September 14, 2012
Stepping onto the court with what he calls 'the young guns' seems to be just what the doctor ordered for tennis instructor Bradley Bain.
Bain can now call himself a certified level two instructor. He is qualified to train players competing on any level in the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Bain is just the second Bahamian to achieve the certification, touring professional player Marvin Rolle being the first. Bain achieved the honor late last month.
"It was an intense course," he said. "At the time I did it there were about 17-18 participants and more than half of them had either played Division I tennis in college or had an extensive ITF junior careers, whether it was through training camps or tournaments. I was going up against kids who had played in the region at very high levels, so from a technical standpoint, they were better than me, or more sound in their technique. I came from basketball, softball, track and field... not that long tennis background, so it was a bit of a challenge for me.
"The teaching part of it was very easy. We had to do group sessions and individual sessions. We had to critique some of the participants in terms of their strengths and weaknesses and what is needed to correct those weaknesses. That stuff came fairly easily because I did quite a bit of that with the United States professional association."
Bain struggled when trying to execute the different strokes used in the game. Unlike his fellow classmates, who he said did it with ease because of their continuous play, he had to come home and practice what he needed before taking the physical test. The exam is divided into two sections, technical and physical.
He said: "The last part was really good, but my stroke could not match up to the other kids. They simply played more tennis than me, so I came back home and worked on my stroke because the exam, it covered a lot. There was a written exam which covered the teaching aspect, focusing on different parts of the game, and then you had the physical aspect where I had to execute the serve, a slice or drop shot. You had to give an individual lesson working with the juniors, showing how they can improve their games, so the course is pretty intense especially since it was held around the Caribbean, but it was the typical international tennis exam. In my experience it is normally five to six parts and you have to pass all of them in order to get the certification. I fell short on the technique part which is the stroke production. I can teach it well but since tennis was not in my background, or I am not the most efficient I had to come back and work on that part. I had to score 3.0 or over and on my first attempt I got a 2.8. I did that part over and I passed."
Now that he has gotten the certification in hand Bain plans to launch an extensive training program catering to all interested in playing tennis. Working closely with the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), Bain believes that more players will get opportunities to play in more tournaments and will have that basic training where they will be able to advance to finals.
"The thing is, I have gone from very basic beginners. I mean three and four-year-olds all the way to kids who are playing advanced ITF tournaments," he confirmed. "I have that range in terms of coaching. I have not coached any senior athlete or person playing on that level before but I have worked with them in an arena like Davis Cup or even Futures. Hopefully next year we will be moving in that direction where a few of our older players will try to play in Futures events. Having the certification means I can now go from A-Z in terms of coaching."
The BLTA will be launching its complete schedule this weekend. Several high grade tournaments are expected to be listed.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian