Tennis camp Central NJ

Hey guys,

I wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations for a summer tennis camp for a Junior. My daughter is 16 and plays HS tennis and does not get much
of pro/official training. She just doesn't do well with 1 on 1 type situation and a group thing usually is a waste of time from what you get out of it.
She's a good player but not very high level, she's been playing for 6 years now and has good strokes so just needs some tweaks and more game time. I wanted to see if there was anything
worthwhile available in my area to give her more opportunities to play. Any recommendations for this age group in Central NJ ?
I saw some Nike Lawrenceville camp or Hightstown Adidas sponsored camp, but not sure if these are any better than your typical run of the mill local tennis facility camps.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I am confused .... she doesn't do well with 1-on-1 coaching and doesn't do well in a group either? that is going to be difficult when picking any camp

This has a pretty comprehensive list of camps all over the world .... as you are in NJ there are lots of nearby places as well that would be a short drive (by West coast standards at least)

https://www.worldtennistravel.com/tennis-camps

You could also just create your own "camp" through your local club. Find a pro she likes, set up a week or two weeks worth of private lessons and maybe a hitting partner or two from her team .... and you have just made her a custom "camp"
 

jersey34tennis

Semi-Pro
the new club in ocean. there's a guy named pat who's a solid pro. will work you hard and can hit to boot. no investment on my part to share who I think will help a fellow tennis junkie
 
Thanks all.
To @OnTheLine, I meant she does better in groups or rather when any critique is not coming just at her, lol.
Typical group programs at local tennis places, at least from what I can tell, are not very good, too many kids to a pro, or too many kids on court, or to much of
difference skill wise between the groups, drills not good enough, etc., etc.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Thanks all.
To @OnTheLine, I meant she does better in groups or rather when any critique is not coming just at her, lol.
Typical group programs at local tennis places, at least from what I can tell, are not very good, too many kids to a pro, or too many kids on court, or to much of
difference skill wise between the groups, drills not good enough, etc., etc.
Got it .... In that case, coordinate with a few other kids from her HS team .... create a series of semi-privates with a local pro, split the costs ... could be a great experience for everyone
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Thanks all.
To @OnTheLine, I meant she does better in groups or rather when any critique is not coming just at her, lol.
Typical group programs at local tennis places, at least from what I can tell, are not very good, too many kids to a pro, or too many kids on court, or to much of
difference skill wise between the groups, drills not good enough, etc., etc.
I think the boys coach at West Windsor Plainsboro HS runs a camp in the summertime. They are always a powerhouse HS team, so that may be something to look into.
 
Group lessons are a total waste of money.

I don't even want to use the word lesson, since you're not taught jack.
They are entertainment for retired folks.

Serious players do not take group lessons.
Tell her to learn to deal with 1-1 coaching.
 
Thanks all.
To @OnTheLine, I meant she does better in groups or rather when any critique is not coming just at her, lol.
Does it matter how the critique is offered or how objective it is [ie "You're doing X. I want you to try to do Y. The reason is ..."]?

For example, some people are just terrible at giving feedback, like someone trying to type with boxing gloves on: they lack all subtlety. They also lack patience: if the student doesn't get it immediately, they just talk more loudly [as if hearing was the problem].

Others are excellent at making the criticism constructive and process-oriented rather than blame-oriented.

Maybe she's just had too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Because if she can't handle criticism directed at her, she also won't benefit from what that criticism is meant to correct.

Typical group programs at local tennis places, at least from what I can tell, are not very good, too many kids to a pro, or too many kids on court, or to much of
difference skill wise between the groups, drills not good enough, etc., etc.
You've listed all of the cons of group programs, none of which exist with 1:1 coaching. You and she will have to decide what's a better investment of time.
 
Group lessons are a total waste of money.

I don't even want to use the word lesson, since you're not taught jack.
They are entertainment for retired folks.

Serious players do not take group lessons.
Tell her to learn to deal with 1-1 coaching.
Completely disagree as I've learned a good deal from group lessons. I don't do it for entertainment nor am I retired.

"Serious" is mis-used, IMO: plenty are serious enough to invest time and effort into the game that don't necessarily take 1:1 lessons. For me, that's not the threshold which defines "serious"; I guess I have lower standards.
 
