Join Us For Our Annual Yoga Retreat Staycation!

Once a year, yoga enthusiasts from across the state gather at the annual Yoga Immersion Weekend at Greenwood Athletic Club to celebrate the art of yoga. Open to both members and non-members, our immersion weekend offers an opportunity to experience different types of Yoga than what you might regularly attend during the week. The weekend is also designed for everyone, from beginners to advanced, there are yoga classes for you. While we encourage everyone to take advantage of the entire weekend of classes, you can also register for individual classes. We encourage you to take a few days for yourself, and experience the magic of our Yoga Immersion Weekend. Here are five unique experiences you can look forward to during our third annual Yoga Retreat “Staycation” April 27-April 30, 2017.

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1-Ignite Your Yoga Practice During Your “Staycation” 

One of the best highlights of our retreat is its proximity. For our Yoga Staycation, you do not have to go anywhere as all of the weekend’s activities will be hosted in our state of the art facility. Our retreat is considerably more affordable than going to a destination yoga retreat, and GATC also offers an opportunity to book a spa or a massage as part of your experience at Ethereal Day Spa. Whether this is your first time doing yoga, or you are a seasoned practitioner, for those who can’t get away for a destination retreat, our yoga weekend offers an extremely manageable time commitment to practice and continue learning and exploring different forms of yoga.

2-Get to Know our GATC Instructors, and Instructors Across the State

Whether you are already a GATC member or a local community member, there’s something for everyone during Yoga Immersion Weekend. This year we are looking forward to having Dana Hanizeski, a Yoga Instructor from Pura Vida, join us for our Iyengar class. Dana will be working with participants to explore Iyengar teachings. In this class, you can expect to use props, straps, holsters, and blocks, which will allow you to practice and work with deeper poses. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn more about standing postures and alignment, as Dana and other instructors work with you to make sure that you are mastering your alignment in those standing postures.

We are also looking forward to hosting Sarita Shrestha, owner of Tibet Imports in Denver, as she hosts a Prayer Mala Bead Workshop. Each participant will have the opportunity to make their own personalized prayer mala, learning about the meaning behind each of the stones, how they are used in meditation, and the significance of the beads. Everyone will also learn how to string and tie your own mala.

3-Try Different Types of Yoga

Yoga goers from all background levels will appreciate the various types of yoga offerings available over our staycation weekend at GATC. Our opening session on Thursday Advanced Silent Thermal Yoga with Jen Ridout explores the power of a non-verbal Thermal Yoga class. As classical music plays in the background, students will cycle through a series of 26 poses. Our Friday evening candle lit class Vin/Yin with Mary France offers 30 minutes of breath connected movement, Vinyasa, and then ends with 30 minutes of Yin Yoga, which includes long holds using props on the mats. All of our classes this weekend will have extra help from our GATC instructors who will be walking around to help participants correctly get into the various yoga positions.

Drew Overholser will guide participants through one of our most popular classes, Meditation Workshop, as he teaches participants about the diverse spectrum of ways in which meditation can be a valuable tool for managing stress, increasing creativity, and releasing muscle tension and tightness. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, and learn a simple yet effective way to meditate.

We are excited to offer two different workshops that utilize wireless headphone technology to take your Yoga practices to the next level. Sound-Off Vinyasa with Amy Baker uses noise isolating wireless LED headphones to hear the instructor while moving through the motion of yoga with sounds curated by DJ Jilliam Keavney. Our Sunday evening class Sound Off Yoga Nidra with Layne Steege promotes deep healing on all levels, using the headphones to help you enter into an ultimate rest state, allowing you to release tension and anxiety.

Learn more about Sound Off on our Instagram post!

4-Combine Yoga and Strength Training and Take Your Fitness to a New Level 

Yoga practices can be easily integrated into your daily workout routines, particularly if you are working with weights. Saturday morning Marda Zechiel will be leading everyone though the Introduction to Yoga Sculpt Workshop, which includes a combination of compound exercises and working your full body for over an hour. In addition to teaching you the basics of Vinyasa Yoga, the session will focus on correct alignment and safe movement with weights. Yoga Sculpt provides a foundation for how you can reshape your body using yoga and weights.

