Auburndale Starts GRIPS Program
Last week, GRIPS co-founder Craig Cignarelli visited the Hummel Tennis Center in Auburndale to introduce pro Andy Durham, his staff and local players to the GRIPS program, which is 3 years old.
"It's so neat," Durham said. "We are going to run the entire program."
The GRIPS concept is simple, fun, encouraging and has a solid structure.
Plus, each time a player advances a level, they get a new, free, colored-coded GRIP to match their level of play.
"It's built around karate," Durham said.
There are 11 levels within each of the Junior GRIPS and GRIPS programs.
Each color-coded level has certain skills and drills to be achieved.
When a player has mastered the drills, he or she visits the website at www.GRIPSprogram.com and takes an online test.
If the test is passed, and on-court test is next.
When a player passes a test, he or she receives a certificate of achievement and new grip in the mail, just like they would in karate with a colored belt.
If you don't pass the knowledge or on-court test, there's help to retake both as much as you like.
Tests can be taken on GRIPS national test days or with your local, certified GRIPS tester.
If your club does not have a GRIPS program or tester, you can find one online. The program can be self-administered except for the tests.
Each player has his or her own online dashboard to take practice tests, watch online videos and find articles and tips for their level. Players can also talk to friends, send messages, contact their coach and see where they stand on their club's match ladder each month.
Junior GRIPS is just like QuickStart.
What this does is eliminate the gray area as to what level players are, that may vary from coach to coach and club to club.
Some players also feel they are at one level while their coach, or even their parent, feel that they are at another level.
An online and on-court tests answer that.
"The way I look at it is that it's the first time a parent or player has control over their growth," Durham said.
Durham is starting the program when school starts again.
He's adjusting the program a little, considering a sort of round-robin test day with drinks and food as a celebration.
So far, some 40 junior players have signed up.
By the way, according to Durham, the only player who has achieved the black GRIP level so far is Mats Wilander.
Durham is also starting another new program he feels parents can relate to, especially if they have played in or have children involved in other sports.
The Auburndale club is offering a league for players with two practices a week and one match.
The league is $75 per session, which runs seven to eight weeks. Players also can pay a fee per visit.
However, players cannot get in until they are evaluated.
"We don't have lessons," Durham said. "We have practices and matches just like soccer and baseball with one fee to cover the whole thing."
For more, call Andy Durham, Carol Mahler or David Saltman at 863-965-5544.
July 24, 2012