so hectic that we have lost sight of what things actually MEAN. The items we purchase, the restaurants we go to, the plates we eat off of, the furniture we sit on, the clothes we wear – we tend to take these things at face value or as they ARE with very little thought about what they really MEAN or about who our money goes to. What do these companies stand for? Do their values align with our own individual values? You only really see these questions arise in the media when a company does something drastically obvious which offends a specific demographic (like Chick-Fil-A’s COO Dan Cathy and his public comments opposing Gay Marriage or Chipotle’s recent move to become the only chain to only use non-GMO ingredients).

So where are you spending your money? Do those establishments have similar core values to those you have? Do you know what they are?

These are very important questions because how we really vote in this country is with our money! Do you want to support big business and shareholders that you will never actually meet? Or would you rather support the local shop owner who provides the experience described at the beginning of this article – someplace where you can actually see your money being put into action? I don’t have an epiphany or statement that will shock you to your core, but I think that the actual big lesson is in the question itself and beginning to be present to the fact that where you spend your time and money is a direct reflection of who you are, what you support, and what you stand for.

So I leave you with this: I propose that the next time you are choosing where to go eat as a family, buy groceries, or purchase new clothes that you designate a family member to look up the that establishment and do a quick, five-minute Google search on what that company stands for. You might be surprised what you find (good and bad) and have a much better idea of what it really MEANS to eat and support that business.

Let me know how it goes!

By: Ryan Segelke
Grand Slam Level Coach, CEO and
CO-Founder of High Altitude Tennis Academy

ryan@highaltitudetennis.com

What HAT has achieved over the period of 5 years!

231 Tournament Championships, 20 L5 District Cup Championships, 4 Sectional Championships, 3 Sectional Sportsmanship Awards

1 National Championship, Most Tournament Championships:

Women: Meghna Chowdhury 17

Men: Ryan Neale 17

Players that have worked with the HAT staff have hailed from these countries and states:

China, Denmark, Australia, Costa Rica, Italy, Uganda, Peru

States:

Missouri, Florida, Illinois, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado (of course)

Average GPA’s:

2013/2014: 3.89 ; 2014/2015: 3.93

Average Increase in Win Percentage: 22.29%

Highest Win/Loss Percentage In a Calendar Year (minimum 50 matches):

Eric Kwiatkowski: 67.74% (63-30) 2013; Samantha Moore-Thomson: 70.58% (36-15) 2014

Highest Career Win/Loss Percentage (minimum 100 matches):

Eric Kwiatkowski: 62.18% (171-104); Anshika Singh: 67.67% (90-43)

Students that have played at least 100 matches with HAT:

Carter Logan, Anshika Singh, Emily Untermeyer, Natalie Hagan, Maleeha Chowdhury, Caleb Aguirre, Vinay Merchant, Ryan Lahr, Andrew Seehausen, George Henry Hanzel

Students that have played 200+ matches with HAT:

Ryan Neale, Samantha Moore-Thomson, Meghna Chowdhury, Eric Kwiatkowski, Trace Collins, Ben Blea

Hat Fund Global Initiative: HABARI UGANDA

A group from the HAT FUND (HF) just returned from visiting Uganda and we can safely say that the trip was an eye-opener. We were amazed by the warmth in which we were welcomed in spite of the disparity in the life we lead in U.S. to the life that Africans lead.

Cover Shot-Without DateThe aspirations of the youth in Africa are no different from youth anywhere else in the world. Very simply, they seek to better their lives. According to a McKinsey Report “Finding opportunities for young people is a critical challenge for Africa, where 62 percent of the population — more than 600 million young people — is below the age of 25. With no signs that population growth will slow in the decades to come, it is imperative that Africa leverage the talent and energy of its youth to create dramatically higher levels of prosperity and equality and avoid the latent risks of unemployment and social instability.” (Source: http://voices.mckinseyonsociety.com/empowering-youth-in-africa/)

Indeed the HF community is extremely motivated by the above and that’s because at HF, our credo has always been that when you open up a child’s world to knowledge, skill, and aspiration, you open up a world of opportunity for the child and that makes a better world for all of us.

There are many challenges in Africa and each of them needs to be tackled simultaneously in several ways by several. One proven way to tackle those challenges and promote development is through sports; the intensity with which any society engages itself in sport can be a measure of the society’s overall health and development. Even the United Nations has recognized that sports can be a tool of development. There is, in fact, a Special Adviser on Sport for Development in the Office of the UN’s Secretary-General.