I tried few pros with her and we did find one who was a great fit. Unfortunately that lasted very short time as the person went on to become head coach in a reputable college and with other commitments it meant no time left for us unfortunately. So it's not totally that she can't use 1:1 but finding good fit was difficult and now I'm at a loss. Also, she's not into this to become high level college type player. It's more of just being competitive in more social setup and making the singles on her HS team as last year she was playing doubles but wants to go the next step. We're doing this mostly for fun, and I don't mind spending some money to get her improved while she's enjoying it. Obviously not looking to make big commitment s since she's just not the person whose all that into becoming a great player. If there was a decent camp nearby I'd sign her so she can socialize as well as learn something, I just don't want it to be a total waste tennis wise as she posses some good skill already so need something more involved and better suited for HS tennis player.
 
Completely disagree as I've learned a good deal from group lessons. I don't do it for entertainment nor am I retired.
.
I believe your experience is the rare exception.

I have never gotten a single useful tip in a "clinic"
What kind of analysis and feedback are you going to get with 7 other people standing around?
None, that's what.

Clinics are chaperoned point games, like babysitting kids.
A clinic can be run by someone who literally has never played tennis.
Total and absolute waste of time and money.

Further, if level is below 4.5,
you're just reinforcing broken strokes into muscle memory.
You're better off not even playing, at that point.

And even if you got a useful tip, it's useless unless you drill it for 100's of reps.
Otherwise, you do it twice, then go back to your old habits.

The proof?
People take 3.0 level clinics for decades and never leave 3.0
People take 3.5 level clinics for decades and never leave 3.5
If they do get better, it's never because of the clinic.

$50 clinic weekly is $2000/year. $10k in 5 years, with zero improvement. Same garbage strokes.
Take that same $2000, and allocate it toward 40 private lessons, and you will see a true difference.

IMHO, group lessons/clinics are a horrendous waste of money, assuming you're trying to become a better player
 
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I believe your experience is the rare exception.
Only a large enough response from others can confirm that.

I have never gotten a single useful tip in a "clinic"
They just play chaperone point games, like babysitting kids.
Have you ever asked?

Many clinics are not geared towards instruction but if you ask, you will usually get a good answer.

Group lessons are different and are absolutely based on instruction.

A clinic can be run by someone who literally has never played tennis.
Total and absolute waste of time and money.
I've never been in a clinic run by a non-tennis player. But as long as the others participating were my level, we could make it work.

Further, if level is below 4.5,
you're just reinforcing broken strokes into muscle memory.
Better off not even playing, at that point.
I don't know if 4.5 is the Rubicon; I'm a 4.5 and I'm sure I re-enforce bad habits.

And even if you got a useful tip, it's useless unless you drill it for 100's of reps.
Otherwise, you do it twice, then go back to your old habits.

The proof?
People take 3.0 level clinics for decades and never leave 3.0
$50 clinic weekly is $2000/year. Pissed down the toilet.
$10k in 5 years, with zero improvement.
Take that same $2000, and allocate it toward 40 private lessons, and you will see a true difference.
You could make the same claim for people who take lessons and also see no improvement; likely it's the commitment level of the student, not the setting, that is the dominant variable.

Do I think private lessons are more effective? Definitely.
Do I think that people take them but don't "do their homework"? Definitely.

IMHO, group lessons/clinics are a horrendous waste of money, assuming you're trying to become a better player
We'll agree to disagree.
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
I'm 50/50 on group lessons..I am teaching my 8 year old grandson for 4 years now and he was on track with topspin forehand/one handed backhand volleys all the professional way..He then lost interest and didn't listen to me as much...Now he's taking a group lesson with some decent kids and it's renewed his interest...But his strokes are deteriorating since they make him play more control games/keep the ball in play rather than hitting out more...
 
IMHO, group lessons/clinics are a horrendous waste of money, assuming you're trying to become a better player
I've taken group lessons from a guy who was on 2 Div I National Championship teams [he wasn't a top player but he wasn't a benchwarmer either]; he knows his stuff.

Why would the information he dispenses during a group lesson be worthless whereas the same information in a private lesson be worthwhile?

Yes, the private lesson can be 100% tailored to the student whereas the group one is necessarily more generic but assuming we're about the same level, the students are going to have more or less similar problems. And the instructor can customize on-the-fly for different people just like he would when conducting a private lesson with one student followed by another private lesson with a different student.

Maybe your experience is limited to clinics where ball-feeding and keeping score are the main requirements. I'm not talking about those kinds of settings.
 
But his strokes are deteriorating since they make him play more control games/keep the ball in play rather than hitting out more...
I wouldn't necessarily say his strokes are deteriorating so much as the emphasis is on a different aspect [control vs power]. So while his power might be deteriorating, his control is blossoming. Whether this is good is another matter.
 
