All Posts By

Oliver Summers

Holiday Tennis

By | Tennis

It’s that time of year again, holiday season, and along with the holiday season comes probably one of our most fun events of the Courts Plus tennis year, the Holiday Tennis Tournament.

We always look forward to this event because of it’s nice relaxed atmosphere. There are no USTA points on the line, no possibility of advancement, just some friendly banter and bragging rights. We also get to see some faces from the past as extended family come to visit and some college kids are back for the holidays. Because this event is open to everyone, we get a fair number of people from outside of Fargo/Moorhead too. That’s always fun, because it’s always nice to play new people, and make some new tennis buddies.

Our tennis philosophy at Courts Plus is to try to get as many people playing tennis as possible. Our programming throughout the year reflects that as we try to offer something for everyone. I think I speak for all our coaches here, when I say that one of the most rewarding things we hear from students is that they are having fun, and they want to play more. One of the best things we hear from former students is that they’re still playing the game of tennis, and are still enjoying it. It’s nice to win championships, and tournaments, but that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is to develop a lifelong love and appreciation for the sport, and to pass that along.

We would love to see you on the court, having fun and joining us for the 2018 holiday tournament. Here is the link to the entry form and divisions: Holiday Tournament

See you on the court!

Pickleball Open House

By | Fitness Fun

One big reason why I love pickleball is that it can be as causal or competitive as you want it to be. From playing with friends in your spare time, to searching for tournaments and leagues to join, pickleball caters to all types. This October 14th Courts Plus will be hosting an event for all types of players to come and see what we offer. Information can be found below.

Get your game on! Courts Plus is holding their first ever Pickleball Open House. The Open House will be held from 4:00-5:30 pm on Sunday, October 14 at Courts Plus.

The public is invited to come and learn about pickleball and try out the “courts on the courts”. There will be a Pro there to help you learn about the sport and how to join a league. This event is free and open to the public.

If you find you enjoy the sport, there’s still time to join the Sunday Pickleball League or Saturday Pickleball Drills. Sunday League is welcome to players of all levels, and is held November 4 – December 11. The fee for league is $20 for members. Saturday Drills are competitive drills for league players, starting November 3. The fee for drills is $10 per time for members.

Courts Plus is located at 3491 University Drive S, Fargo. For more information, visit CourtsPlus.org or call 701-237-4805.

You cannot be serious!

By | Tennis

Tennis is a sport with many psychological challenges. The unique scoring system constantly builds up to pressure points where one player is poised to take all, the other to lose all. Matches have no time limit, and can last for many hours. In singles, players are alone, usually without access to a coach.

No wonder so many players end up losing their temper, often in spectacular fashion.

By studying player tantrums we can learn a great deal that can help us improve our psychological approach to tennis, or indeed any sport.

Here are five classic tantrums, each one with a distinct lesson to teach us.

5) Grigor Dimitrov, Istanbul 2016

Dubbed ‘Baby Fed’, Dimitrov was once talked of as a successor to Roger Federer, but no longer. Despite reaching a career-high ranking of eighth and the Wimbledon semifinal in 2014, the Bulgarian has struggled to compete with the game’s elite, and has not yet been able to translate his rare talent into consistent world-class form.

Few players have been hyped by the media as much as Dimitrov. The pressures of expectation, coupled with low-confidence, seem to have led the 25-year old to his recent implosion in the final of the Istanbul Open. Dimitrov forfeited the match after smashing three rackets, handing the title to his opponent Diego Schwartzman.

Dimitrov has never sought help from a tennis psychologist, which suggests that he underestimates the value of the mental game. He needs to learn how to disengage from his thoughts and emotions, and focus on the task in hand. If he does this, he has the talent to get back to the top ten and stay there.

Lesson: The expectations of others can be a mental burden on court. We need to learn how to allow our difficult thoughts and emotions to be there without engaging with them.

4) Roger Federer, Miami 2009

Roger Federer is the epitome of a cool, calm and collected champion, but it wasn’t always this way. In his early years on tour, the Swiss maestro expressed a hot temper on court, with his racket often bearing the brunt of his anger.

In 2001, knowing his emotions were holding back his game, Federer worked hard on improving his mental approach. This paid off handsomely, as Fed began his meteoric rise to the top soon after.

Rarely since have we seen Roger lose his temper. However in this clip from his 2009 match against Novak Djokovic in Miami, the Swiss’ temper burned bright one more time following a string of forehand errors.