So, what’s our action plan? It is commonly said that there are several ways to peel an orange, so we will do what we do best – we will use the sport of tennis as the medium to provide African youth with the window of opportunity to break-out from the cycles of generational poverty. However, because we only have a limited management bandwidth and financial means, we will begin in Uganda.

Our plan for Uganda is to engage ourselves at several levels. At one level, we will provide training to a greater number of deserving Ugandan children and at another level we will educate Ugandan tennis coaches so that they in turn may be better trained to coach their wards. For our proposed engagement in Africa, our inspiration and confidence is drawn largely from our hands-on experience in the life of a Ugandan youth, John Lutaaya, whom we have written about in one of our earlier Blogs (“Serve and Return”, January 2016)

This proposed initiative would see us engaged in Uganda in the following ways:

  •  Conduct coaching workshops and, youth clinics and certification courses for Ugandan tennis coaches
  •  Continue our on-site consulting and advisory services to add value to existing Youth Tennis Programs. Tena Academy, Kampala is our initial program partner
  • Popularize the sport of tennis and broadcast the benefits of playing the game in communities identified as needing a sport activity
  • Provide support, upgrades and sustenance to tennis programs already existing in the communities and add further playing capacity where possible. Support will include donating essential playing gear, consumables, transportation, school fee subsidies and advice on maintaining the gear and the courts

In our assessment, the training of coaches will be fundamental and of extremely strategic importance to the success of our mission. Our effort will be to identify coaches through tennis associations and federations, even if they possess only a semblance of knowledge of coaching tennis. We will share our knowledge (in tennis coaching) in order to bridge the deficiencies in their existing coaching methods. Just to give an example, it could be something as simple as teaching those coaches to use smaller courts and slower tennis balls with beginners. Our support will include help in preparing the right kind of courts, using the right kind of racquets, balls and coaching aids, athletic training, body conditioning and prevention of injuries commonly associated with playing tennis.

Parallel to building up coaching capacity, we will be equally focused on discovering Ugandan talent seeking to learn tennis. Each student will not only be taught how to correctly play tennis but more importantly they will be mentored on developing skills and imbibed with knowledge (for example: interpersonal and relationship management skills and responsible citizenship) that will bring them success even off the tennis-court.

As you can well imagine, creating this reservoir of human capital will need funds. Let us not kid ourselves into believing that Ugandans can afford to pay for all this learning. The World Bank estimates that 72% of the African youth population lives on less than $2 a day to help their families, 30% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced to work (Source: http://voices.mckinseyonsociety.com/empowering-youth-in-africa/). Therefore unless there is a promise of decent living and meals-on-the-table, it would be foolishly ambitious of us to expect Ugandan youth to join our programs.

The children are living in such dire circumstances that it is not enough to simply convince them, and their parents, of the big picture of tomorrow but they require convincing that even their needs of today are provided for. It is therefore our mission at HAT FUND that every deserving child should be enabled to choose our program over the drudgery of working for a subsistence wage. We can only do this by ensuring that when a child chooses our tennis program over choosing to go elsewhere to work, that child’s living requirements are taken care of.

We have judged that by far the greatest value will be added to Ugandan communities if we focused our initiative in Ugandan soil itself rather than by embedding Ugandan youth in U.S. facilities. At the apex, the HAT FUND will partner with High Altitude Tennis, LLC in executing the various parts of this initiative. At the grassroots level, Hat Fund will partner with Ugandan coaching institutions (like Tena Academy and others) to bring the greatest good for tennis enthusiasts and novices alike. The ultimate aim is that the sport may provide joy, financial independence and recognition to the Ugandans.

To support this initiative, HF is already adequately prepared with motivated and trained tennis coaches to conduct train-the-trainer workshops and clinics. However to fund our initiative to build the coaching capacity (infrastructure and teaching resources) in Uganda as well as support the children’s basic needs (meals, transportation, and school fee subsidies) we will need the support of benefactors, sponsors and contributors. Therefore, over the next several months, we will be organizing fundraisers and working to develop partnerships to garner funds for our engagement in Uganda.

