Young Guns Take on ATA

Noah Wood, 14, and Brenden Baird, 12, took a big initiative this summer to visit the Austin Tennis Academy on July 7 – 11. After the great experiences and stories our students brought home last year, Noah and Brenden had been chomping at the bit for their own pilgrimage, and their parents made a huge commitment to provide them the opportunity and even stay with them. The two boys had a tough job in playing in a new atmosphere with new players and coaches, which could put many people off their game, especially when they ended up on court with some of the top high school players in Texas, but Brenden and Noah jumped right in and were able to get a ton of great experience, coming back even stronger as tennis players than before. Both got to be on court with ATA founder and director, Jack Newman, on the first day, and he did a phenomenal job in helping them transition into his program on top of all of excellent coaching; we are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful friend to the program! While they did get some opportunities to play set against other students, the competition-driven lessons allowed them to put their good practice into play. In one afternoon of short court battles to 7 points, where winners moved up and all 28 courts were used, Brenden fought his way all the way up from court 20 to court 4! Noah’s biggest breakthrough can’t be measured on court, though his new found success in competition is a tangible by-product. Unfortunately, Noah strained his shoulder early into the trip, but with help from the ATA training staff, he could keep playing, and by playing through that adversity, Noah transformed, in just one week, into a battle-scarred veteran, finding a whole new level of poise on court and determination to make every point count. The boys also had the chance to work with ATA’s head pro, Doug Davis, and Estevam Strecker, who became Brenden’s favorite because of his ability to weave fun games seamlessly into the long hours of drills and turned a game of soccer into an opportunity to learn how to move on clay courts! All-in-all, Noah and Brenden battled heat, being in a new environment, and strong players and, more than just improve an enormous amount, they were able to achieve what’s most important in tennis…FUN! We’re grateful to Jack Newman for providing our players with such a wonderful opportunity and incredibly proud of the boys’ efforts and success!

Brendon and Noah in their ATA shirts!

Brendon and Noah in their ATA shirts!