This proved a one-off lapse, and Roger has maintained his trademark composure ever since. We should take comfort in the fact the one of the greatest of all time can have a serious mental off-day. It reminds us that none of us can be perfect.

Lesson: Even players who have exemplary mental skills can have lapses. That’s fine, as long as we reconnect quickly with a successful mental approach. Forgive yourself if you lose your temper, and move on.

3) Carlos Berlocq – Aix en Provence 2016

This extraordinary incident, in which Berlocq smashes his racket on just the second point of the match, indicates that the Argentinian wasn’t in a good mental state when he stepped onto the court.

There will always be off-court stresses in our lives, and sometimes we can’t help it if thoughts and emotions which have nothing to do with tennis interfere with our game.

The trick is to learn how to let go of those feelings. Let them be there, don’t engage.

Lesson: We always bring some sort of emotion onto court with us. When those emotions are negative, we need to learn to let go of engagement with them, or they are liable to lead us to perform poorly.

2) John McEnroe, Australian Open 1990

McEnroe may be the king of the tennis tantrum, but he’s also an honest and insightful judge of his own behavior. In his autobiography Serious, McEnroe says that his struggle with on-court anger hindered his progression as a player. His temper disrupted his rhythm, and often indicated he was on the verge of choking. He sees his anger as a response to nerves and a fear of failure. Brilliant as he was, McEnroe would have been a better player if he had been mentally stronger.

He never won the Australian Open. A series of warnings for bad behavior led to his disqualification from this fourth round match in 1990.

Lesson: Tantrums are self-destructive. To maximize your potential as a player, you have to develop a strong mental game.

1) David Nalbandian, London 2012

Nalbandian will be remembered as one of the best players never to win a Slam. He’ll also be remembered for his fiery temper, and in particular for his outburst in the 2012 Queens final which cost him the match. A momentary burst of anger led Nalbandian to kick an advertising board which struck a linesman in the leg hard enough to draw blood. Game over. Instant disqualification.

Of course injuring the linesman wasn’t intentional, but Nalbandian’s inability to tolerate and let go of his anger handed a winnable final to his opponent and landed him with a $12,560 fine.

Lesson: Anger can arise quickly during a match if we make a mistake or lose an important point. We need to learn how to allow anger to be there without responding to it.

Its not only your strokes that we can help you with at Courts Plus, it’s your entire game, including the most important part, the mental part. There’s a reason why people say tennis is 90% mental and 10% physical. All of the top players can execute their shots in practice, but only a few can do it when it really matters and stay calm under pressure. Schedule a lesson time today, before you end up on this list!

 

Yeah Pickleball!

By | Fitness Fun

This past summer a group of friends and I were bored on a Saturday afternoon. Looking for something to do I suggested we go to Brunsdale Park and play some pickleball. I had recently become the pickleball pro at Courts Plus, and thus had a lot of pickleball paddles and balls laying around. Most of my group of friends were tennis players, but had limited knowledge of how to play pickleball, so luckily Brunsdale posts the rules on every court so we were able to all stay on the same page. It was a great use of an afternoon as we played a little round robin tournament, I had the deck stacked in my favor, given my experience, but I messed around to keep things interesting which meant we played a lot of interesting points filled with lobs, dinks, and round the post shots. We still talk about a point we had, that must have been 40 shots and included every shot in the book, that culminated with an overhead smash that hit the tape and rolled over the net. Points and games like we had that afternoon are why we play sports, the feeling of pure adrenaline when things get thrown into chaos. Unfortunately as the weather changes there are fewer and fewer days to be able to play pickleball outside. Thankfully, starting September 10th, Courts Plus will offer leagues and lessons on true court surface (instead of a gym floor!) so we can all continue the fun that we had this summer. See you on the court and click here to find out more info.

Time for a tune-up

By | Tennis

I know we don’t want to admit it, but Summer won’t last forever, at least not in this part of the country. However never fear, we have you covered. Even though there are only few weeks left of our Summer tennis programming there’s still plenty you can do in the month of August. August is the perfect time to tune up your game. Everyone’s summer season is winding down whether its for leagues, tournaments or World Team Tennis, and now’s the time to work out the kinks in your game before leagues, and for some of you, High School seasons get underway.

Our pros have times open in their schedule in the month of August, and would love to give you that kickstart you need to win those tight matches. Did you know that for those of you in High School, you are allowed to still take private lessons, even while the season is taking place, even if you have a match the same day! That’s definitely the way to get an edge over your opposition and take advantage of the expert tennis professionals at Courts Plus.