Contributed by A. Adeni with L. Segelke

* * * * *

To learn more about how you can help or to make a donation please contact us at

W: www.thehatfund.org

E: HFsponsor@thehatfund.org

P: (303) 968-7729


Twitter: @thehatfund

Facebook: The HAT FUND, Inc.

Top 5 Nutrition Tips That Get Great Results

Fitness with Farrington

By: Michael Farrington
GM of High Altitude Tennis Academy
Grand Slam Level Director of Fitness and Injury Prevention

Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Great Results (Short Term and Long Term)

Earlier this month, I was asked to speak on a Parenting Aces’ Radio Show about the importance of nutrition for Junior tennis players and some recommendations on how they can improve the most. This was a great opportunity to reach out to a lot of junior tennis parents around the world and I was honored to be able to offer my help to one of the most understood areas of today’s tennis game. Below are my top recommendations for understanding your nutrition and taking accountability for your habits.

You can find interview in its entirety here:


Educate Yourself and Plan Ahead:

There is a lot of grey area out there in the nutrition world because there is never one exact amount of calories, vitamins or minerals you should ingest on a day-to-day basis. At HAT, we recommend the students have 19-35% of their daily calories come from protein, 30-45% from carbohydrates and the rest from fat sources.

Additionally, it is important to educate yourself on supplements. Far too often, trainers recommend supplements with no regard for what is actually in them. The FDA does not regulate supplements, so the manufacturer can put whatever they want into the supplements, and sometimes they put in steroids or other anabolic agents to produce results. The reason why these supplements are sometimes recommended is because the trainer can be an “affiliate” of that company (or multiple companies) and earn commission on each product sold.

Nutrient / Hydration Timing Before, During and After Matches

For the sake of brevity for this article, specific amounts, recommendations and best practices, please email michael@highaltitudetennis.com if you would like to review my article on Hydration.

Do Not Forget The Importance Of Sodium Intake

For more specific details on the importance of sodium intake, how to avoid cramps and what sodium intake amounts you should ingest, please read through my article on Cramps In Tennis.

Lean Protein, Fruits and Vegetables Should Be The Core of Your Nutrition Program

Remember when your mother always hassled you to eat your vegetables? She was right! If you can help your child make it a priority to eat fruits, vegetables and lean protein with every meal, they will get all of the nutrients, vitamins and marco-nutrients they need on a daily basis. I am not saying to never eat bread, pasta, or rice (I LOVE pasta), but just know that grains contain very few vitamins and minerals compared to fruits and vegetables.

Prioritize Your Nutrition Now To Build The Habits of a Healthy Lifestyle

Most importantly, remember that if you are a parent, your kids are learning everything from you! If you provide poor choices now, your child is building poor habits for their long-term nutrition and health. I have my parents to thank for my (better than most) nutrition. I was never allowed to have sugary cereal, cookies or candy in the house (aside from Halloween), so now I rarely consume any of those items in my adult life. I feel no urge to consume them, nor do I like the taste when I do. Remember, a lifetime of great nutrition and health is much more important than tennis!

SERVE AND RETURN

In an earlier blog, I have spoken about how studying abroad shapes a person’s destiny. In this one I will speak about alumni “giving back” to their institution. I will speak with specific reference to student athletes, because they are a group that is close to my heart and to what we do at the HAT FUND.

Just as there are students who go abroad to pursue higher academic learning, there are student athletes who also go overseas to improve their game; it is critical for them to continue to maintain physical fitness and remain competitive even while pursuing academics away from the comfort-zone of home environs.

When a student has studied or an athlete has trained overseas, the intercultural benefits remain instilled in the person even long after returning to his/her home country. Athletes develop a special affinity too for the institution where they have learnt and improved their game. Therefore, when they have returned to their home country, they would make excellent ambassadors for the institution.

When alumni give back, they do so for several reasons — such as self-esteem (it feels good to be known as a donor), or it could be to make a difference in the lives of others, or simply to recognize the role the training institution has played in their personal growth. Giving back is the truest measure of loyalty to one’s alma mater. Institutions that have provided the highest level of personal development to their students and those that have provided the warmest environment for strong friendships to develop amongst classmates will most naturally and easily attract the highest level of loyalty from their alumni.

Though it may appear that big stars of sports live in the stratosphere surrounded by riches, it can be said that innumerable sports persons who have made it to the big leagues have very humble origins and never forget the early struggles to overcome the hardships and hurdles they have grown up with. The “giving-back” can take several forms. Some athletes make a financial contribution; some encourage other promising athletes to also enroll in the same institution, yet others travel back to the institution regularly to share experience and advice with younger athletes.