Later in the day, join us for Happy Hips and Healthy Back with Elena Haykin which introduces participants to important techniques for how to prevent low back strain and injury, helping you achieve a supple healthy back. The workshop introduces new practice techniques for practicing yoga that you can integrate into your daily activity.

5-Gain Confidence in Yoga Practices

 If the thought of Handstanding makes you want to head for the hills, then our Sunday class ABC’s of Inversion: Handstands for Everyone with Amy Baker is for you! Amy will go over the simple basics of handstanding with no fuss, and get you on the road to inverting, leaving you challenged, empowered and ready for the upside-down journey. Afterward, Michelle Marchildon will lead our Backbends That Feel Good workshop, which will be especially beneficial for anyone who is used to sitting at their desk typing all day. This workshop will help you with proper technique and skills to master the backbend, and help you down the path to opening up your shoulders more and an overall healthier spine.

We invite you to join us for this annual event that is sure to change the way that you think about and practice Yoga. Just fifteen minutes South of downtown Denver, you can dive into your yoga practice and experience Greenwood Athletic Club’s Yoga’s Best! Take the weekend off and enjoy your staycation here at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club.

To view the classes visit The Yoga Immersion page where you can register for the entire weekend or one class or call the club to register at 303.770.2582 x274.

How to Improve Your Tennis Game with Pilates

As those summer months get closer, now is the perfect opportunity to head into our Pilates studio and improve your tennis game by working on strengthening your body, improving your balance, enhancing your flexibility and building your core strength. Whether you have tried Pilates before, or are interested in it for the first time, our upcoming Pilates for Tennis six-week workshop is the perfect opportunity for you to boost your tennis techniques off the court. Pilates programs are always ongoing and available for you to take and improve your tennis game.

Under the guidance of our talented instructor Erica Bruenton, you will use the six principles of Pilates as a foundation for drawing connections between the fundamentals of both Pilates and tennis.

  1. Concentration: Pilates is contingent on developing the connection between the mind and the body. Just like in tennis, you are never focusing on one thing at a time. It is particularly important to learn how to focus on your body’s powerhouse, the transverse/oblique/rectus abdominis, as well as the inner thighs and glutes. A big piece of bringing that together is the ability to concentrate and think about how the different muscles of your body are working together. You are engaging in similar activities on the tennis court, such as concentrating on multiple areas including stroke mechanics, swing speed, follow through, and recovering back to a ready position after you return the ball.
  2. Centering: In Pilates we initiate movement from our powerhouse–all movement comes from the center. The core is equally important in tennis. If you visualize yourself on the court, there is a lot of rotational movement. Pilates encourages you to think about the kinetic chain of movement, where you are transferring energy from the ground, through your legs, core, and then into your shoulder, arm, wrist, which ultimately results in racquet head speed. Finding your center, as well as learning how to move it efficiently, will help increase your technique for generating power on the tennis court.
  3. Control: Pilates helps strengthen your understanding of how to coordinate the movement of your body. For example, various Pilates exercises work on moving your legs and arms while keeping your abs engaged and pelvis stable. Control is equally important in tennis. On the tennis court, you utilize the split step to feel in control of your body as you get ready to take your next shot.
  4. Breathing: Do you ever find yourself holding your breath when you play tennis, as you hit the ball or react to get in position for a shot? This is a common issue among many tennis players, and an area in which taking Pilates can be extremely beneficial. Pilates teaches you to link your breath with movement. As a tennis player, this teaches you to incorporate breathing techniques to enhance fluidity in your movement on the court.
  5. Precision: As a tennis player, when you hit the ball you visualize where you want your shot to go. Similarly, in Pilates we build on concentration and control to achieve precision in movement. Pilates teaches you to engage your abdominals to stabilize your pelvis. Achieving stability and mobility that allows your joints to move through a healthy range of motion is very important, not just on the tennis court, but in your everyday activities.
  6. Flowing Movement: Perhaps one of the most important aspects of tennis is being able to put all of your techniques together. In a tennis lesson or in drill, this might mean transitioning from baseline groundstroke, to a down the line approach shot, to a cross court volley to finish the point. When it comes to a match, you have to be able to put everything together to get the win. The concept of flowing movement within Pilates is the ability to move through a repertoire of exercises with fluidity. In Pilates, this is achieved through transition exercises, like teaser and the roll up, where you build strength while continuing to flow between different exercises.

