Joe Dinoffer thinks outside the box in creating teaching tools for the tennis court.
If I had an impact in the last dozen years in the tennis industry, it would be in challenging conventional methods of teaching to help pros, coaches. and students alike to teach and learn more effectively, while having more fun.”
In PTR/USPTA Master Professional Joe Dinoffer’s own words, that is what he has dedicated his time, energy, and passion to. And the product is something to be proud of. His company, Oncourt Offcourt, serves the tennis industry with teaching aids and court equipment, in addition to providing books, videos, and teaching aids for physical education.
Involved with the sport since his youth and through college, Dinoffer, 52, was senior vice president of Peter Burwash International for 10 years starting in 1975. He traveled to 50 countries, conducting clinics and playing exhibitions.
In 1987, Dinoffer settled in his hometown of Dallas, where he taught tennis for 10 years. His experiences planted the seed for the launch of Oncourt Offcourt (www.oncourtoffcourt.com). “It was a very creative 10 years,” he says, “full of on-court clinical studies and research into how people learn and how to facilitate and speed up the learning process, while emotionally and psychologically creating an environment optimal for learning.”
Dinoffer has created 150 teaching aids, the very first known as “The Rope Zone,” a visualization tool used to create on-court target areas. “People should create highly visual target areas that players can successfully hit more often than not,” he says.
Relying on his experience and expertise, Dinoffer has added court equipment to the Oncourt Offcourt catalog. “When you teach tennis for 30 years, you learn what equipment would be helpful and what equipment can be improved upon that already exists,” he says.
The list of Dinoffer’s contributions to the sport seems endless, and includes numerous books and videotapes, in addition to at least 20 speaking appearances a year at industry conferences internationally in English, Spanish, and German. “He is well respected not only in this country, but all over the world,” says Iñaki Balzola, PTR International Director. (Dinoffer also is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.)
One very special endeavor keeps him on the court at least 15 hours a week — teaching his 12-year-old daughter Kalindi the sport he has dedicated his life to. “Kalindi is as crazy about tennis as anyone I’ve ever met in my life,” says Dinoffer.
The start of Kalindi’s tennis career at 10 years old is chronicled on the 10-episode television series “Fast Lane Tennis,” which has aired on The Tennis Channel and is available on DVD. “She learns exclusively through the use of visual and kinesthetic training aids,” Dinoffer explains. “We use very little verbal learning instruction.”
Dinoffer says that he is most passionate about learning and sharing knowledge. “All of us in the industry can continue to improve how we share our love for tennis,” he says.
According to Fred Viancos, USPTA director of professional development, there are certain training aids that, if not carried by Oncourt Offcourt, would not be available on the market today. “Joe has made a huge contribution to the day-to-day teaching of other professionals,” Viancos says.
“Retention is the big challenge that the industry faces,” says Dinoffer. “If the teaching pros and coaches can create an atmosphere that will build self-esteem while it improves skills and allows people to have so much fun that they never stop smiling while they’re playing, we will all come out winners.
“I think my motivation is to contribute toward that goal.”
This is the fourth of six installments on the teaching pros who hold Master Pro certifications from both the PTR and the USPTA.
Making It Fun — And Educational
Here are Joe Dinoffer’s picks as some of the top training and target aids from his company, Oncourt Offcourt:
- Spin Doctor ($29.95): Helps teach topspin and backspin for ground strokes, and spin serves.
- Volley Arrow ($59.95): Foam arrow visually teaches how the racquet angle at contact creates the arc and direction of the ball. Works for forehands and backhands.
- Flex Trainer ($59.95): Helps players of all ages and abilities improve their balance and movement skills, by pulling players into a lower “playing height.”
- Sport Ladder ($79.95): The rounded-top rungs guide athletes to pick up their feet for ideal movement biometrics.
- Airzone ($99.95): A portable air target system that creates primary target areas for improved focus.
- Stoplight Cones ($29.95): Offer hundreds of running and targeting drill and game opportunities.
- Long Lines ($24.95): Guides players to correct court position. They can also be used to create target areas and guide players close in to the net in doubles.
See all articles by Kristen Daley
About the Author
Kristen Daley is a contributing editor for Tennis Industry magazine.