I am happy and proud to relate some examples from right here at HAT where we are driven by the zeal that no talent should be wasted.

Eric Kwiatkowski Alumni Eric chose to give back to HAT by returning as a student coach. He trains and inspires other students by relating his personal experiences on how training ethics have benefited him. He does not forget that when he joined HAT, he had no tournament experience and no ranking during his sophomore year of High School yet within 3 short years his national rankings skyrocketed to the top 400 and it earned him a D2 scholarship.

Trace Collins Since graduating from HAT Academy in 2015, Trace has returned several times to help the next generation of tennis students by sharing his life experiences with them. When he joined HAT as an 8th grader he was fighting to overcome health issues that were standing in the way of his becoming the player he aspired to be; with sheer perseverance he successfully fought his way up. He now returns as an inspirational role model.

Zoe Scandallis Zoe gives back to the HAT community by always taking time off from her busy schedule to either write inspirational emails or to engage in phone conversations or to participate in online town halls patiently responding to questions from anxious parents and eager players. Zoe enrolled in HAT’s visitor program in 2009 when she was still in High School but with the dream of playing at the University of Southern California. Her outstanding play earned her a full scholarship to USC and she went on to play #1 singles during her 4 years at college.

John Lutaaya No examples of HF alumni giving back to their alma mater would ever be complete without mentioning the example of John Lutaaya. While his association with tennis started with simply being a ball-boy in a tennis club in Kampala, he eventually rose to be ranked #3 in singles and #1 in doubles for 3 consecutive years (ITF, East Africa U-12). John is now returning to Kampala, Uganda and has accepted our offer to serve as HAT Fund’s Ambassador to Africa. By accepting this role, John has fully acknowledged and recognized the part played in his personal development throughout his life by several of his benefactors but none more so than HAT.

As a son of single parent impoverished family in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, right from his childhood, John was never sure where his next meal or the funds to pay for his education or the money to pay for his tennis would come from. That was the case for John until HAT Fund stepped in to assist with his travel, his visa, his tennis lessons and his living expenses while training and studying in the US. I will quote John’s description of his feelings about his time spent at the HAT Academy — “It is always more than tennis at HAT because I even learn stuff outside tennis and this creates success both off and on the court”.

Some choose to give back in a manner that can be described as an institutional way — they create a network through which they promote financial literacy. This is of immense help to younger athletes who, on their way up, may fritter away their earnings and thus lose their way. Financial literacy is, however, not about managing personal finances and wealth alone but is also about being aware of the benefits of philanthropy.

To continue their engagement, athletes, upon returning home after achieving personal and professional success, may like to establish training centers similar to the one to whom they owe their success. They reconnect with their former institution and seek collaboration to create similar facilities and implement similar training-management and business models. They can stretch the reconnect even further by choosing the same brand name (with appropriate permissions).

As a professional coach, there isn’t a payback that is richer to receive than to have a student athlete return to us filled with eagerness to give back to our Institution.

By HF Contributor

In an earlier blog, I have spoken about how studying abroad shapes a person’s destiny. In this one I will speak about alumni “giving back” to their institution. I will speak with specific reference to student athletes, because they are a group that is close to my heart and to what we do at the HAT FUND.

Just as there are students who go abroad to pursue higher academic learning, there are student athletes who also go overseas to improve their game; it is critical for them to continue to maintain physical fitness and remain competitive even while pursuing academics away from the comfort-zone of home environs.

When a student has studied or an athlete has trained overseas, the intercultural benefits remain instilled in the person even long after returning to his/her home country. Athletes develop a special affinity too for the institution where they have learnt and improved their game. Therefore, when they have returned to their home country, they would make excellent ambassadors for the institution.

When alumni give back, they do so for several reasons — such as self-esteem (it feels good to be known as a donor), or it could be to make a difference in the lives of others, or simply to recognize the role the training institution has played in their personal growth. Giving back is the truest measure of loyalty to one’s alma mater. Institutions that have provided the highest level of personal development to their students and those that have provided the warmest environment for strong friendships to develop amongst classmates will most naturally and easily attract the highest level of loyalty from their alumni.

