View Full Version : Nike Tennis Camp at Amherst

06-29-2006, 08:09 AM
Here is the recap for my stay at Nike Tennis Camp at Amherst last weekend.

Friday (6/23)
Left NYC at 6:00PM and arrived at Amherst by 11:00PM. The bus ride was uneventful and it was pouring outside. It was still raining when I arrived at Amherst, fortunately the assistant director, Maureen, was nice enough to pick me up at the Greyhound bus station. Amherst campus was a five-minute drive from the bus station and I stayed at a very nice dorm called Wieland Hall.

Saturday (6/24)
Morning Session
Got up at 7AM and got some breakfast at the Cafeteria. Everyone met up at 8AM to talk about the agenda for the day. Since it was still raining outside, the coach (Rainey) moved the clinic to the indoor facility at Smith College in North Hampton (a 20-minute drive from Amherst). The surface was kind of weird and people who have played on grass said it played a lot like synthetic grass, as a lot of the balls stayed low. Being one of the best players among the group, I was placed in a group of 4 players whose skills were between 3.5 and 4.0. At every court there was an assistant pro, who were feeding the balls for our drills. Rainey was walking around to see how everyone is doing. By 11AM, I had an half-hour private session with an assistant pro and we worked on my serve.

Afternoon Session
After driving back to Amherst for lunch, we returned to Smith College for another 4 hours of tennis. We were practicing volleys and doubles techniques and being mainly a singles player, I learned quite a bit about doubles. I was really bad at first, considering that I didnít even know where to position myself, but I picked up things pretty quickly. I still need to work on the volleys.

Evening Doubles Matches (optional)
The rain stopped and Rainey organized an evening doubles session at 6:45PM. I played a match of doubles on hard courts and then played a singles match with a 3.5-4.0 guy on hard tru. By this time, I was dead tired and ready to crash. I went to bed by 9PM.

Sunday (6/25)
Morning Session
The rain stopped so we had the clinic on the clay courts at Amherst. We were hitting mostly volleys and overheads and basically learning how to stay aggressive throughout the match. I took a private lesson with Rainey at the end of the morning session. It cost $30 for 30 minutes but it was worth every penny. If you had a chance, definitely take a private lesson with him.

Afternoon Session
Another 3 hours of practice on clay. We were playing a few games like King of the Court. The drills were pretty much the same but I was pretty tired by this point.

Overall Impression
For $440 (all inclusive), I thought it was worth every penny. The camp was well organized and Rainey was a fantastic coach. The food was very good and the dorms were big, clean and peaceful. The people were friendly and although the majority were not very good, it doesnít really matter as long as people in your group is at your level. I am thinking about going back to Amherst this weekend.

06-29-2006, 12:40 PM
Lee, I'm glad you made it up there. Going indoors is kind of a pain, but you still get all your tennis in.

Sounds like you missed out on some serious partying that goes on up there. Before you go again, call Mo and ask her when the party people are going to be there.

And check the weather forecast. Playing all day on the hard courts outside in the heat and humidity is an integral part of the Amherst experience :twisted: .

06-29-2006, 12:51 PM

Congrats on your 50th Post!

Man, I was so tired after playing 7 hours of tennis. The assistant pros invited me to go out to clubs with them but I was way too exhausted to do anything. Plus, I didn't see any attractive ladies up there. Did you go out with the group at night? Hey, I am thinking about going back to Amherst tomorrow. Are you coming this summer?

06-29-2006, 12:59 PM
oh I forgot to tell ya. I met a Cal Alumni who is currently working in Boston. I was so excited to have met a Cal Alumni in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts!

06-29-2006, 10:38 PM
Man, I was so tired after playing 7 hours of tennis. The assistant pros invited me to go out to clubs with them but I was way too exhausted to do anything.

Once you experience playing all day on the hard courts in the heat and humidity after a night of partying, nothing will ever intimidate you on a tennis court again.

06-29-2006, 10:45 PM
What's their junior program like? I'm considering doing a camp, and i want to know if it's worth it rather than going out to philadelphia from one (i'm in pittsburgh)

06-29-2006, 10:55 PM
I've done the adult camp for several years. The kids are there at the same time, but on different courts and different dorms. They look like they're having the time of their lives. I would have killed to have done that when I was a kid. If I had, maybe I wouldn't be such a bitter, bitter man.

06-29-2006, 11:02 PM
Haha, ouch. I'm 15 right now, and i'm looking to make some MAJOR moves on my high school tennis team. Only one kid works hard, and he's the singles 1 player. He's at least 4.5, most likely 5.0, so that's not exactly reachable, but someone just on the brink of my reach is the singles two player.

Does anyone know the pricing for the camp? I can't find anything on it...and i also have to find a way to get there, haha.

06-29-2006, 11:16 PM

Pittsburgh, huh? It's pretty far.

Those two singles players ahead of you sound like real wusses. Find a good hitting partner and bust your butt, and you'll blow them off the court.

BTW, you're fifteen? What are you doing up at this hour? You go to bed immediately!