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(These images feature a progression series, where Tennis Professional Suzette Riddle is using the reformer’s straps to work through a progression of exercises that work on concentration, centering and control).

In the Pilates for Tennis class,  the majority of your exercises on the reformer, which is the spring-loaded apparatus. The color coordinated springs represent the different amounts of tension that are used during the workout.

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On the apparatus itself, you will be moving through a variety of positions. The videos below, featuring Tennis Professional Suzette Riddle, show different exercises that can be performed on the reformer that will help you build strength and coordination both on and off the court.

Sign up for Pilates for Tennis to secure your spot. There is no equipment necessary, just come willing to work with Erica! We are excited to offer two classes, one on Tuesdays @ 12:00-12:55pm from April 4 to May 9, and then other on Saturdays from 8:00-8:55am from April 8 to May 20 (with the exception of the Saturday before Easter, there will be no class on April 15).

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If you can’t make it to this course, Erica Bruenton is always more than willing to work one-on-one with clients, feel free to contact her to schedule a session!

Sara Emmons – It’s never too late to learn something new!

On April 2-3, Sara Emmons, 73, represented Greenwood in the State Masters swimming competition in seven individual events. SaraEvansMastersAccumulating 71 points with her five first place and three second place finishes, Sara helped GATC Masters earn the title of State Champions! Sara, who visited Greenwood three years ago knew right away that this was the club for her.
Sara is not new to challenge. Born in Washington DC during WWII, she has lived and worked in many US locations. Her professional career began in the footsteps of her journalist father, who covered the Roosevelt years for the Washington Post. Immediately after college she wrote feature articles for daily newspapers.  Her career took a few turns; including, a stint as Seaman in the Navy, where she met her husband; administrative and corporate PR work while raising children; and now, full-circle, Sara works part-time from home, editing articles written by members of an International Association.
Sara started swimming in her 40s, but has accelerated and improved since first experiencing the Masters program at GATC. “The Masters here are so fast. I didn’t want to be so slow, as if I was the snail swimming with sharks, it wasn’t fair to hold up the works!”
While many people might be intimidated and give up, she didn’t. Sara, with Crystal’s encouragement, started lessons with Jeanette, then added a class with Cama Jo. Their guidance has helped Sara improve her stroke technique and speed.

 

GATC Masters Swim Team

Greenwood Masters Swim Team 2016 State Short Course Champions

“The staff is so nice and knowledgeable. I just can’t quit talking about how they raised my confidence level and helped me perfect the strokes. They are so encouraging, you might go in the pool thinking you can’t do anything, but by the time you are out, you think you can do everything!”
Sara now swims with the Masters once a week, and works with Masters Coach, Greg.  “Others see my improvement too; swimmers who have known me since I started here, comment about my improvement. My coaches tell me I learn quickly, but I think I am just doing what I am told.”
“Because I have seen progress and gained confidence, I have no thought of ever quitting. I enjoy it so much. My desire to keep going is fed by that encouragement. Now I want to win!”
It would be easy to settle into a solitary routine, since Sara works from home with international colleagues. Being part of the Greenwood community and swimming breaks up that temptation. While her recent growth and success in swimming may be the most inspiring part of her life right now, she is also active in with the Women of the Word group at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church.

Yoga – Mix It Up or Commit to One Style?

yoga stretchDon’t mix it up? Beginners should sample a few yoga classes to find one style that they prefer and that is right for their level of fitness. Trying many various styles can be confusing when you’re starting your journey into yoga.

As a beginner, the disadvantages of practicing more than one style include:
-getting confused
-risking injury in a class that is inappropriate for your fitness level
-not being aware of how to modify poses that are too advanced or inappropriate for certain injuries

Private yoga lessons are a great way to begin your journey, giving you the foundation and confidence to step into any of our complementary yoga classes.

