Tennis, Anyone? Four Seasons Hampshire’s Advantage
PBI tennis pro Brendan Easterling shares his insights on the game.
No matter your age, if you’re looking for a sport that’s fun and helps you stay in shape, look no further than the tennis court. We can’t all be Olympic-calibre athletes, but with a little help from Brendan Easterling, a Peter Burwash International (PBI) tennis professional currently coaching guests at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England, you can improve your game and have a good time while you’re at it. As a junior tennis player, Easterling was county champion, a Road to Wimbledon singles quarter-finalist and a doubles finalist, and he made the National Main draw at age 14. After playing at university and working at a number of clubs, he has brought his expertise to Hampshire for the season. Here are some of his tennis tips:
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background? How did you first get into tennis?
A: I was born in Connecticut, but moved to Kent, England, at age four. When I was seven years old, I started playing tennis. My mum was the main influence for getting me into the game, as she is a big tennis fan, while my dad was an athlete and all-around sports player.
Q: What is it about the sport that keeps you motivated to keep on playing?
A: The sport combines athleticism with technical skill, tactical strategy and mental toughness, while still being a social activity. Players have varying styles and different strengths and weaknesses, so everyone you play with is different and provides a different game for you. Singles, being an individual sport, is the ultimate test of your character and ability. No one else can be the reason for a loss. Really, the sport fulfils so many of my needs!
Q: The PBI programme is known for its world-class personalised instruction. Can you describe the programme and what makes it so effective?
A: PBI manages the tennis programmes at some of the finest resorts and clubs around the world. Each programme is adapted to fit each location, while tennis concepts and values remain consistent throughout. This fact encourages students to visit fellow PBI sites to receive consistent coaching.
PBI believes themselves to be in the service industry first and the tennis industry second, which is why they have been so effective. Every professional undergoes the same training and meets at an annual conference to maintain quality. PBI tries to provide exceptional service not only to guests, but also to the sites that have chosen PBI as their tennis programme.
Q: Who can play tennis?
A: Anyone! People who seek fitness, technical instruction, competition and a social outlet can find it all with tennis. Players can be from all cultures, genders and of all abilities . . . I have seen ages range from 3 to 90.
Q: If you could give casual and ranked players alike just one piece of advice for finding success on the court, what would that be?
A: Try to learn to be your own coach on a tennis court and don’t rely on a coach to tell you what’s wrong. Think logically about why a mistake was made, and then don’t make the same mistake twice. The solution may not be “I wasn’t watching the ball,” or “I didn’t bend my knees.”
Q: Do you encourage your students to cross-train with running, swimming or any other activities?
A: Absolutely. Ball games improve coordination important for tennis, soccer is great for footwork, and running and swimming will help your overall fitness. Racquet sports will also help your racquet skills. I do not believe in the opinion that practicing the technique for squash, for example, is detrimental your tennis technique—I believe they can help each other. People tend not to get too confused between the two anyway.
However, if you are training seriously and specifically for optimum tennis performance, then perhaps you shouldn’t cross-train so extensively. Running long distances in a straight line, for example, won’t help you with the short lateral movements associated with tennis.
Q: What are some of the health benefits of playing tennis?
A: It improves cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, and joints and muscle strength. It also relieves stress as you run around, is social and even lets you take some frustration out on the ball!
Q: Are there any new trends in training that you are particularly interested in or excited about?
A: The advancement in greater technology and science in sport always interests me—whether it’s video, biological or mechanical analysis. Revolutionary research continues to make a great difference in enhancing sporting performance.
Ready to hit the court? The PBI tennis programme at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire will run from May until early September 2012, offering both group and individual lessons for all ages and skill levels, a junior tennis program, daily tennis clinics, and social and competitive tournaments.