Also, don’t worry, you can trust the tennis pros at Courts Plus that they know what they’re doing. They are professionals, they do this for a living. Our 4 full-time tennis pros have nearly 100 years of teaching experience between them, and are constantly looking to improve their teaching and playing skills. You can routinely see our pros playing local tournaments, studying tennis guides or watching their students play. At Courts Plus, we do tennis, and we would love you to do tennis too!

Tennis Courts | Courts Plus

Good luck to all tennis players this weekend, especially our members!

By | Membership, Tennis

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Courts Plus will be hosting the North Dakota Girls High School East Region Championships. 8 High Schools from the Eastern part of North Dakota have earned the right to compete, to make it to State. Out of those 8 high schools 5 of them will be local schools, Sheyenne, Davies, Shanley, Fargo North and West Fargo.
Courts Plus will be rocking will 3 full days of competition along with Island Park, Elephant Park and Discovery. The team event is taking place on Thursday, and the individual singles and doubles will be Friday and Saturday.
At this time I’d like to highlight all of the local players playing on those local teams that we see year round at Courts Plus. It’s no surprise that the top seeded team, Sheyenne High School, have 5 of their top 6 in regular lessons, and all 5 are Courts Plus members! They also have the reigning North Dakota High School Champion, Monti Knewtson. They are not the exception. Davies, Shanley, Fargo North and West Fargo all have Courts Plus members.
The top players in the state know that they have to play year round to stand a chance of competing for a State title. With so many options at Courts Plus throughout the year, even those who play other sports, can keep their tennis game going in the off season. We have pros who work all hours, nights, weekends, early mornings, whatever it takes to keep you or your kid on the court and in the game.
We’d like to wish every competitor good luck this weekend, but especially those friendly faces who we see year round at Courts Plus. They know what it takes to be a champion.
For more info and to see our Summer options click here

Pickle Ball from a Tennis Pro

By | Tennis

By Zach Zitur, Tennis Pro.

We all look forward to this time of year. Winter is finally receding and spring is upon us. I always love being able to get outside and play tennis and enjoy the few months of phenomenal weather we get each year. While everyone loves the change to better weather, one thing I love is the return of my grandparents, who are snowbirds, who come back for the summer months. Some five or six years ago something odd happened though. My grandparents had brought back some pickle ball paddles to play with in the summer. I had played pickle ball in gym class, but had never seen people that were dedicated enough to go out and buy their own paddles, and balls. I asked them why they had gotten into the sport so much, they said it was everywhere in the Phoenix area. Knowing my grandparents I thought they were exaggerating, but when I visited the next winter I saw what they were talking about. People were playing everywhere, and all day, I never imagined a random sport from gym class would have this much of a following. Fast forward to today, and the pickle ball craze has hit the Fargo area. Any sports store you go to seems to have paddles, and even if you are looking online at tennis rackets, which I frequently do, the recommended items will include pickle ball paddles. Despite all the interest there are not many places to play in the Fargo area, which is why I liked when Courts Plus redid the gym and included pickle ball lines to have a place to play. Have you heard? We’re going to be doing some Pickle Ball on the tennis courts too!

Teaching tennis is a passion of mine, but pickle ball is also such a great sport to teach and play. One of the biggest reasons why I love both sports is the ability to play both for many years. and to share the sport generationally. As a tennis coach you always hear “oh they’re a tennis family” and the saying is very true. Tennis is definitely a sport that gets handed down through a family tree, and I believe the same is about to occur with pickle ball. We can beat around the bush, but pickle ball certainly has a reputation to be a old person’s game, but as time goes on I see more and more young adults and even kids playing it. First my grandparents started playing, then they got me and my parents to try it and I am sure it will be passed down from there; and I am positive that my grandparents are not the exception. It is the classic easy to learn, hard to master formula that makes pickle ball a great sport to play as a family, and so I don’t see its popularity dying down anytime soon.

Pickle ball is great for those wanting to learn a new sport or to play with family. Despite being a tennis pro I keep getting requests to learn how to play pickle ball and have thus given some lessons. Pickle ball has went from a unit I had to do in gym to a sport that I love to play and teach. So if you are looking to learn tennis or try out pickle ball contact me for a lesson today!