Mix it up? Step out of your comfort zone and avoid complacency. After practicing a specific style of yoga on a regular basis for at least six months, it’s a good idea to branch out into different styles. Challenge yourself or maybe explore more restorative or meditative styles. If you have been practicing only heated Vinyasa classes, give an unheated Vinyasa class a try. Mix it up and you will be rewarded with even greater benefits. Most styles don’t fit nicely into one specific category. Many of the styles have crossover techniques that improve fitness, mental health and spiritual growth. Some styles are slow and meditative with a focus on breathing and mental concentration, while other styles focus on the physical aspects of poses and fast movements which result in better fitness and flexibility. Practicing both styles, it is possible to gain mental concentration, spirituality and physical fitness.

The benefits of using several yoga styles can include:
-maximizing the benefit to both the mind and the body
-achieving fitness goals while maintaining meditative focus
-maximizing the crossover between yoga styles

A great way to sample different kinds of yoga is during the yoga immersion weekend coming up on April 15, 16 and 17.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether to use one style of yoga or many. For beginners, it may be best to commit to try different options and select a specific style until after learning the poses and basic breathing techniques. Advanced practitioners may be able to balance various styles at one time,resulting in tremendous growth.

If you’re not sure what class to try or would like additional information, send me an email with your fitness level, goals and questions and I will give you a list of classes that would be best for you.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

 

Seven Basics for Fitness

spinThe reason we exist at GATC is for the honor of positively impacting people’s lives. We offer over 130 group fitness classes each week as part of your membership. The types of classes are thoughtfully chosen, the instructors are carefully recruited and the class times are strategically placed with the goal of providing you with the best selection of classes offered at the optimal times that cater to a wide variety of interests and provide ample opportunity for achieving results.

On an average day, approximately 1500 people check into the club. Roughly 30% of those check-ins, or 450 people, attend a group fitness class. So how can you optimize your membership utilizing group fitness to achieve your fitness goals? In this “results-focused” issue, I’m offering Seven Basics for Fitness.

FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY AND DO IT
If you’re not having fun or being challenged with your workout, it’s easy to lose interest. Instead of dreading the treadmill, consider one of our many other options. With a nice balance of strength, cardio, balance and flexibility classes to choose from each week, there is great opportunity to find your new favorite. Take advantage of our shorter classes that can be done in combination (ex. Cardiovascular Intervals and CXWORX). If you would like some assistance, we offer complimentary Member Coach services or I’m always happy to help. When you find what you enjoy, you’re more likely to stay consistent and see better results.

SET GOALS
Maybe you want to avoid holiday weight gain, fit into a certain dress size, decrease your body fat percentage, cut your mile time, or set a new lifting PR. Map out your plan of attack setting both short-term (30-day) and long-term (three-six months) goals. That plan will help you stay focused and on the path to success. Share your goals with your group fitness instructor so they can help encourage you and keep you accountable.

DRINK ENOUGH WATER
GATC Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, Kristin Burgess, recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces every day. This is on top of replenishing fluids lost during your workout. While the reminder to drink water may sound unnecessary and obvious, it is essential to your health.

EAT WELL
No training regimen is complete without the complement of good nutrition. Make sure you eat a consistently well-balanced diet. Dedication to both your training and your nutrition will offer the best results.

GET SUFFICIENT SLEEP
Rest is crucial to our fat-loss and muscle-building goals. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels and hampers proper recovery. Exercise places stress on your body, and it’s your body’s ability to respond to and rebuild from this stress that creates growth, results and body improvement. This is why nutrition and recovery are essential to achieving your fitness goals.

MIX IT UP
Many dedicated gym-goers fall into a workout rut. Break out of boredom by challenging yourself in new ways. Try new movements, set aside the dumbbells in favor of a barbell or cables, or grab a buddy and try a class. Don’t just set up camp at your usual corner or elliptical. If you are bored with your workouts, chances are your body is, too. Make some changes for a new challenge leading to new results.

STAY CONSISTENT
None of this information will be of much value if it’s not done consistently. No matter your goal, consistent efforts are rewarded with hard-earned results!