Only a large enough response from others can confirm that.
We'll agree to disagree.
The problem is Dunning Kruger.

And, people get bad coaching (or none at all) and do not even know it.

Ever clinic I've ever observed shows to me the players are going backwards in their development
by grooving broken strokes into muscle memory, with zero correction or drill.
Just amusing games for bored kids and grannies.

Pros don't take group clinics.
People buy their rackets and shoes, but then train nothing like pros.

The difference in private lessons is that you're drilling and isolating and doing the reps during the lesson.
I don't take lessons for "tips" That's idiotic after learning the basics.
Lessons are to do 100's of correct reps with live feedback!
So, you can take lessons and not do a lick of HW, and you will absolutely start to develop the right muscle memory.
That is assuming you have a decent coach.
Most coaches can't coach worth a **** since they do nothing but coach 2.0 level grannies and children all day.

I love your well thought out debates!
But yes, agree to disagree!
 
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I'm 50/50 on group lessons..I am teaching my 8 year old grandson for 4 years now and he was on track with topspin forehand/one handed backhand volleys all the professional way..He then lost interest and didn't listen to me as much...Now he's taking a group lesson with some decent kids and it's renewed his interest...But his strokes are deteriorating since they make him play more control games/keep the ball in play rather than hitting out more...
This is the eternal debate I have in my head when I see people in groups/clinics.
On the one hand, your group kid is at least playing, so that's good.
On the other hand, he is developing junk mechanics, so he's going backwards.
Clinics only reinforce bad habits that will need to be broken later, if he ever gets serious.

The bottom line is that tennis is work. Very hard work.
Training a D1 bound colllege kid requires both: Playing, and playing correctly.
Very few people ever do both.
 
I've taken group lessons from a guy who was on 2 Div I National Championship teams [he wasn't a top player but he wasn't a benchwarmer either]; he knows his stuff.

.
Let me be clear.
Being in a clinic run by Federer himself is a total and complete waste of time.
You will walk out with no difference in your game. None. Zero. Zilch.

Tennis is not about "tips"
Tips are 1%.
If tips meant anything, everyone who ever watched a YouTube video would be a 5.0

The 99% is doing 100,000,000 correct reps.
 
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Maybe your experience is limited to clinics where ball-feeding and keeping score are the main requirements. I'm not talking about those kinds of settings.
I've never seen any other kind of clinic or group lesson.
Even an "advanced" 4.5+ clinic I attended was exactly that: Ball feed and keep score.
A paralyzed librarian could have run the clinic.

I think the only people who should do clinics are those who are already experts
and simply want a venue for hitting balls. For that, I'd call it "group drilling"
But, for anyone who is still developing strokes, clinics is a waste of their time and money.
No feedback. No stroke correction. No drilling correct reps.
Just reinforcing bad habits. Utility is either zero or negative.
 
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This is the eternal debate I have in my head when I see people in groups/clinics.
On the one hand, your group kid is at least playing, so that's good.
On the other hand, he is developing junk mechanics, so he's going backwards.
Clinics only reinforce bad habits that will need to be broken later, if he ever gets serious.

The bottom line is that tennis is work. Very hard work.
Training a D1 bound colllege kid requires both: Playing, and playing correctly.
Very few people ever do both.
OP already stated "she's not into this to become high level college type player. It's more of just being competitive in more social setup and making the singles on her HS team as last year she was playing doubles but wants to go the next step. We're doing this mostly for fun, and I don't mind spending some money to get her improved while she's enjoying it."

@comeback never stated whether the goal was D1.

And of the people who do both, most of them never make it to D1 either because it's so competitive.
 
When I use the term D1, I do not mean literally.
I mean someone who plays "correct tennis"
I could just as well have said 4.5 level.

When I see kids in clinics, I see them arming the ball with zero guidance, training, or feedback.
Just ball feeds and keeping track of score.
I think to myself, they are going backwards, if they ever intend on playing real tennis.

If you're enjoying it, you're doing it wrong.
You know why pros break down and cry when they win?
B/c of the blood, sweat, and tears they shed to get there.
Not because they had fun clinics with friends.
Want to be great at tennis?
You need to leave your friends and family and move into a tennis camp in Siberia.
Or Florida. LOL!
 
