Throughout Women’s History Month in March, USTA MAS will be profiling the work of women who are making a difference today in tennis communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic. The first woman featured in this series is Renice Holman, who has been bringing the fun of tennis to kids for years and is currently a coach at the after school TGA programs at Liberty Elementary and Arcola Elementary schools. Her positive attitude, endless enthusiasm and big smile make her a big hit among her students and their parents.
USTA Mid-Atlantic: What is your tennis background? When did you start playing?
I have loved tennis all of my life! When I was a child, I would run to the courts with any type of tennis racquet and balls and hit with my brother and cousins. When they weren’t available (or didn’t want) to play, I would hit against the wall. Raised by a single mother, we couldn’t afford tennis club prices or the outfits and shoes that came along, so I ran track and played softball during my school years. I did continue playing tennis with anyone who was willing to hit with me throughout those years. My senior year I met an exchange student from the Netherlands, and we got to hit often. Although, I still don’t think my technique was trained at all.
Once I graduated high school I went to college. I took tennis as a course in college. I even joined a Tennis Club, signed up for drills and private lessons. I became a tournament player! I eventually connected with a tennis organization and began assisting with tennis players. I became PTR certified and have continued teaching students from 3 to 83 years old. With over 12 years career experience, I share my passion through youth and adult tennis development. Teaching spans from School Program Development & National Junior Tennis Leagues to club drills & tournament play. As PTR Certified coach and a USTA member, I’m here to take your tennis development “Up A Notch” with fun!
Who or what inspired you to get involved in tennis?
I’ve always loved tennis and had a passion for it. I was a late bloomer in the sport, but was ready to see how far I could go in tennis. Geared up and ready to conquer any tournament that came my way or that I could reach, my future would involve tennis, travel, focus and fun. Just when I was beginning my transition towards the pro tennis world, all of my equipment was destroyed in an unfortunate car accident. My heart was broken! I knew by the time I got everything that I needed again, it would be too late. My window of opportunity to compete at the highest level was passing before my eyes. Instead of getting depressed and giving up on tennis, I chose to invest in younger generations that had opportunities to dream big. My inspiration to teach tennis comes from the resiliency, passion and pursuit of life and the game!
Which professional player has been most inspirational for you?
Since I am left-handed, I was always fascinated by left-handed tennis players like Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe, but the players that have been most inspirational to me are Venus and Serena Williams! Along with seeing African-American women at the top of of the tennis world, I witnessed the evolution of tennis and tennis involvement. Girl power was in full effect and risk-taking shots were a norm. I also saw new life balances in professional tennis. These changes not only set a new tennis tone, they have sustained longevity in a pro tennis player’s career.
What advice do you have for a young girl who has recently started playing tennis?
I would advise a young girl who recently started tennis to have fun! Not just at learning tennis, but in learning something new! Celebrate often as you improve in tennis areas while developing athletically . Create end of lesson/drill cheers or share the fun you learned. Invite your friends to be a part or it, too!
Historically, tennis has led the way among sports by awarding equal prize money and giving exposure to female athletes in addition to male athletes. How else do you see tennis as a leader?
Sport/athletic labels and sponsorships are equally promoting genders. Tennis is also a leader in certain trends of “language bridging.” Second and third languages are being invested in.