Zippy has been having a great time with travels in Korea (just a quick stop but it counts), China including a trip to the Great Wall, Kuala Lumpur and finally Singapore. Singapore was the primary destination for Zippy. As well packed in our numerous bags were 50 other Zippy tools bound for Singapore and The WTA Future Stars program. This is a program that promotes a better life through sports. The program works with youth throughout Asia-Pacific countries. It uses tennis to promote the “importance of living a healthy lifestyle, teamwork, discipline and focus which will build strength in character that will benefit them both on the tennis court and in life”.
Programs are run throughout the year and this year 48 of the top 14-16-year-old girls from 21 countries came to Singapore to participant in a week of team building, tennis clinics and tournament play. The girls participated in clinics with current WTA player coaches like Sascha Bajin (Naomi Osaka’s coach) and WTA Doubles Team-mates Kveta Peschke (Czech) and Nicole Melichar (USA). WTA Physio Marty Kehoe started out the morning leading the group in some warm up exercises. She showed them some of the drills they could use to prepare for play.
The girls were divided into 6 groups and after warm-up rotated through six stations practicing serving, volleying, ground strokes, doubles play, their approach to net and backhand. It was a hot day, as all days seem to be in Singapore, with high humidity. But these kids just kept working hard, listening and learning. The morning session ended with Zippy and I! We had about 20-30 minutes to talk with them about cool-down and recovery. We went over some pointers on recovery drinks (chocolate milk being one of the best) recovery stretching, recovery massage and the use of ice (be it ice massage or ice bath). Then the ‘Zip’ took center court so to speak.
Through the generosity of this company 48 Zippy tools were distributed to girls from Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, China, Cambodia, Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pacific Oceania, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. They were thrilled. They were attentive to instruction on how to use Zippy for some self-care massage followed by some stretching and were appreciative of the little ‘cheat sheet we put together for them to take with them. It is a little tool but it made a number of young athletes quite happy!
You know we here in the US take much for granted. When we started passing out these little tools it was amazing how excited these young athletes got. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on Zippy! It was pure joy! A little tool that could help them in pursuit of their dream of playing professional tennis. Seems like a stretch? Well these kids understand how fortunate they are for having been asked to participate in this ‘future stars’ program here at the World Championships. They take nothing for granted. It was a good day and Zippy was a good ambassador! Now we know there is at least one Zippy residing in all these countries! Probably nestled in the corner of someone’s tennis bag!
Following Zippy’s session the afternoon had them participating in tournament play which eventually culminated in both the semi-finals and finals for the U-14 and U-16 were played on the same center court that the professionals were playing on. An added bonus is that the finals were streamed live through Facebook. This was tremendously exciting, if not a little nerve wracking, for all players.
Later in the week all the future stars attended the ‘Draw Ceremony’ for the Singles Championships. The top players in each age group were privileged to go on stage and receive a signed tennis racquet from one of the top 8 tennis players in the world. Just another exciting moment for these young athletes! On a side note in 2015 Naomi Osaka won the Future Stars tournament. This year she was playing in the professional tennis World Championships!
Thank you to Stevie and Jim for their generosity in supplying Zippies to all these young athletes and expecting nothing in return. And thank you for designing such a fun and useful little tool. You made a lot of youngsters half way around the world very happy! As well my trip has been quite special sharing it with Zippy and you all! A couple more blog entries to come so stay tuned!!
Here’s a look at Zippy at work with the kids!!
Talking about recovery with the Future Stars Someone is answering a question; way in the back
Zippy posed earlier in the week for this flyer on technique. Each Future Star Player and Coach received one.
Zippy and friends being passed out to the Future Stars Players .
Zippy is getting ready to show these athletes how good a little ‘roller ball’ can feel!
The muscles we looked at included Gastroc/Soleus shown here as well as Quads.
Zippy demonstrated work on the TFL and ITB and then moved up to the pecs and flexors and extensors in the forearm; quite important for tennis players
The Girls enjoyed and appreciated receiving and working with this amazing little tool. I know there are now at least 48 young athletes throughout Asia-Pacific region that have this roller-ball in their tennis bag. And I have no doubt they are using it. At the end they all gathered round and had a little cheer for Zippy! It was a good day on the courts! Here are Zippys in the hands of Future Stars!
Lee Stang, LMT
Ed note. You are very welcome Lee Stang. Thank you for asking and thank you for blogging.