06-30-2006, 06:47 PM
Okay, mom. It's not really that far considering what i want to do. I'd go anywhere if i had the money. I've gotten a job this summer for specifically this reason: to go to a camp.

I'm not doing the junior development program at the "local" club because i want to be away from everyone i know, to have no outside influences and just be immersed in the game. If i go to the development program 2x a week here, i'll be playing with the people i always play with when i go home, and i won't necessarily retain everything i learn. If i go somewhere by myself, all i have to concentrate on is tennis. And that's all i want to do...i won't miss my friends or family really, so distance isn't a problem.

Thanks for the link!

07-01-2006, 06:19 PM
Hey guys,

It’s been another eventful day at Amherst and I thought it would be nice to give you guys an update of my day.

I drove up to Amherst with one of the directors' sisters last night. We left Manhattan at 10PM and got here at 2AM, while stopping in Connecticut to grab some late night dinner. The drive was wonderful since I haven’t driven since I came to the East Coast. I really missed the feeling of cruising on the highway, driving 110 MPH. Awesome feeling.

My day started at 8:30AM. I didn’t wake up on time to grab breakfast at the Cafeteria, so I just got a powerbar at the kitchen. Weather wise, it was absolutely a beautiful day for tennis: lots of sunshine, no wind, not too humid.

The morning session consisted of some groundstroke drills. It was a lot like what I did last week. Again, I was one of the top player in this camp. The best player (a lawyer from Massachusetts) was in my group and he’s definitely a 4.5+. We worked on some volleys and played some doubles.

The afternoon session started at 1:30PM and we began by hitting more drills. The difference between the afternoon session and morning session is that the session in the afternoon is more singles-oriented. I also worked on some serves and some returns. We played some king of the courts, where the server can only win a point via serve-and-volley. The coach really emphasizes on the net games and although I am learning quite a bit about handling myself at the net, I am still not very comfortable at the net.

The afternoon session ended at 4:30 and I played a practice match with the best player at the camp (the lawyer) on clay. He played a great match and won in straight set.

At 6:45, I came back to the courts to play some mixed doubles. Although people were not very good, they were all very friendly and I got to meet some interesting people. I teamed up with a neurosurgeon from Yale University and I thought it’s pretty amazing how tennis brings so many different people together.

At 8:30, I played a practice match with one of the teaching pros. I am very happy with the way I played, except for the fact that I only came to the net twice (I won both points).

Right now (10PM), I am just relaxing on my bed, listening to a Ferry Corsten’s new CD and getting ready to hit the sack. A lot of people are hitting up the bars tonight but after playing more than 8 hours of tennis under the scorching sun, all I want to do is chill out and have a nice beer on my bed.

That’s all for now, more to come tomorrow. Good night.

Joe Average
07-04-2006, 10:51 AM
Thanks for the report Lee. I'm going up there in a week and a half ... singles week. I've been there three times before, and I used to live in Northampton (great town!). I find that when you're going alone, singles week is preferable because tennis is often like Noah's Ark, everyone seems to be paired up.

I thought the bus station was right across the street from the campus .. on the other side of the commons. I guess when it's raining, it feels like a five mnute drive.

I think besides Reiny, Noah is the best coach. And Maureen is the nicest person on the planet. There are always several young coaches whom you know you'll never see again. I look forward to my private lesson. It's a very intense half hour. It's a good thing, actually, that you played at the Smith College courts. I actually like the surface. Kind of pebbly. Fortunately, you didn't get stuck at Amherst. The indoor courts are on a very slick gym floor, with the basketball, volleyball lines to compete with.

I advise people going to Amherst to play as much tennis as possible. And that includes hitting after hours and especially doing the round robins doubles in the evening. This is your one opportunity to get totally immersed in tennis, take advantage of it.

There always seems to be one group of 4.0/4.5 players (three plus one person who doesn't quite belong). People do complain that there aren't enough advanced players. And that's too bad. Although one year, there was this woman who was on her college team in Canada. She was easily the best in that group. Another year, a 4.5 played one of the coaches, Tona (who's not there any more), for a contribution to Maureen's breast cancer charity. The player was spotted 5 games and lost the set 5-6.

And I don't blame you for not wanting to go out drinking. After seven hours of tennis ... and seven hours the next day, you want to be fit. I remember one week, with temps in the upper 90s, all I could do was sit and stare at my Powerade in the cafeteria. Eating solid food would require too great an effort.

07-06-2006, 09:50 AM

Yeah I am actually working for Mo now and I'm going back to Amherst every weekend for the next 4 weeks. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

When I first went there, I didn't know anyone but I got to know the staff pretty well. I pretty much hang out at Davis when I'm not getting some work done. When you get your private lesson, take it with Marlon. He's a good friend of mine and he's by far the best coach there.

Take care

07-06-2006, 09:55 AM
Noah's a fantastic coach as well, but Marlon is the #1 player in his DI college. Talk to you soon.

Joe Average
07-06-2006, 10:44 AM
Lee, every weekend? That's a lot of $$$, buddy,

Good to know about Marlon. He must be new because he wasn't there a couple of years ago when I last visted. And paying for a private with Reiny makes sense. It's just that I'm usually too damned tired.

