2007 USPTA member of the year: Mike Van Zutphen
With 30 years of experience in instructional tennis program management, USPTA Master Pro Mike Van Zutphen of Mesa, Ariz., has a résumé that fills four pages. Among his qualification highlights, however, one stands out: “I know which ladies take cream in their coffee.”
“Anytime I get a beginner or new customer, I go to the nth degree to take care of that person,” says Van Zutphen, founder of the Arizona Tennis Association and director of tennis at the Mesa Country Club for 14 years. With practice and encouragement, he notes, a beginner evolves into an intermediate and then advanced player who may take lessons, play in leagues and club tournaments, purchase equipment and recruit friends to join the fun.
While some coaches focus on one level of player, Van Zutphen has utilized the USPTA’s resources to offer programming for the complete spectrum: from the players in the Arizona Special Olympics tennis division he founded and directed for 25 years, to protégé Wesley Whitehouse, the 1997 junior Wimbledon champion who finished within the top 400 in 2006 with wins over Marat Safin and Justin Gimelstob.
Because of his dedication to the organization and profession, Van Zutphen is RSI’s 2007 USPTA Member of the Year.
“Mike, a former Southwest Division president, is a great supporter of the USPTA,” says CEO Tim Heckler. “He is a dynamic teaching pro who contributes to the sport through teaching, administration and volunteering. We are truly pleased to have such an outstanding member who is committed to growing the game in all aspects.”
Tips for success
- Introduce yourself. Share details of your tennis experience along with your enthusiasm for teaching this particular player in this particular class.
- Learn each player’s unique challenges. Offer encouragement and support in addition to technical adjustments.
- Say thank you. Tell players you hope to see them in future classes. If they have a scheduling conflict, offer private lessons.
See all articles by Cynthia Cantrell
About the Author
Cynthia Cantrell is a contributing editor of RSI magazine.