Andrea Morris, Director of Group Fitness

KEYS TO RESULTS: WORKOUT HARD, EAT WISELY AND REPEAT

The fitness industry and society routinely come up with “magic bullets.” Whether it is a program, class or product, the promoters say this is the key for people to lose weight and achieve the body they want. In my opinion, they are full of it. The only path to results is by following these five steps:

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WORKOUT HARD – Whether it is a cardiovascular session or a weight lifting routine, you need to do it intensely enough to break a sweat and feel very fatigued. Often, I see people doing cardio, going through the motions and barely breaking a sweat or breathing hard. The same for lifting- I often see people pick up weights, do an exercise and then put them down and look no more fatigued than as if they were chewing gum. It’s called a workout for a reason people! Sweat, push yourself and feel a little sore the next day.

STOP EATING SO MUCH – Most people say they eat healthy and yet they are overweight. There are three possible explanations for this: either you have a hormonal dysfunction (12% of the total US population has this), you think you eat healthy food but actually do not, or you eat healthy but eat too much. Diet is 70% of the weight loss equation. If you consistently drop your caloric intake, make everything you eat nutritionally relevant and eat a variety of different foods, you can actually achieve weight loss that is long-term and healthy.

HAVE FUN – Try different activities that get you moving. Learn to love to make your body move in different ways. Have fun and involve the family. The more you are around people who are active, the more you become active.

BE CONSISTENT YEAR ROUND – Many people get in shape in January and lose momentum by April. Then they fall back into destructive habits that counteract results. Try this; never let more than 48 hour pass before you exercise intensely. Keep that rule and you will see a dramatic difference in yourself.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP – Whether it is a trainer, neighbor, friend or spouse- ask for help to become or stay active. Again, the more you associate with active people, the more active you will become. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help in achieving your goals. Everyone needs a coach to help them in a sport, the same goes for fitness.

AGAIN, eat less but healthy food, be active intensely, have fun with it, be social and ask for help once and awhile. Repeat this prescription every day and watch the results.

For more help with your fitness goals, visit the GATC Personal Training page and for nutrition information, the GATC Nutrition Services page.

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

THE FIVE ESSENTIAL EXERCISES

Exercise routines can be complicated, intimidating and downright confusing for
those stepping into the weight room for the first time. Training the body is simply identifying natural movement and training the body along those natural movements. When broken down, the human body moves in only a few different ways: squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, pulling or twisting. By combining these moves, we can effectively create five exercises that target all the main movements and work the whole body.

The five exercises are:

single leg dl 21. Single Leg Deadlifts: Simply stand upright balancing on one leg, keeping the leg off the ground as straight as possible. Bend at the waist and reach with your opposite hand to try and touch the foot on the ground. Keep your leg that is off the ground as in line with your torso as you can to get a good stretch for the hamstrings.

BOX SQUAT2. Box Squats: Squatting is a movement we perform all the time. Squat stand with your calves lightly touching a box and push your hips backwards like you are sitting in a chair, doing your best to keep your upper body as upright as possible and your back flat. As soon as you touch the box with the back of your legs, push through the middle of your foot to stand upright again. The lower the box, the harder the movement will be.

dumbell rowpush up and down both (1)3. Dumbbell Rows: Place the left hand and knee on a bench with the hand positioned at the top of the bench and the knee near the bottom, keeping the back as flat as possible. The right leg will remain somewhat straight while the right arm is holding a dumbbell that you will pull straight up to your right hip. Simply switch arms and legs for the other side.

4. Push-ups: Start by lying on your stomach and placing your hands pressed into the ground near your armpits. Keeping your entire body flat, push through the arms and chest to straighten your arms until only your hands and toes are on the ground. Lower to the ground under control to perform one repetition. Start from your knees to make the exercise easier until you feel ready to progress.

medballtwistVERT5. Medicine Ball Lunge and Twist: Holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, step forward with one leg and sink down until you have a 90 degree bend at the ankle, knee and hip with your torso completely upright. The back leg should have similar 90 degree bend as the front leg. When the back knee is almost touching the ground, pause and rotate the torso so the medicine ball goes over the front leg before returning to the middle and pushing through the ball of the front foot to return to a standing position. Repeat for the other leg to complete one repetition.