07-06-2006, 10:52 AM
Nah, I am not going to attend the camp every weekend. I am making a website for the camp and i am doing some work for Mo's charity. I am probably just going to hit with Marlon after he's done with the camp or something.

Joe Average
07-06-2006, 11:04 AM
I had Errol the last two times. A really nice guy (he may be Mo's brother). We were doing volley drills, one time, with me at the baseline. He hit seven or eight straight volleys back to me with his racquet behind his back (and much to the delight of those watching. I thought, at first, that they were watching me. Of course I was helping him out a little by hitting to his backhand side). He also helped straighten out my open-stance forehand. Errol stood just on the other side of the net, with me at the baseline, and asked, with ball in hand, to hit the ball back to him. I was a little confused but did it anyway. I tossed the ball up a few inches above my waist and hit it back. He said ... perfect, that's your forehand. And he was right. I wasn't extending the racquet into the court enough. In any event, after two times, I figure I'm ripe for a change of instructor.

07-07-2006, 01:10 PM
You mean the camp in Amherst, MA, right? I went to that one last year, and I think it really improved my skills. That camp was actually what gave me the drive and passion to improve my tennis game. I must say, the food in the Amherst cafeteria is surprisingly good as well (considering it's a college cafeteria) ;)

07-07-2006, 08:15 PM
Yeah the food is great.

I am back in Amherst for the weekend. Joe, are you in town?

Joe Average
07-07-2006, 09:23 PM
Nope. The following week. How's the weather? I've been monitoring it and looking long-range as far as the Weather Channel will allow. I don't mind playing indoors, as long it's at Smith and not Amherst. I really need to straighten out some problems with my serve.

I must say, the food in the Amherst cafeteria is surprisingly good as well (considering it's a college cafeteria) ;)

It's actually not that bad. The pizza is not exactly Famous Ray's, but it'll do when nothing else looks appealing, and when you can wrest a slice from the juniors.

07-07-2006, 11:02 PM
Joe, the weather is looking lovely for the weekend. I am not sure if i'll be here next weekend but if i can get a ride from mo's sister, I'll most likely come up again. keep in touch and lookin forward to hitting with you soon.

07-10-2006, 08:03 AM
Just got back from another weekend at Amherst. Took about 80 pictures as I am about to get started on the website. The URL is www.tennisamherst.com and the website should be up next week. If you are interested in attending the camp, I will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.


07-10-2006, 08:45 AM
BoxingGuy, this one is for you buddy ;)


And yes, I am ready for your challenge anytime :D

07-13-2006, 08:02 AM


check it out!!

07-13-2006, 09:23 AM
Looks good lee, you seem to be pretty good with design. Post some pics of the layout, so we can give you some c+c.

07-13-2006, 12:45 PM
Yeah, the site will be up this weekend. I still have so much to work on regarding the contents. I'm running out of time.

Hey, if you are interested in attending the camp, let me know. I'll be able to hook you up with a nice package if you know what I'm talkin about.

07-13-2006, 02:58 PM
I was considering it, but my parents signed me up for a villanova one instead. I wish i still had the money, otherwise i'd attend amherst as well. I'll keep your offer in mind, though!

07-15-2006, 09:51 PM
I'm down for the offer~ whatcha got? :-)

07-15-2006, 11:04 PM
chapufo1, send me an email to discuss this privately. please keep in mind that the last week of camp is August 5-6. thanks!

07-16-2006, 10:14 AM
chapufo1, send me an email to discuss this privately. please keep in mind that the last week of camp is August 5-6. thanks!

Sent you an e-mail. :p

Geezer Guy
07-17-2006, 12:37 PM
I'll be able to hook you up with a nice package if you know what I'm talkin about.

I'm down for the offer~ whatcha got? :-)

Jeez - can you guys do this somewhere else?

07-19-2006, 09:41 PM
Jeez - can you guys do this somewhere else?

I am just trying to help a fellow TW member out. He's trying to get started in tennis and I happen to work for a tennis camp. It's not like I am scamming or trying to make money off him.

I have already set up a package for him and he's going to the camp this weekend. Ask him when he comes back.

Geezer Guy
07-20-2006, 09:45 AM
Oh, I thought you meant the other kind of package.

07-25-2006, 07:21 AM
Hi guys, I just got back from Amherst and I have to say I had a great time. The staff there are very enthusiastic and nice and the food is great too. The room that I stayed at was incredibly spacious and cozy. In terms of tennis, I went when there were only about 3 other campers which kinda meant that it was a private lesson for the entire time which is of course great. But I didn't get to hit with other campers which was a shame (the other 3 campers were too old). Overall, I think it did help my tennis a bit but packing 5 hours of tennis in one day might not be the best way to improve. Rather, playing little bit by little everyday would be better. Nevertheless, I really did enjoy it and recommend this camp to anyone who's looking for a good time while playing tennis and of course some great instruction.


07-26-2006, 09:47 AM
Hey guys, I am going back to Amherst this weekend. Anyone from NY going to Amherst on Friday can give me a ride? Thank you.