Intercollegiate Tennis Association
Clarity = Freedom: Giancarlo Lemmi

Clarity = Freedom: Giancarlo Lemmi

November 27, 2020

We are joined by Liberty University women's tennis associate head coach, Giancarlo Lemmi on this episode!

Giancarlo joined the Lady Flames' coaching staff in the fall of 2012 as a graduate assistant and during the summer of 2013, he was promoted to a full-time assistant by head coach Jeff Maren. In May 2018, Lemmi received a promotion to associate head coach.

His strong knowledge of the game and Liberty tennis stems from his four-year playing career for the Flames. In this episode, we discuss his personal development as a coach, his coaching philosophy, and advice for other coaches. 

The Wisdom of Experience - Peter Wright

The Wisdom of Experience - Peter Wright

November 13, 2020

There are few college coaches in recent memory who have volunteered as much of their time to help grow the sport of tennis as Peter Wright.

Entering his 27th season at the helm of the California program in 2019-20, Peter Wright has built an impressive résumé as the leader of the Cal Golden Bears. Previously the head coach of the Bears, Wright earned the title of Director of Men's Tennis after an anonymous gift endowed the head-coaching position in January of 2018.

Wright received his first coaching award in 1994 when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears back to postseason play. More recently, Wright was named the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year after leading Cal to the NCAA semifinals and to its first appearance in the conference championship match. Wright earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 2001 and has helped the Bears become fixtures in NCAA postseason play since. Wright also claimed the 2012 USTA/ITA National Campus & Community Outreach Award, for providing a leadership role in increasing tennis participation throughout his community, both on and off-campus, and earned induction into the USTA Northern California Hall of Fame and into the Berkeley High School Hall of Fame.

This conversation with Peter goes in many different directions; we discuss the importance of volunteering, fundraising, the future of college tennis, and Peter provides lots of thoughtful advice for the next generation of college tennis coaches.

 

No Excuses - Darnesha Moore

No Excuses - Darnesha Moore

October 30, 2020
Darnesha Moore is the head men's and women's coach at Alcorn State. Darnesha battled through adversity in her young life to pursue her goals as a tennis player and now as a college coach. She wasted no time in moving through the coaching ranks, starting her career as a volunteer coach at Southern University and Lousiana State University before taking over both programs at Alcorn State at the young age of 23.
 
In this podcast, we discuss some of the challenges she faced as a child, her progress through the HBCU system, and some things she learned from her experiences in the USTA Professional Coaching Program, the ITA/USTA Mentorship Program, and from Coach Andy Brandi at LSU.
Changing with the Times While Staying True to Yourself - Rodney Harmon

Changing with the Times While Staying True to Yourself - Rodney Harmon

October 16, 2020

Rodney Harmon is in his ninth season as the head women’s tennis coach at Georgia Tech. In his eight seasons as head coach at Georgia Tech, Harmon has posted a 145-69 career record.

Most of you know Rodney as one of the top coaches in college tennis. But did you know that he made the quarterfinals of the US Open while still enrolled as a student-athlete at SMU? Did you know that he was the first African-American male to become the president of the PTR in 2018? His list of accomplishments to date is truly amazing and there are many more yet to come.

In this podcast we discuss some of Rodney's playing accomplishments, his early days coaching the men's tennis team at Miami, and his experience coaching the top U.S. players while at the USTA. Rodney also provides some viewpoints on the lack of diversity in the game of tennis and amongst college tennis coaching ranks.

Building Upon Your Success - John Roddick

Building Upon Your Success - John Roddick

October 2, 2020

John Roddick, Director of Tennis at the University of Central Florida, has coached in the junior academy space and the pro ranks but has spent the majority of his coaching career in the college coaching world. Roddick's first collegiate coaching jobs were as assistants at Florida State (1999-2000) and Georgia (2000-02). During his two-year stint with Georgia, the Bulldogs won the national championship (2001) and finished as runners-up (2002).

During his time as the head men’s coach at the University of Oklahoma, he led the team to three consecutive NCAA finals, winning Big 12 titles and many other awards along the way. He is now in the process of attempting to build a similar list of accomplishments at UCF.