Though it may appear that big stars of sports live in the stratosphere surrounded by riches, it can be said that innumerable sports persons who have made it to the big leagues have very humble origins and never forget the early struggles to overcome the hardships and hurdles they have grown up with. The “giving-back” can take several forms. Some athletes make a financial contribution; some encourage other promising athletes to also enroll in the same institution, yet others travel back to the institution regularly to share experience and advice with younger athletes.

I am happy and proud to relate some examples from right here at HAT where we are driven by the zeal that no talent should be wasted.

Eric Kwiatkowski Alumni Eric chose to give back to HAT by returning as a student coach. He trains and inspires other students by relating his personal experiences on how training ethics have benefited him. He does not forget that when he joined HAT, he had no tournament experience and no ranking during his sophomore year of High School yet within 3 short years his national rankings skyrocketed to the top 400 and it earned him a D2 scholarship.

Trace Collins Since graduating from HAT Academy in 2015, Trace has returned several times to help the next generation of tennis students by sharing his life experiences with them. When he joined HAT as an 8th grader he was fighting to overcome health issues that were standing in the way of his becoming the player he aspired to be; with sheer perseverance he successfully fought his way up. He now returns as an inspirational role model.

Zoe Scandallis Zoe gives back to the HAT community by always taking time off from her busy schedule to either write inspirational emails or to engage in phone conversations or to participate in online town halls patiently responding to questions from anxious parents and eager players. Zoe enrolled in HAT’s visitor program in 2009 when she was still in High School but with the dream of playing at the University of Southern California. Her outstanding play earned her a full scholarship to USC and she went on to play #1 singles during her 4 years at college.

John Lutaaya No examples of HF alumni giving back to their alma mater would ever be complete without mentioning the example of John Lutaaya. While his association with tennis started with simply being a ball-boy in a tennis club in Kampala, he eventually rose to be ranked #3 in singles and #1 in doubles for 3 consecutive years (ITF, East Africa U-12). John is now returning to Kampala, Uganda and has accepted our offer to serve as HAT Fund’s Ambassador to Africa. By accepting this role, John has fully acknowledged and recognized the part played in his personal development throughout his life by several of his benefactors but none more so than HAT.

As a son of single parent impoverished family in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, right from his childhood, John was never sure where his next meal or the funds to pay for his education or the money to pay for his tennis would come from. That was the case for John until HAT Fund stepped in to assist with his travel, his visa, his tennis lessons and his living expenses while training and studying in the US. I will quote John’s description of his feelings about his time spent at the HAT Academy — “It is always more than tennis at HAT because I even learn stuff outside tennis and this creates success both off and on the court”.

Some choose to give back in a manner that can be described as an institutional way — they create a network through which they promote financial literacy. This is of immense help to younger athletes who, on their way up, may fritter away their earnings and thus lose their way. Financial literacy is, however, not about managing personal finances and wealth alone but is also about being aware of the benefits of philanthropy.

To continue their engagement, athletes, upon returning home after achieving personal and professional success, may like to establish training centers similar to the one to whom they owe their success. They reconnect with their former institution and seek collaboration to create similar facilities and implement similar training-management and business models. They can stretch the reconnect even further by choosing the same brand name (with appropriate permissions).

As a professional coach, there isn’t a payback that is richer to receive than to have a student athlete return to us filled with eagerness to give back to our Institution.

By HF Contributor A Adeni

Studying Abroad is not a Glorified Holiday

In the world that we live in today, there isn’t an aspect of our lives that has not been touched by globalization. What is globalization? Simply explained, it is a situation of nations being integrated across inter national boundaries in whatever we do; be it business and economics or political views or culture or the sharing of grief. No doubt, however, that “studying abroad” would top the list as the oldest example of globalization. Though studying overseas is very commonplace today, it still retains a charm that is not easily replicated.

Very easily the greatest charm in studying abroad is the impact that such education impacts the rest of a person’s life; it is a milestone event. Any list of the reasons for choosing to study abroad would include the following:

  • Improving academic caliber
  • Development of professional skills
  • Enhancing employability
  • Appreciation of cultural diversity
  • Value-addition to personal history

Every survey has shown that US universities are the most-favorite destination for students from all over the world. Besides being veritable reservoirs of knowledge, universities in US have also earned the reputation of being the most welcoming of institutions and of imparting the highest quality of education, when compared to any other in the world.

