Add SPARK and SPARKLE to Your Game

OMG! July 4th is upon us and Eastman’s tennis players have a lot to celebrate. Raise the flag. Light some sparklers. Storm the courts. (oops. . . that’s for Bastille Day.) But, seriously, it’s time to get to the courts on Draper Road any way you can. Our exciting new tennis program is beginning!

  • Do you want to be the player that everyone wants to play with?
  • The one at the top of everyone’s sub list?
  • Or, maybe you’re just ready to elevate your game from “hacker” to “player”?

It may be time for a tune-up!

While team practices focus on strategy and positioning, drills in an Adult Intermediate Clinic focus on the mechanics of stroke production you need to develop consistency and commit fewer unforced errors.

“Players” who have played “for a while” (like maybe 20, 30, or even 40+ years like me), as well as up-and-coming superstars with a few years on their jazzy Nikes or Asics, know the value of practice, practice, and more practice. But, practicing bad habits and incorrect stroke production, not only “plateaus” a player, it can lead to the dreaded tennis elbow or other injuries. And, injuries mean time away from a sport you love.

Tennis is not “like riding a bike.” Time away from the sport–even a few months–erodes skills and timing. Technology has changed and play has changed: ask anyone who has played with younger players schooled in topspin and open stances. A couple of lop-sided singles losses to hot-shot (literally) 30-somethings a few years ago had me running to my local pros, racquet emblazed with an SOS. For me, and lots of other players on the intermediate-to-advanced spectrum, Darwinism comes into play. Adapt or go down crying at every missed shot, errant smash, or anemic service return.

And a good workout!

Cardios may be the thing for you–and me. Requiring more stamina and speed than skill, cardio sessions combine fitness and ball movement under the direction of a certified pro. These sessions have been extremely popular in private clubs for a couple of decades now and are a great way to improve footwork. You won’t become a Roger Federer (the Baryshnikov of tennis footwork), but you will get your heart rate up and your reaction time tested. You’ll find me in Eastman’s groups this summer trying desperately to find the footwork and foot speed that I’d lost after giving up playing competitive singles. Sessions are being held early mornings to beat the heat: 7:30-8:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 8 to 9 on Saturdays.

A buzz of excitement has been in the air, and on the dirt (courts), since the announcement was made that Josh Holt is Eastman’s new pro. The time to sign up for clinics, lessons, and/or cardio workouts with Josh is RIGHT NOW! Clinics for ADULT BEGINNERS and INTERMEDIATES, and JUNIORS from ages 5-13 begin this week. Click on this link to see a detailed schedule of all the clinics and sessions this summer.

Who among us mortal players (those of us not Roger Federer or Serena Williams) could not use a little tweaking to our games from time to time? Maybe you once had great form and skills, but a long lay-off or injury has you out of rhythm and spending more time retrieving balls than playing long rallies. Adjustments may be necessary. Even my personal idol, the “old man” on the pro tour, Roger Federer, who has admitted to losing foot speed (a nanosecond) in recent years, has added a drop shot to his game. At the risk of being trite: It’s never too late to learn. And, “craftiness” counts in winning points.

So, what are you waiting for? Tennis is a sport for a lifetime. Call RVC’s FITshop at (603)-643-3627 to sign up for clinics, lessons, or cardio sessions at Eastman.

and a final note . . .

Do you know someone who would like to learn to play tennis? Beginning players today have the advantage of learning the “new” style of play, two-handed backhands, topspin, open stances, right from the start. ADULT BEGINNER sessions are being offered both on Wednesday mornings from 9:30 – 11 and Thursday evenings, 7 – 8. JUNIOR clinics and camps also begin this week. Call RVC’s FITshop (603)-643-3627 today to sign-up your kids or grandkids for clinics or Junior Camps. Tennis is like learning a language; the younger you start, the easier it is–and FUN.

Please share this email with anyone whom you think would like to learn to play tennis. The public is welcome to participate in our new programming at non-ECA Member rates.

judi platt

Mixing It Up on Sundays with Scrambles

We’re talking TENNIS here, not eggs. If you missed out on playing in Eastman’s 4th Annual Open on June 1, don’t fret. You have another chance—in fact, many chances to mix it up in doubles scrambles on the lower courts on Draper Road every Sunday morning from 9 to 11 from now until September. 

