By Lisa Minihan, Director of Athletic Operations Oak Tree Country Club
I was faced with my most hated task as a tournament director. I had to split a 3-way tie for first place in the Girls U10 Orange draw. I had three beautiful girls looking up at me and six hopeful eyes watching every click of my button. Two girls would go home with trophies that day. One would not. I announced the winners and then sympathetically hugged the player who received no award. She was brave in front of me, but I knew she was just holding it in until she was safe with her mother in a private space.
This same little girl was spending the night in our area and coming back for the U10 Orange EDC camp at Oak Tree the very next day. Her mother said she had been on the losing end of a 3-way tie more than once in her short tennis career. I knew their hotel room that evening was filled with tears and disappointment, but this brave little girl showed up for her high performance camp the next morning despite her disappointing day before.
At the player meeting that morning, Coach Eric Wedemeyer, the USTA Missouri Valley EDC Lead Coach, discussed the structure of the camp and the agenda for the day. Each EDC camp has a technical focus – ground strokes, serves, athletic development are all examples. But more importantly, each camp has a character trait focus as well. Coach Wedemeyer announced that day’s focus word – RESILIENT. The players were briefed on the meaning of resiliency and encouraged to demonstrate that trait throughout the day.
The camp coaches watched as this same young competitor that has faced a heartbreaking loss the day before worked as hard as she ever has at the previous camps. She was determined. She was confident. She was tough. She was positive. She was focused. Guess who won the character trait award for resiliency that day? Not only did she receive an award that was more valuable that the little trophies she will earn dozens of in her future, but she also learned a very valuable life lesson. She learned to be a competitor. She learned what it meant to be resilient.
That is what the EDC camps are all about to me. The coaches can work on the continental grip. They can teach your child how to hit a good return. The players meet and train with players from all over Oklahoma. They build relationships and get to participate in team activities. These are all fantastic benefits of being selected for the EDC camps. Snack time is pretty great too. However, the moments when young players are able to turn real world experience into life learning skills that help them on the tennis court and in life are the moments that make the EDC camps truly special.
USTA Oklahoma will be hosting a one-day EDC camp for Green U10 players on Sunday, November 20th from 1-6 pm. Players can register for the event on TennisLink now. The camps focus will be changing defense to offense and coping with pressure.