Grassroots Champion of the Year: Ellen Miller
Talk to teaching pro Ellen Miller about tennis, and her passion for the sport, and for spreading the word about it, overtakes you. Whether youngsters or adults, she says forcefully, “Their ‘first touch’ of tennis has to be really good, or they won’t come back.”
Miller, who lives in Washington, D.C., devotes her time to helping people have not only that great “first touch” of tennis, but also every subsequent touch with the game. And for 2014, she is Tennis Industry’s Grassroots Champion of the Year.
“I’m a big fan of Ellen’s,” says USTA Director of Coach Education Kirk Anderson. “She does a great job and is passionate about teaching. She really understands it.”
Certified by the PTR, USPTA and USTA High Performance, Miller played tennis at Rice University and has a master’s in elementary education. And she firmly believes in the 10 and Under Tennis methodology. “Why do people play? To hit a ball and have fun with others,” she says. “And if that ball is too fast for them, we need to figure out another way to do it.” That’s why one of Miller’s passions is using red, orange and green balls for all ages.
Miller is a Youth Tennis workshop faculty member and a frequent presenter at provider events. She also contributed significantly to the Coach Youth Tennis courses and videos
“Tennis has evolved to using low-compression balls, smaller courts, smaller racquets,” she says. “That’s where the game is going to take off.”
— Peter Francesconi
Tips for success
- Ask people for help. “My ‘willingness to be stupid,’ has really helped me out,” says Miller.
- The game is changing all the time, so stay current with education.
- Be willing to steal good ideas and adapt them to your own situation.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.
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