Kingsmill is Fore Tennis Lovers
The new director of tennis is injecting more fun and fundamentals into the resort’s comprehensive program. Tomas Gonzalez joined Kingsmill Resort as director of tennis in January bringing along his vision to stress fun and fundamentals and a lengthy résumé as a player, coach, and tennis director. He has taken over Kingsmill’s Tennis Academy and […]Kingsmill Resort,
The new director of tennis is injecting more fun and fundamentals into the resort’s comprehensive program.
Tomas Gonzalez joined Kingsmill Resort as director of tennis in January bringing along his vision to stress fun and fundamentals and a lengthy résumé as a player, coach, and tennis director. He has taken over Kingsmill’s Tennis Academy and 15 courts — 13 clay and two hard, with six Hydro Courts and two lit courts.
Gonzalez rose to become the No. 3 junior in Chile before starting a college career at Southern Illinois University. He remained after graduation as an assistant coach before moving on to the Philadelphia Country Club and the Country Club of Virginia, where he developed a junior program as well as a women's league. He put away his backhand long enough to answer a few questions.
Q: Why did you come to Kingsmill?
A: I really liked the vision. It was a good opportunity for me to establish a broad program that had plenty of growth opportunity. They're trying to do things right. They understand that change is not going to happen in a week or so. We're building a program with a solid foundation.
Q: What in your past as a successful player prepared you to become a successful teacher?
A: I don't think you need to be a good player to be a good coach. Being a good player does give you credibility. I had an injury when I was 13, 14 years old that put me off the court for a year. I had to relearn the game. That really made me get a very deep understanding of teaching. I had to reteach myself all the mechanics with the help of a coach. It was challenging. I had to work really hard to get my game to where it was. Just going through that whole process made me gain a lot of respect for teaching and for discipline.
I think failing is also the best teacher. When you fail it teaches you character and determination. In tennis, you lose a fair amount of the time. I always tried to learn from those losses.
Q: What new programs are in place for adults?
A: We have a cardio clinic, which is a fun tennis workout. Players burn more than 500 calories. We have a doubles strategy clinic, which has been very successful. We have done some preseason camps, which help players get re-acclimated. We have a sunset tennis clinic. It's a great way to end the day. We focus a little on strategy and mostly on fun and getting a good workout. And then pickleball is new this year. It's creating some excitement.
We have two-day camps that give players a chance to look at their game in more detail and help them to remove barriers to better habits. That will take their game to the next level. All kinds of players will gain confidence and become a complete player.
Q: Do you have a guiding principle when you teach?
A: I do. I always try to implement and integrate solid fundamentals. I like to think in the long term. Sometimes, we can find shortcuts to find quicker success but down the road, it creates limits for players. Implementing strong fundamentals removes all barriers for players to advance their games as much as they want to.
Q: Tell us about ROGY, the program for youths.
A: ROGY stands for red, orange, green and yellow. It's different types of balls and different courts that are adjusted to the height and development of juniors. This is a very cool thing because it helps juniors to learn better fundamentals and experience more success.
It's a program that the U.S. Tennis Association implemented. It's had tremendous success. It creates a really fun environment for the juniors where they are encouraged to learn and have fun at the same time.
Q: Tennis at Kingsmill is something for the whole family, isn't it?
A: I think tennis is definitely for the entire family. You can pretty much play it at any age. It's a fun thing to do as a family. It really brings everybody together.
Q: You also create programs for companies.
A: We can customize events for corporations whether those are clinics or tournaments or team-building activities. That can have a powerful impact on their organization and their employee relations.