Focus on the process and the results will speak for themselves.
Sean Boehm
PTR Teaching Professional

Here’s something you’ll likely never hear from another professional tennis instructor: I didn’t start exercising until I was 40 years old.

No excuses. Generally, I was in okay shape―until I wasn’t. While moving a piano, I suffered a severe back injury and struggled to function for months. In addition to physical therapy, I needed an exercise regimen to restore my health. I took long walks, rode my bike, and got into casual tennis play. By the time I fully recovered, the pandemic was in full swing. Getting serious about tennis made sense, as being “socially distanced” on a court is the norm.

I started taking lessons in November 2020. Very soon, I learned that playing tennis is not just a physical game, it’s mostly mental. Through tennis, my mind became focused on achieving total wellness, including weight loss and improved vital stats. Playing tennis regularly, three days a week, helped me realize these goals and now, I’m in better shape than I was in my 20s. In November 2022 I was recruited by my USCTDP instructor to teach beginner students. I’ve enjoyed every minute.

To play tennis well demands desire, discipline, and mostly, a whole lot of practice and patience. Tennis is also about camaraderie. It’s about community. It’s about having fun. That’s why I encourage my students to focus on the process―the rest will come!

Who knew that getting healthy would bring such unexpected pleasures?


Favorite Female Pro: Maria Sakkari

Maria works as hard off the court as she does on the court. Playing every point as if it were her last, I appreciate her aggressive, all-court style, centered around her strong serve and powerful groundstrokes.

To me, Maria’s a player who focuses on process. She says, The serve is about “feel.” If you want to be able to hit the T or serve from the deuce side flat into the corner, you can only do that by doing it. It just takes baskets.

“It just takes baskets.” That sums up my philosophy about process in just four words!

Favorite Male Pro: Rafael Nadal

Here’s a quote from Rafael that sums up my personal experience with learning to play tennis: "Whenever we do any work with full intensity, then we cross all the limits and discover new things within ourselves. It becomes easy for us to push ourselves beyond our limits and finish our work with full concentration."

Rafael does this and more by never letting his emotions get the best of him. I admire that!

Favorite Tournament: French Open

The French Open is the only one of the Grand Slams that is played on clay. I love playing on clay courts. Yes, it’s the slowest surface for ball speed, but that makes the points last longer, ideal for players with more finesse.

Here’s a fun fact: Originally, playing on clay was merely a practical consideration. Back in the 1880s, powdered terra cotta was used to cover grass courts that were wilting in the heat. Who knows, maybe, someday, Wimbledon will be played on clay, too.

Favorite Stroke: Backhand Slice

In a defensive situation, a backhand slice can neutralize a point by keeping the ball out of an opponent’s strike zone. It can also change the momentum of a rally by slowing the ball’s pace and lowering its height. To throw off an opponent’s timing, the backhand slice is a stroke every good player should have in their arsenal.