Any Tennis Player’s Second Home
By: Isaac Vasquez
Can you imagine a tennis experience so great that has you planning your next visit before you leave? I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience this. I remember as a kid wishing and dreaming that I could go to camp every year. The first time I came as a junior tennis player I instantly knew I would be back some way somehow. This place has a magical vibe to it. Here, you can meet life time friends, improve your tennis game, and have a time you will never forget.
This year was my first time back to John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in the last 5 years. This time was a bit different though. Instead of being a camper, I was a counselor. I currently teach tennis next door at John Newcombe Country Club and when I get the chance to go help teach at the ranch I always get excited.
John Newcombe Tennis Ranch has kids summer camp, adult week long camps, adult weekend camps, and special event camps. I have been lucky enough to experience a piece of all of it. During the summer, I helped work one of the most well-known summer camps in the country. Sunday check in day came and the staff meeting had me ready to go. Throughout the week, the energy is unreal. It was unreal to work along some great people and see what it is like to be running a camp with 150 campers. The summer camp goes until the end of the week and each day relationships just build more and more. Campers meet other campers that they talk to for life and have a special connection because of the camp experience. The energy never dies and although it may seem like a long tiring week, it is all worth it.
As a counselor, it is fun to participate in all the evening activities with the campers and create a bond. One of the best nights is Get Newked night. The campers and counselors all dress up and form teams to compete in a fun target hitting night. Throughout the activity there is plenty of loud music, dancing, and singing. When the last night of camp comes around there is a talent show followed by a closing ceremony full of bitter sweet goodbyes. Not only is the summer camp with the campers great, but I had the opportunity to help with the junior academy players as well. It is an amazing learning experience working with some great people like Fossil Phil. There is never a bad day being around at the ranch. The academy has some really high level players as well as some lower level competitors. It was good to learn how to encourage the players better and pick at their brains during match play.
I am very fortunate to also be able to help with adult weekend camps and the special fantasy camp. Going into it I somewhat knew what to expect because I knew the ranch culture, but I was wondering how it was going to be since they are adults. Little did I know it is the same energy and the adults can even act like kids at time and let loose. The Pros at The Ranch do a great job working as a team to get everything prepared for the guests. I do not look forward to dirty jobs, but when you turn around and see directors doing the same it gives me motivation to keep going. Having the team family team mentality does make things easy and more enjoyable. The guest were always in such good spirits and I have met some interesting people from all over the world. It is a good weekend filled with fun people who are all willing to learn. Some may seem more serious than others, but once karaoke night comes along almost everyone lets loose. The next day may be cloudy, but it is funny to see who had a really good time the night before and still has sunglasses on. Working a weekend at the ranch is great, but one of the most unreal tennis experiences is fantasy camp.
During Fantasy Camp, it is easy to see the special bond in the group of guest that come in. I have never in my life had to prepare so much for it. The camp brings in some high-end people and at first I was nervous thinking how am I going to please these people and win them over. That came so much easier than I thought though. The guys were all there to have a great time and there was not once person I met that had any bit of negative energy. Unfortunately, I was only able to help out for a couple days before flying out to Utah. I would love to be able to have the opportunity to be there all week. I have friends that did it and they still talk about how incredible it is. They say to was a once in a life time tennis opportunity. One day I hope to work along side 10 tennis legends and see their style of coaching. It is incredible to see how the tennis community brings people together so easily. I feel so lucky to experience the ranch and everything it has to offer. I would recommend a visit to any tennis player.