He was named the UCF Director of Tennis on May 29, 2016. He serves as the men's head coach with oversight of both the men's and women's programs.

In this podcast, John discusses how he went about building the program at Oklahoma and provides advice to coaches as to what they should prioritize when taking over a program, how to build upon any early successes they may enjoy, and lots of other great insights.

 

Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:

  • 01:17 - Why did you choose to start your college tennis coaching career after graduating?
  • 02:30 - What about college coaching did you enjoy the most?
  • 03:46 - Why did it make sense for you to step away and become an ATP coach?
  • 06:12 - Do you regret the decision to step into professional coaching?
  • 06:48 - Did your time away from the college game change the way you view player development? What lessons did you take away from those experiences?
  • 09:13 - Is there anything about the recruiting process that you'd like to share with coaches - tips or advice?
  • 11:29 - What are some behaviors that you look for when recruiting?
  • 13:03 - What do you believe you brought to the program at Oklahoma to help take them to the quarterfinals in your first year?
  • 16:40 - How can a coach ensure that they capitalize on any success they have early in their tenure?
  • 19:49 - Do you think the job changes in any way to sustain success or do you continue to grind away?
  • 22:26 - What advice do you have for coaches on what they should prioritize in their first three months on the job?
  • 24:15 - How did you develop an understanding of what really matters?
  • 27:29 - What is your player development process?
  • 29:54 - Do you have concerns about the future of college tennis?
  • 40:14 - How would you encourage coaches to prioritize the other aspects of their program to help them continue to have a program for decades to come?

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • 42:11 - What is a book that made a major impact on you as a coach?
  • 42:50 - Do you have a favorite drill that you do with your players?
  • 44:02 - Name one thing you have changed your mind on in recent years?
  • 45:13 - Do you have a favorite quote?
  • 46:41 - Is there one lesson you hope your players have learned by the time they leave UCF?
Going Above & Beyond - Jaron Maestas

Going Above & Beyond - Jaron Maestas

September 18, 2020
Jaron Maestas spent 12 years as the Head Tennis Professional at Philcrest Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma before entering the college coaching ranks, taking over as the head women's coach at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2016.
 
With each passing year, Jaron's teams surpass the successes of the previous year. In 2020, he and Scott Linn (MSU) co-hosted the inaugural ITA D II Indoor National Championships in Oklahoma City. This is not the type of project many coaches are willing to take on and is just another example of how Jaron goes above and beyond his job description.
 
Jaron is very clear on what he is trying to accomplish at UCO, does not make excuses, and is very resourceful. He is a great example of how you go about making your program relevant within your athletic department, university, and surrounding tennis community.
 

Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:

  • 01:50 - What were some of the professional development lessons that you learned during your time at Philcrest?
  • 06:37 - Do you think you were ready to become a head coach after your time at Philcrest?
  • 08:14 - How did you end up at the University of Central Oklahoma?
  • 13:01 - What potential did you see at UCO and what promises did you make? How did you follow through on those promises?
  • 20:00 - Does it get easier once you have established a culture and expectations?
  • 21:23 - How do you continue to build upon the success of the previous year?
  • 24:59 - How have you made your team relevant on campus?
  • 29:51 - Why bother with the stress of hosting an Indoor National Championship?
  • 35:44 - What advice can you give coaches about fundraising? What have you learned in the last few years?
  • 41:33 - What is keeping you up at night right now when it pertains to the current climate in college tennis?

Rapid Fire Questions

  • 44:18 - Is there a book that motivates you?
  • 44:56 - What is your favorite drill?
  • 45:34 - Name one thing you've changed your mind on in recent years?
  • 46:27 - Do you have a favorite quote?
  • 47:15 - What is one lesson you hope your players learn before they leave your program?

 

Dealing With Program Cancellation - Kendall Brooks

Dealing With Program Cancellation - Kendall Brooks

September 4, 2020

The worst professional news a college coach could ever receive is to be told that their program has been cancelled. Too many coaches have had to deal with this terrible news over the last few months.

