Revolution Coaches Conference
noun: revolution; plural noun: revolutions
a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it.
To enact change.
For some it might have been the ride on the tram to the other side of campus when you first see the size and scope of IMG, and you realize you’re not in Kansas (or Long Island) anymore. As you walk from breakfast to registration it is still early in the morning, maybe too early, how are you supposed to be motivated and ready at such an hour? Then you see him, the Legend himself, Nick Bollietieri, and he has already logged over an hour on the court. Be humbled, be very humbled.
So finally the conference is ready to begin, with who else, Nick, energetic and passionate as ever. Nick’s message is simple, dream. IMG started as an idea, a concept, a dream, an unlikely dream at best, now IMG is more than just a tennis academy, it is an international mecca for sports development. An appropriate way to begin a conference called Revolution, with the man who revolutionized American Tennis once before.
The Revolution Conference was different than most other educational ventures. This was about changing the thought process of what you are doing in your tennis program. Not just drills or technical teaching techniques, it was about tying all elements of your program together. So the goal of this weekend was to be able to bring back more than a list of drills to use on court, it was about creating a program for your junior players that engage them properly.
A revolution means, in his simplest form, to enact a change. A change can be started by 1 or by many, this weekend brought together over 100 coaches that are looking to be a part of this change, big or small in their own tennis world. The conference led by Mike Barrell brought together some of the industry’s biggest names such as Bollietieri, Martin Blackman, Marc Kovacs and Butch Staples combined with the Evolve 9 team of Michelle Skelley, Sharon Cleland, Espen Foss, Laramie Gavin, Julio Godreau and Jason Wass. Additionally, the IMG Academy staff were on hand to lend their expertise led by Academy Director, Rohan Goetzke, we heard from Athletic Development Director, Cassiano Costa, Junior Development Director, Weylu Chang and Mental Conditioning Director Justin Su’A. Dennis Fabian from Prince was on hand at the Prince Innovation Center to speak about the Racquet making process, answer questions on stringing and equipment and to talk about how to work with your industry partners.
After a whirlwind 2 days of on and off court presentation that packed attendees with a boat load of information Sunday morning gave everyone a chance to think about their programs. Sunday morning featured quick presentations that led to open discussions amongst the conference attendees and speakers. This gave all participants the opportunity to process the curriculum and put it in to context of their own program. Conference speakers led these discussions to help facilitate and lend a hand, while participants were able to interact with each other and share similar stories. The magic of this conference made just have been the idea that “you are not alone”. With some many different programs from all over the world represented, coaches were able to share common ground with one another and take with them the confidence in knowing that they were not the only people trying to create a revolution.