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Oh boy, didn't see this going for vs against clinics. All I can say is that in general I agree 1:1 or semi private would be better for improving player. I was at a clinic in Hilton Head for adults while my daughter was doing one with juniors while on vacation. I thought that was much better than any local clinic I have seen in NJ. As such I think there is place for them if you can find the right instructor thus my inquiry here..
 

quarterback

New User
Depending on where you are in central Jersey, there should be programs at the Van Blake Tennis Center in Plainfield, that are affordable and attract kids from all over the region, because there are sixteen public courts. Lots of private coaches and programs use those courts for various things, throughout the year. If you're looking for a sleepaway camp, Windridge Tennis Camp in Roxbury, VT is a fantastic place for a kid to go for two weeks and come back with a lot more exposure to really good tennis and improve rapidly. (Admittedly, these are two options on different price spectrums, but wanted to offer it anyway.)
 

sovertennis

Semi-Pro
Thanks all.
To @OnTheLine, I meant she does better in groups or rather when any critique is not coming just at her, lol.
Typical group programs at local tennis places, at least from what I can tell, are not very good, too many kids to a pro, or too many kids on court, or to much of
difference skill wise between the groups, drills not good enough, etc., etc.
Too many kids per court/coach is typical of the Nike and adidas camps, in my experience, and the coaches are generally college kids with little coaching experience and motivation.
 
Too many kids per court/coach is typical of the Nike and adidas camps, in my experience, and the coaches are generally college kids with little coaching experience and motivation.
Oh no, I already signed her up for one week of these in Lawrenceville private school. Oh well, if it sucks at least it's no different than anything other I've seen I guess.
 

sovertennis

Semi-Pro
Oh no, I already signed her up for one week of these in Lawrenceville private school. Oh well, if it sucks at least it's no different than anything other I've seen I guess.
Well, let's hope she makes some friends and loves the experience. My opinion of the Nike camps is based on my observations when I coached at a college in New England, and they would inhabit the courts for a week. I hope it goes well for you and your daughter.
 

swizzy

Hall of Fame
she would do well with playing regularly with a few different people who are better than her and who also play different styles. figuring out other peoples games is a skill along with the challenge of having to up your own game will be excellent teachers for her. 6 years is quite a bit of tennis and just pushing yourself is a great way to learn while simply enjoying the game.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Heh... clinics/group lessons generally are a waste of time to an individual bent on serious improvement of their game. They can be a good social outlet and maybe if they're tactics based (i.e. doubles strategies), can add some value to your tactical game, but generally speaking, you're not going to get any worthwhile individual instruction on your specific technique in a clinic. An exception could be a half-day deal or something like that, or maybe even a multi-day clinic... but most people doing "clinics" aren't doing that, they're doing 1 hour "group lessons". Around here (nortern suburbs of Atlanta, GA) "clinics" mostly mean group lessons focused on things like doubles tactics and strategies. Many of the 3.0-4.0 teams have "group lessons" which cost them about $10/person and last an hour.

Anecdote: Two nights ago my wife's senior women's dubs team had practice. I had already done my workout for the day and my wife asked me if I'd be willing to feed volleys to the women on the other court, while the rest of the team rotated with short sets and point play on one court. This is the type of practice feeding I do with my wife when it's just the two of us out on the courts together. So I was feeding volleys to these 3.0 women all 45 to 50 years old, most of whom have been taking "group lessons" and "clinics" for years at $10/hour with no other personal 1 on 1 lessons. Now I'm no tennis pro, so my feeds were not particularly consistent to a level that you'd want to pay money for, but I can feed volleys decently enough that each woman got to hit at least 75 volleys varying from FH to BH to shoulder height to dippers below the net level. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM that had been doing these "group lessons" and "clinics" for all these years had really honestly terrible volleys... I was passing on to them what my coaches have told me about volley technique basics (most of them didn't even know to hold a continental grip, and half of them looked at me with blank stares when I said "hold a continental grip") and they all seemed to take the instruction well, and every single one of them thanked me profusely and compared this bit of drilling positively to their own experiences in the group lessons/clinics where they might hit 5 or 10 volleys total, with only a word or two of personal feedback from the coach...

If you're looking to improve your personal technique, 1 on 1 coaching with the same coach is the most efficient way to get the "instruction" you need for proper technique (the reps you need in order to cement what you learned from your coach are on you - and best achieved through drilling rather than match play for the most part). Most of the coaches I know are happy to do deals on their lessons - like pay for 5, get a 6th free or something similar.
 
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R1FF

Semi-Pro
Im ditching the clinics. They are a complete waste of my time. It’s mostly social tennis players. Nobody that I can compete against & WAY too doubles oriented. I was losing my edge and getting lazy (from playing too many doubles drills). Also, these clinics are just a very inefficient use of time since we all have to share the courts & take turns.
 
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