 

Kendall Brooks, the former head women’s coach at St. Edwards, discusses her experience of losing her program earlier this summer. In 2018 she led the team to their highest national ranking in school history and were runners-up in their conference. However, all her efforts in bringing the team to national prominence were not considered when the program was canceled in May.

 

In 2018, Brooks brought the Hilltoppers to their highest national ranking in school history at #17 and was named the Wilson ITA South Central Coach of the year

 

Kendall takes listeners through this unexpected experience and provides coaches with some advice should they face a similar fate. 

 

Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:

  • 01:45 - When you accepted the position at St. Edwards, were you aware of any possibility that the program would be in jeopardy?
  • 02:50 - Did you ever feel any concerns in the last few years of the program being in jeopardy?
  • 04:35 - Did you experience any budget cuts or were you asked to increase roster size?
  • 05:00 - Were you involved in any fundraising projects or asked to help?
  • 06:40 - Did the decision to cut the program make sense in hindsight or are you still confused?
  • 07:23 - Do you believe any of your great accomplishments were considered when they cut the program and does winning matter at all?
  • 08:30 - How did you hear about the program cut and how did you share the news about the cut with your players?
  • 10:14 - Do you think the program cut was in the works beforehand?
  • 10:45 - Who was on the call when you received the news of the program cut?
  • 11:23 - What are the emotions following the news & how do you communicate that news?
  • 14:10 - Was assistance or information did the athletic department provide to you?
  • 15:27 - If you had received more time about the news of a program cut, what would you have done?
  • 18:18 - What were the reasons provided to you for the cut? Why tennis?
  • 19:24 - Is there anything that you would have done differently in years gone by? What advice do you have?
  • 22:17 - Do you plan to return to college tennis?
  • 24:04 - What was your relationship like with your sport supervisor? Who did you report to?
  • 25:10 - If you did go back to college coaching - would you go to your Athletic Director and have the conversation about program sustainability?
  • 26:10 - Is there any advice for coaches who may be concerned about cuts or for coaches that have experienced cuts?
  • 28:14 - Do you have any advice on how to handle program cancellation from a mental perspective?
  • 29:30 - Do you think St. Edward's University will reinstate tennis in the future?
The Continuing Education of a Coach - Geoff Macdonald

The Continuing Education of a Coach - Geoff Macdonald

August 21, 2020
It would take several podcasting hours to learn all we could from Geoff Macdonald. He has coached at LSU and Duke and has spent the last 26 years as the head women’s coach at Vanderbilt. He has won a lot of college dual matches and an NCAA team title and has also seen several players go on to see success on the WTA tour.
 
He has long been considered one of the brightest and most interesting coaches we have in the college game and always has some interesting insights every time we speak with him.  In this episode, we cover what coaches should consider when moving from one head coaching position to another, his views on player development, and the skills the next generation of college coaches will need to be successful.
 
This conversation took place before he changed roles with long time assistant coach Aleke Tsoubanos. This type of role change may seem surprising to some but those that know Geoff well know that he looks at things a little differently than many of the rest of us.  
 
Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:
  • 02:15 - Why did it make sense for you to move on from successful programs?
  • 04:24 - What factors do you think coaches should consider when moving from one program to another?
  • 05:36 - What qualities and skillset did you bring to the table that facilitate program success?
  • 07:30 - Why college tennis? Why not stay in the private sector or work with professional players?
  • 10:16 - What are some of the elements of your coaching style that have remained with you wherever you've coached?
  • 12:37 - Were your coaching techniques a quick switch or did it progress over time?
  • 14:40 - Where do you think your initial coaching methodology developed?
  • 19:03 - What are some of the things you wish you had applied to your program sooner?
  • 21:37 - How do you assist with player development and processes?
  • 23:44 - When you are recruiting players, do you have a system for player development?
  • 28:22 - How do you think your teams continue to get better and believe they are capable as they progress?
  • 32:52 - What has changed for you as a college coach or the college coaching industry and what changes do you anticipate to see in the future?
  • 36:29 - What skills do you think coaches should be learning to move them forward in their careers?
  • 39:28 - How would you encourage coaches to start thinking and developing their own coaching principles?

