My Best Memories Growing Up...

Some of my best, most fond memories from my childhood was going to our town's summer camp in Burlington Mass - good ol’ Camp Simonds at Simonds Park. So many imprints left on my mind, like the counselors green tee shirts, morning meeting a huge sing-a-longs, a spoof on the copa-cabana. Yes, I was 6 or years old and everything was new, but so much fun we had in this golden summers. I remember swimming in the pool, capture the flag games in the pine trees wooded area at the camp, back then we played dodge ball on the tennis courts. So many fun days, and I even remember my favorite counselor, John. I idolized him, so much older than me (maybe 16 years old) he was fun and would run the games with us, and got know each of us. When we have our staff orientation here at MAC every summer, I always tell the new recruits that story and I always tell them that they too have the ability to positively affect a camper this summer, and it is easy to do, just be open to the kids, have fun with them, talk to them, what you do will impact their summer for the summer or negative.

I remember my first baseball coach, for whatever reason we did not hit it off, and he made us run laps around these cones as a form of negative reinforcement. I don’t remember anything else about baseball, but I surely did not stick with it too long after that. I always share that story with our tennis coaches here at the club too, as we always need to use fitness as a reward and not as punishment and the way we frame activities on the court will lead to positive or negative consequences.

The majority of my summers from 9 and up were spent at our local swim and tennis club, 3 courts, a big pool and playground and club house. Pretty simple set up, but I loved that place. I would drive my bike their every morning as my parents were both working in the summer and my days were filled with playing tennis with my friends. The summer was the time that I really improved as I had the time to devote to being on the courts, and although they did have some lessons in the afternoon, taught by a wonderful teacher, the late Bev Hansen, I already had 4 or 5 hours of Tennis under my belt by the time that organized lessons rolled around. My big brother Steven was one of the best tennis players at the club at that time and there was a time that he taught lessons there too. I remember his drill, single line on the singles sideline, forehand on the run, and try to hit it in the trash can for a coke! Classic stuff.

At MAC, I have been running this summer camp since 2001 (believe it or not) and I am always thinking back to those long sun filled days that we had growing up, and I always try to re-create those elements here for my own kids that attend this camp and for all the kids that we have coming through. Being a kid in summer is like a time warp, perfect days just flow back to back each one so pregnant with possibility, the days last longer when you’re a little kid. Maybe it’s the lack of responsibility or the newness of life growing up, but those times get imprinted in us (at least for me) more perfectly than other periods in our lives. As we approach some hopefully long stretches of sunny, warm and let’s throw some hot days in here too, I hope some drag on for you and your kids and I hope you get some of those golden summer days that will leave a positive imprint this summer.

You can check out our MAC Summer Camp options HERE. Contact Program Registration if you want to sign up or have any questions!

Written by: Dave Colby
Summer Camp Director / Director of Tennis

katelyn cross
Why You Should Lift Heavy Every Now and Then

You’ve done it! You joined the MAC, stuck to a routine for 3 months, and have started to gain strength, endurance and even lose weight! Then things stall out... Now what? If you find that you’ve hit a stalemate in your progress, it may be time to switch things up. If you have been lifting the same amount of weight for 10-15 reps time and time again, your body will start to adapt and become used to this and stop making progress. This is where heavier lifting can come to the rescue!

It’s important to change up your exercise routine every now and then to avoid what we refer to as a plateau. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to boost your progress. It can be as simple as manipulating sets, reps and weight. In weightlifting there is an inverse relationship between intensity (weight) and volume (sets x reps), in other words: as weights get heavier, the number of reps you can do will and should decrease.

If you are ready to switch things up here’s what to do: Keep all of your exercises the same in your routine and increase the weights by 5-10lbs and decrease reps by 2-4. For example 10 reps at 10 lbs should become 6-8 reps at 20lbs. The weights and exercises should feel difficult but not impossible. If you are struggling to squeeze out the last rep every exercise, then the weight is too heavy. Making this change will give your body the shock it needs and help break through your plateau. In addition to helping your fitness progress, lifting heavy has a myriad of other benefits including strengthening of bones and tissues, increasing muscle mass, and increasing confidence. Respectively, this can mean a decrease in injuries from falls, an increase in fat burning capability, and a higher self-esteem!

Once you have performed your routine at the heavier weight for 4-6 weeks you can switch back to your old routine of higher reps. You should find that the weights you were once using feel much lighter so be sure to increase weight. Continue to flip-flop between these

The most important thing when lifting heavier weights is that your form is near perfect. Lifting heavier weights increases stress and load on your body and if done improperly can lead to injury. If you are unsure about your exercise form and technique or want to learn more ways to shake up your training, contact a MAC trainer or join one of our great programs like WomenStrong that will instruct you to lift with proper form and technique.

Written by: Matt Pudvah
SPI Programs Director & Head Strength Coach
Manchester Athletic Club

katelyn cross
More Than Just a Trophy

A big personal goal that I set for the MAC Tennis Academy program from its very beginning is that above any trophy or good results, the  program would always focus first on the development of the athlete as a person. A child that has respect for his or her peers, for the environment, and for the rest of the people around them is going to be a child with a better chance of maximizing his or her potential as an athlete. Beyond all of that, a kid who is respectful, but also grateful for the opportunity to train at an awesome place like the MAC and be surrounded by incredible people day in and day out, is what the program reinforces all the time.

During the past few months, the entire MAC program, and a many people from our general membership, donated a bunch of used rackets, bags, clothes, and shoes. In recent weeks, one of our long time students, Jennifer Riester and most of her immediate family, did a tennis trip to Cali Colombia (South America). This was NOT the usual trip for someone training in the academy: a national or international tournament. This trip was about service and gratefulness. Jennifer and her family took all of the donations and spent an entire week teaching tennis, English and spreading the equipment to less privileged kids who love the sport and who look to the sport to give them a chance for a better future.

The entire experience was so impactful that it inspired us to think of new ways to help. The lives of those kids were touched positively forever by the generosity of our program and the love, care and good lessons that the Riesters provided. Their trip was about supporting those kids’ dreams and possibilities without expecting anything in return. A big Thank you to the entire Riester family for taking a leadership position to manifest our gratefulness for being a part of this beautiful sport and incredible community.

Written By:  Francisco Montoya
MAC Tennis Academy Director

katelyn cross