Why is the US the most sought-after destination for studying abroad? I will answer this question by elaborating on the 5 reasons listed above (for studying overseas).

Improving Academic Caliber

Every student, wishing to gain further knowledge in his chosen subject of study, can be sure that a university in the US will offer him the following — faculty who are the most learned and updated on the subject, the access to the most advanced and updated knowledge of the subject and a learning environment which is unique, very practical and very supportive. These are the heady mix of ingredients that every serious student aspires for.

Development of professional skills

Universities in the US are invariably equipped with modern equipment, tools and facilities for the highest level of professional studies. Therefore, students not only gain academic knowledge but also gain hands-on experience of working with the latest tools of the profession. Except in the area of Arts, for which the European universities are the premier ones, American universities are the leaders in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Medicine.

Enhancing Employability               

More and more employers are seeking to recruit those who have been educated abroad, particularly ones who have been educated in the US. Why is education in the US such a sought-after qualification? The answer lies in the fact that an employee who has studied in the US is sure to have been exposed to modern theories, methodologies and the latest equipment; these qualities are a boon to any employer.

Appreciation of cultural diversity            

Irrespective of one’s profession, being able to communicate effectively goes a long way in professional development. Nothing prepares a person better than life spent on a university campus in the US where there are students from all over the world and is therefore the perfect medium for breaking-down cultural barriers. The reality is that our workplace is more globalized than it was ever before, therefore, being able to communicate effectively across multiple cultures, without any inhibitions is a critical requisite for personal success.

Value-addition to personal history

No person can claim to a higher status in society than one who has studied abroad at an established seat of learning. Studying in the US is an eye-opener; it broadens the horizon of those arriving from less-developed countries. When one has studied in the US and returns to their home country, it is sure to make heads turn or draw second-looks in a social gathering!

Several of those who studied abroad have also gone ahead and sought and accepted US citizenship and have integrated well in American society and excelled in the profession of their choice. They have earned national and international recognition and have won laurels for their contributions. American society is an amalgam of several cultures created by waves of settlers originally from Europe but subsequently from nations around the world too.

In spite of the attractiveness of continuing to live abroad, after completing higher studies, many choose to return to their home country. The seemingly natural act of returning is loaded with advantages in favor of the home nation. It immediately increases the intellectual capital of the home nation. In the longer-term, the returnees carry forward business and professional relationships, which are effectively the seeds of collaboration and knowledge-sharing ventures.

Those who study abroad should not fail to give back to their home nation. Upon their return, they can do so by engaging themselves in 3 broad areas, namely politics (or public life), economics (or business) and social (education, health).

(a) Politics — I have mentioned earlier that studying abroad intrinsically enriches a person’s character. Alumni, therefore, are potentially capable of providing transformational leadership, which is commonly missing in less developed and under-developed nations.

(b) Economics — In the field of business and economics, because they have studied (lived) abroad they have experienced the comfort of modern and superior products and the power of technologically advanced methods of production; they are therefore very capable of managing the introduction of new products and modern production facilities.

(c) Social — In the field of education and health, because of their superior personal experiences (while studying/living abroad) they can introduce the best similar practices and mentor the next generation of youth and improve their standard of living.

There is yet another dimension of enrichment – it occurs when those who have studied abroad return to their home country and pursue their profession. The students group themselves and form alumni associations. Alumni associations are not merely for bragging rights but they continue the spirit of camaraderie and play an inspirational role for others to study too in the same institution. In sum, it is a continuation of the engagement with the alma mater by its students.

Alumni outreach events and programs are ideal platforms for saying thank-you to the university to which they owe their gratitude for success. They are best qualified to use the lessons learned from their experience of studying and living in the USA.

Institutions all around the world have a plan in place for engaging their alumni. Failure to have such a plan will mean missing out on opportunities of several kinds. Alumni, for example:

ü  Serve as ambassadors, advocates and mentors for the next generation of students to inspire them to study in the same institutions

ü  Pool financial resources for scholarships

ü  Donate to establish endowments for research projects, for amenities (example, library, study halls, auditoriums, sports arena, etc.)

ü  Create and fund faculty positions for research and teaching a super-specialized subject

A final word; studying abroad is a serious decision soaked in benefits which can last a life-time; it is not a matter to be dismissed as simply a glorified holiday.

By HF Contributor: A. Adeni