Final tennis update

By | Tennis, Uncategorized

Team Northern, that’s us, narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals today. So our journey ends.
All in all though, this was an amazing event. It’s a dream come true, for me to be able to play on the same courts as the pros, in the same stadiums.
We fly back tonight, but not before we’ll have the chance to watch the Women’s and Men’s singles final. As a teaching pro, the cutting edge of what is happening in tennis, is at the highest echelon of the game. It’s inspiring for me to watch high level tennis and I can’t wait to teach my lessons next week.
Of course this whole great experience started on a court, in a league, at Courts Plus. Actually, a summer league. That’s when we decided to start this new men’s 4.5 league and who could have imagined that it would have taken us all the way to nationals in Indian Wells, CA.
Best advise I can give you, is get involved in the game. There’s a league for you, and the sky’s the limit!

Tennis team update from Nationals

By | Tennis

The USTA Northern section Team is still in the running for a National Championship here at Indian Wells. Adam and I lost 6-7, 6-7 in a marathon match against the Caribbean, but then came back for a 6-3, 6-1 victory against the Middle States (NJ, NY). Now we face Missouri Valley Section on Saturday at 2pm. We’ve been fortunate enough to play both our matches on stadium courts.

The Indian Wells tennis garden facility is a beautiful setting. Right outside of Palm Springs surrounded by mountains. For many players here, it’s the first time they’ve been able to play tennis outside. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’ll be playing tennis outside in Fargo, now that spring is here. The nets are scheduled to be up at all the outdoor parks by April 3rd.

At Courts Plus we get spoiled with perfect conditions for tennis all the time. We don’t have to worry about the wind, or the sun, the potential of rain.

So when you do venture outside, remember to be on your toes, literally. Be ready for that ball from your opponent to slow up when you’re with the wind, and for the ball to speed up when you’re against the wind. Also when hitting with the wind, add more topspin. When hitting against the wind, go after your shots, you can afford to hit it a little harder.

For serving in the sun, you may have to adjust your toss. You can practice this indoor before the outdoor season begins. If you’re opponent is facing the sun, through up some lobs.

For other tips or if you need a tune up before playing outside, contact one of our great pros. They’ve had years of experience going from an indoor season to and outdoor one.

Courts Plus tennis team going to Nationals

By | Tennis

So by now, you may have heard that the Courts Plus Men’s 4.5 team, consisting of myself, Adam Gustad and David Youngs made it to nationals. In the Summer I started the first Men’s 4.5 ONE doubles league where teams of 2-4 players played every other team in the league twice on a weekly basis. We won that league, and then moved on to play against all the other teams in the Northern Section, in Minneapolis. That was in November, and we beat every other team without losing a set to punch our tickets to nationals. There we get to play alongside the Pro’s at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, CA. You can watch the pros play on ESPN this week, with the likes of Roger Federer, and Serena Williams playing. You won’t see us, unless it’s in the crowd, we’ll be on the outside stadium courts playing for high fives, handshakes and the love of the game. Ok, so maybe a cool trophy is at stake.

Tonight I wanted to highlight my teammates, Adam Gustad and David Youngs and give you a little background on how they got to where they are, and how Courts Plus was instrumental in their tennis journeys.

Both David and Adam both started playing tennis at Courts Plus in our Star tennis academy. They both took private lessons from an early age, and fell in love with the sport. They both played High School Tennis at Fargo South. Check out some early photos of the two Bruins:

Adam attended NDSU and started playing Club tennis for the Bison. He then transferred and played for Buena Vista, Iowa a Division III tennis school. After graduating Adam continued to play tennis and now plays his tennis out of Minneapolis, participating in multiple leagues and tournaments, as well as coaching high school tennis.

David currently attends Concordia College, where he plays for their Division III tennis program. Actually, because David is currently in his season there, he’s not allowed to attend the USTA Nationals, but he was instrumental in getting the team there. David still takes lessons and also helps coach the Bruins.

So you can see their paths were fairly similar, and they both now have a lifelong love of the sport that they will continue to play, for as long as they can. I almost forgot to mention, as David and Adam got really serious about tennis they both did personal training at Courts Plus, and they both credit this training in getting them in the best shape of their careers.

The good news is that Courts Plus still has the Star tennis academy and we are lucky enough to have many graduates from the program who continue to play tennis in High School, College and beyond. We still have a lot of the same pros, and personal trainers, who helped David and Adam along the way.

Check out all that we have to offer to help you in your tennis career or whatever your chosen sport is. I’ll be blogging while we’re in Indian Wells to keep you posted on how we do, so check back each day this week. Our first match is on Friday.