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • 42:58 - Is there a book that made a major impact on you as a coach?
  • 44:27 - Do you have a favorite drill?
  • 47:41 - Is there one thing you've changed your mind on in recent years?
  • 48:16 - Do you have a favorite quote?
  • 51:43 - What is one lesson you hope your players have learned by the time they leave your program?
Redefining Success - Cristina Moros

Redefining Success - Cristina Moros

August 7, 2020
Cristina Moros is the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at the University of South Florida. She was a four-time All-American at the University of Texas before moving into the world of high-performance junior development. Cristina came to college tennis relatively late in her coaching career but has wasted no time in becoming one of our most respected coaches at the Division I level. 
 
In this podcast we discuss why she chose to leave high-performance junior tennis for the college coaching world, what key lessons she learned playing for Jeff Moore, how she balances work and family as a single mother, and gather some of her perspectives on being a woman of color in the world of intercollegiate athletics plus a lot more. 
 
Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:
  • 01:23 - How did Jeff Moore influence you as a college tennis coach?
  • 03:47 - Are you cultivating Jeff's high-level competitiveness culture in your team?
  • 05:53 - Why did you take a long break between your college playing career and becoming a college tennis coach?
  • 07:56 - Do you regret the decision to not become a Top 50 player and continue a professional career?
  • 08:46 - What pushed you over the edge to become a college tennis coach?
  • 10:50 - How do you think you have evolved over the last few years as a coach?
  • 12:58 - How do you connect with your student-athletes?
  • 15:25 - Do you use social media to connect with your current student-athletes?
  • 17:10 - Do you have any tips/insights for how you manage your time so well?
  • 20:51 - Why do you believe it is important to serve college tennis and what advice do you have for coaches to get involved?
  • 22:46 - Do you believe that being a woman of color has hurt you from a recruiting standpoint?
  • 25:28 - How can we increase the level of diversity among college tennis?
  • 29:30 - Is there a book that has had a major impact on you as a coach?
  • 30:20 - Do you have a favorite drill?
  • 32:08 - What is one thing you've changed your mind on in recent years in coaching or in life?
  • 32:59 - What is your favorite quote?
  • 33:41 - What is one lesson you hope your players have learned by the time they leave your program?

For Cristina's book recommendation, "Sum It Up" by Pat Summit, click here!

Stop Training Like It’s 1999 - Paul Drake

Stop Training Like It’s 1999 - Paul Drake

June 29, 2020
Paul Drake of First-Cardio Performance has spent the last several years immersing himself in the world of college tennis. He has worked with several of the top Division I college tennis programs, allowing them to train their athletes in a much more efficient manner which in turns increases the probability that the team will truly maximize their potential on the court.
 
He takes the guesswork out of how hard to train, how much to recover, and understanding when players are overtraining or potentially burning-out. Paul also discusses how programs can start tracking vital data on their athletes for little to no money.
 
In this conversation we build upon the last “Expert Interview" with Nick Winkelman; understand that less can definitely be more and how we now have no shortage of science to back up this old cliche. 
 
Key parts of this conversation have been marked for your listening convenience:
  • 01:35 - How did you end up in the college tennis landscape with such a diverse background in cardio?
  • 03:35 - How does having a strong cardiovascular system help student-athletes?
  • 04:31 - Why do you believe it is better to condition a tennis athlete on a bike rather than a court?
  • 08:10 - How efficient are your workout routines?
  • 10:40 - What is a starting point for a coach looking to understand how to use heart rate and analyze that data?
  • 13:44 - What do I do with my heart rate data?
  • 17:06 - How did your routines work for previous student-athletes like Paul Jubb (South Carolina)?
  • 22:40 - Are there recommendations that you have post-practice/post-match?
  • 26:22 - What does a sample conditioning week look like?
  • 31:43 - What is your ideal pre-match routine?
  • 38:30 - What advice do you have for coaches moving into a new mindset with heart rate training & recovery?
 

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