Matt Weems, GATC Personal Trainer

FIVE GUIDELINES TO A HEALTHY METABOLISM

Tips from Kristin, GATC RD.

1) Eat breakfast within thirty minutes of waking and eat every three hours thereafter

2) Limit starch because it is almost always chemically processed. (ex: breads, chips, pretzels, snack mixes, tortillas, pastas, etc). This is especially true when eating out. If you can read the ingredient list and you know you are not eating a chemically processed food, then choose the whole grain in a proper portion.

3) Choose a fruit or veggie plus a protein, every time you eatstockvault-healthy-eating119775_resized

4) Don’t save your calories for one big mealwater

5) Drink half your body weight in ounces of water

For more tips and information regarding diet and nutrition, visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page.

 

Dietary Supplements: To Take Or Not To Take

The majority of adults in the United States take a supplement. A supplement includes: vitamins, minerals, herbs, protein powders, shakes, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and the list goes on and on!

Do wsupplementse really need to be taking these? In my opinion, yes, many of us can benefit from a multivitamin, vitamin D or even a protein shake, for example. However, supplements are just that…a SUPPLEMENT. They do not replace food. Some experts think that if you are eating less than 1600 calories on a daily basis then you can likely benefit from taking a dietary supplement. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement can insure your body that you are meeting your needs to develop muscles, proper neural function, maintain energy levels, preserve bone and all the other physiologic functions your body performs on a daily basis. Very few of us need a multivitamin that provides greater than 100% of the daily recommended allowance of any nutrient. Again, these supplement your diet. If you are choosing mostly whole, unprocessed foods then you do not need a powerful multivitamin. In fact, high levels of vitamins can enhance the disease process, including some cancers.

Let’s look at protein powders/shakes. There are so many on the market! Mosproteinshake_2t active people can benefit from a protein shake for breakfast, pre- or post-workout. The scary thing about protein powders is that many of the most widely used are loaded with toxic metals, artificial sweeteners, colorings, dyes and other random chemicals that can harm your body. If you are going to purchase a protein powder, why not choose one with added nutrients?  My favorites are whole food powders that are made of real food and free of metals, dyes and other chemicals, such as Vega One or Amazing Grass Raw Reserve. There are some great ready-to-drink products out there as well. My go to is Orgain 25 gram protein.

Much of the food we are consuming is so processed that it isn’t “real.” Chicken breasts at some restaurants are hardly made of chicken breast at all, but chicken parts and chicken flavoring molded into the shape of a breast. Some experts believe that if more than three meals per week are eaten out, you are lacking nutrition and too many chemically processed foods are being consumed. You are what you eat!

For more information visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page or contact GATC RD, Kristin Burgess.

 

True! It’s All About That “Base”

You finally get that long-awaited short ball opportunity which allows you to attack the net and really apply some pressure to your opponent except for one thing, your opponent is the dreaded lobber! What are your options? To start with, nothing says lobbing is a bad idea to your opponent better than cracking an overhead for a winner! So let’s talk about how you can better prepare for this shot.tennisracketball simple graphic

1. In one move, immediately raise both hands up plus align your shoulders and feet sideways to the ball and your intended target. This doesn’t always mean you should be perpendicular to the net, sometimes you’ll find yourself slightly open to the net and occasionally you may discover that you need to turn as much as 45 degrees past perpendicular to the point where your back is exposed to the net. Where you are on the court and your target area determines shoulder and stance alignment.

2. I think most players are familiar with these technical elements but I find perhaps the most important element in gaining confidence and making solid contact on the overhead is having a wide base. By a wide base I mean wider than the width of your shoulders. In doing so, this should also create knee bend and drop your center of gravity. This is important because just the mere fact that you’re looking up, you’ll find yourself a little off balance, so widening your base will make you feel more comfortable adjusting to the ball and more confident.

Confidence plays a major role in having a good overhead. Learn to love them and you’ll have a great one! And remember, as Meghan Trainor says, “It’s all about that base.”

Yes, I twisted her words slightly.

For help with your overhead and more, check out GATC’s programs, drills, clinics, leagues and more!

Ron Steege, Director of Tennis