Updated: Jun 6
Summer is a great time to work on improving your game! I love to set summer goals and work on specific parts of my game that need improvement. I use the three months of summer to try new racquets, new techniques, and experiment with my game. This summer I decided to attend a Nike Summer Camp in Malibu, California and invited 7 of my closest friends to come along. The camp is held at the coastal Pepperdine University campus. Summer, in Malibu, with tennis at Pepperdine? It wasn't a hard sell.
I heard about the camp through an email list I subscribed to called US Sports Camps. They have camps for all major sports for adults and kids. There are tennis camps throughout the country all year long. The website is very user friendly and you can search by sport and location.
The Malibu Camp is available through June and July and they do sell out, so signing up early is recommended. This year the cost was $655 for 30 hours of instruction, and here is an example schedule:
Check-in: Friday at 5:00pm at Varsity Tennis Courts.
Check-out: Sunday at 1:00pm at Varsity Tennis Courts
Daily Schedule: Friday 5:00pm-8:30pm, Saturday 9:00am-4:00pm, Sunday 9:00am-1:00pm
Communication before the camp was good. We all received an email from Camp Director Martin Parkes about a week prior with updates and a link to complete a health waiver. A day or so before we got another email from the camp director checking in and requesting our lunch orders for Saturday.
The Friday night session is an introduction to the camp as well as individual videos for analysis. The camp is directed by Martin Parkes. He has tons of experience coaching at the professional and collegiate level, and he is also a sport psychologist. He is a wealth of information. The staff is made up of current and former NCAA players who have transitioned into coaching. Unlike other camps, it's incredibly beneficial to have so many elite level players to watch. Their demonstrations are such good examples and although we see professional players on TV, it's completely different to be able to watch them live.
Coach Martin Parkes, Coach Vicky Flores, and Coach Ben Keyser *being cute must be a requirement for the coaches
There were about 40 campers and we were divided in groups of 4, among the 9 courts, plus one video station. On this first night, we were grouped by the ranking and experience we provided when we signed up for camp. We did a series of drills to help the coaches determine where we belong for the Saturday camp.
For the video analysis, one at a time, each player starts at the baseline, the coach feeds 3 forehands, 3 backhands, a short ball to approach, 3 forehand volleys, 3 backhand volleys, and two overheads. This video analysis is one of the most valuable components of the camp, and one that most recreational players don't get enough of.
We wrapped up the first night of camp with live ball and group stretching.
On day two, the coaches had everyone in the appropriate group based on skill level. You remain with the same group all day and rotate through the courts. Each court has a different focus, and you spend 30 minutes on each court.
For example, here are the court focus assignments for my camp, in the order I had them:
1. Forehand drill
2. Backhand drill
3. Dingle doubles game
4. Serves (video of serving)
6. Singles strategy
7. Doubles strategy
8. Doubles Play
9. Video Analysis
Day two is a long day. It's broken up by a long lunch, provided by the camp. They had great options with salad, pasta, and sandwiches. You'll get the menu before camp, so if there are any dietary restrictions, you'll have time to communicate them. If nothing on the menu works for you, you can always bring your own.
After lunch, there was a men's singles exhibition match between two former Pepperdine players, Alex Sarkissian and Stefan Menichella. This was beneficial for several reasons. It allowed us time for our lunch to settle, and we were able to ask questions during the match about strategies. Not everyone loved the exhibition, but I thought it was cool.
The final day of camp is a doubles tournament, gift giveaways, and live ball competition. I got very sick after camp on Saturday and couldn’t attend the last day of camp, and I was so bummed! My friends said it was a really fun day. Two of my friends (both USTA 5.0's) made it to the doubles competition final and lost to two of the male players by 2 points! Great tennis all around!
Group photo of camp on the last day.
Overall feelings about NIKE Adult Tennis Camp Malibu:
•Great atmosphere, beautiful facility, gorgeous weather
•Staff demonstrations are beneficial so you can see what the expectations of the drills are
•Great way to meet other tennis enthusiasts, make friends, and connect
•Young staff may not have lots of coaching experience. I was in a group with three 5.0 players, and I’m a 4.5. As far as recreational players go, we’re all fairly good, but definitely have areas that need work. On several of our drill courts, we didn’t get any instruction/correction at all. They just said, “You girls are good,” which is nice, but we’re there to improve. Maybe in the future the coach can adjust the drill based on the level of player skill. •It would be best to receive your video analysis as early as possible, so you can work on the coaches suggestions during camp. My group had video analysis last, so we spent an entire day playing before we got our analysis. If we had it sooner, we could’ve worked on it all day. I know analyzing 40 players takes time, but if they can figure out a way to get it to players sooner, that would be great.
This is definitely a great camp. You can’t beat the beautiful surroundings and I learned things I didn’t know before, which is all I ever want from these camps. I would definitely attend it again, and highly recommend it!
Have you attended a Nike Tennis Camp, or another adult tennis camp you recommend? I'd love to know!