LOOKING BACK ON THE 2016 ITA COACHES CONVENTION
TEMPE, Ariz. – With the Gulf of Mexico set off in the distance, the renowned Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Florida, served as host for the 2016 ITA Coaches Convention, which took place Dec. 10-13, 2016.
The ITA Coaches Convention, which dates back to 1985, saw some well-received changes to its structure and format in 2016, and everyone at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association encourages all of you that missed out on last year’s event to today start thinking about your plans to attend the 2017 ITA Coaches Convention, which will be held Dec. 16-19, 2017, back at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
With an emphasis on encouraging dialogue and communication between coaches, the 2016 ITA Coaches Convention provided attendees a new way to have their voices heard.
The divisional roundtables were a big hit amongst the coaches, with all five rooms (Divisions I, II and III, NAIA, JUCO) seeing robust attendance and lively discussion. Division I and Small College Operating Committee members, along with the ITA staff, also attended the roundtables to help provide more information on requested topics.
Dr. Jim Loehr captivated the audience during the General Session with a passionate Keynote Address.
Dr. Loehr, who is the co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, is a world-renowned performance psychologist and author of 16 books. He strongly contends that character strength can be built in the same way that muscle strength is built through energy investment.
Prior to Dr. Loehr’s talk, ITA Board Chairman Jon Vegosen welcomed the audience, and ITA CEO Timothy Russell provided not only an update on where the ITA and college tennis currently was, but the well-planned vision that he has for the future of the organization and sport.
The ITA CEO was often seen holding court with coaches between meetings, and he also spent time on an actual tennis court, whether that was playing a friendly game with members of the ITA Board of Directors, or introducing one of the many guest instructors on hand to perform on-court demonstrations.
Speaking of the on-court presenters, what a group it was!
Tom Gullikson, Martin Parkes, Brian Boland, Amanda Augustus and Emilio Sanchez each brought high levels of energy and provided the ITA member coaches with plenty of new drills and teaching techniques to take back to their teams.
Indoors at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, the Classroom Sessions were routinely standing-room only affairs, and it’s no wonder with a list of presenters that included: Nick Bollettieri, Alistair Higham, Bill Riddle, Mark Kovacs, Adam Herendeen, Warren Pretorius, Jeff Moore and Robin Söderling.
Another new wrinkle added to the 2016 ITA Coaches Convention was the introduction of an Awards Luncheon. The shift from an evening banquet to an afternoon lunch proved wise, as the full house was treated to wise words from Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup and founder of ConantLeadership, and to the frenetic energy of Wilson’s Tim Buwick, who was on hand to honor the 10 recipients of the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year awards. Arizona State University women’s tennis coach Sheila McInerney was also presented with the ITA Meritorious Service Award, presented by ConantLeadership.
The ITA Trade Show was a nice way for attendees to visit with over 25 vendors in a relaxed, casual setting.
All of this is just a small sampling of what awaits you when you attend the 2017 ITA Coaches Convention. The entire ITA staff looks forward to seeing you in Naples in December!