Pete and Alice

Shortly after Alice and Pete Podesta moved to Eastman, the avid tennis players saw an opportunity to bring couples together on the tennis courts and organized mixed doubles round robins. With a little experimentation with times, they found Sunday mornings to be a good time for these get-togethers and a “scramble” format workable for Eastman’s players. Pete’s extensive experience organizing tennis events and the couple’s integration into “all things tennis” in Eastman quickly infused energy into these informal get-togethers. So much so, that most Sundays last summer three or four courts were consistently filled with players.

So, just what is a scramble? It’s an informal type of doubles play in which partners are matched up randomly. Alice and Pete provide numbers—one set for women, another for men—that players pick from a hat, or, to be exact, a Baggie from the Podesta’s kitchen. Since there is no advance sign-up required, some weeks there may be more men than women on the courts, or vice versa. In that event, some improvisation occurs on the spot, but everyone gets a partner picked at random. The idea is to get people of all skill levels together to play without a lot of stifling rules or rigmarole.

If you want to play, show up with a can of new balls at 9 a.m. on any Sunday and mix it up with old and new “scramblers.” And, don’t forget your water bottle and sunblock. While the scrambles are designed for fun, you will get a workout and some good play. On the days when umbrellas (or tarps) are needed rather than sunblock, you can stay inside and serve up some scrambled eggs, or delve into some tennis trivia.

Did you know that “love” for a zero (0) score in tennis is derived from “l’oeuf,” the French word for “egg”?

So, however you like your “oeuf”s, get ready to scramble on Sundays. If you have any questions about the scrambles, contact Pete or Alice at or at (603)-843-8045. For information about other round robin opportunities in Eastman, or to see your coordinators’ smiling faces, go to the 2019 Round Robins page on the Eastman Tennis web site.

Be a Sport and Reserve a Court

Don’t be left outside the gates looking in at the action. Reserve a court using the Eastman system. Yes, we know that in years past, players just walked onto the courts at any time without reservations. However, use of the system is critical to effective tennis court management and happy players.

It takes just minutes to set up an account, and literally seconds to reserve a court once you save your ID and password on your electronic devices. And, for those needing a little help keeping their busy schedules straight, will even email you a reminder that you can add to your digital calendar with just two quick clicks. For help with either, call Recreation at (603)-863-6772 or stop by the reception desk at the South Cove Activity Center. For more details about playing on our superb membership-only courts, go to Play at Eastman.  A few seconds of your time will help ECA staff and volunteers plan for future enhancements to the tennis program–and maybe save you a wasted trip to fully occupied courts.

Eastman’s Open–Cause to Celebrate

Left to right: Eugene Demidenko, Valentina Demidenko. Richard King, Emmalie Snyder

Once again, the “Open” was a success, drawing players from both the Eastman community and the Upper Valley. Held only one week after the Memorial Day weekend event that drew 40 players, the tournament competed for players with USTA matches held that weekend and a myriad of end-of-school-year activities, including graduations. Nonetheless, ten teams competed in the Mixed Doubles and four in the Men’s category. Emmalie Snyder of Elkins, NH and Richard King, of Bradford, NH were victorious over Valentina and Eugene Demidenko of Norwich, VT in the Mixed Doubles.  (Richard is a repeat winner, having won the event two years ago with Laura Joslin-King.) In the Men’s competition,

Pete Podesta and Gary Atchinson

Eastmanite and tournament director Pete Podesta teamed up with Gary Atchinson of Croydon to claim first place in the Men’s category. Gary competed with flare in his characteristically colorful tennis attire.

Will there be a 5th Annual? We sure hope so. But, in the meantime, players can hone their skills and find potential partners in the Mixed Doubles Sunday Scrambles described above.

Local Pro Brings New Look to Eastman Tennis

Eastman’s new pro, Josh Holt of the River Valley Club (RVC) in Lebanon exudes lots of enthusiasm when he shares with players his ideas for expanding Eastman’s tennis program. A certified USPTR pro with over 10+ years of experience teaching and coaching tennis locally and in Vermont, Josh brings to Eastman for 2019 a comprehensive program developed by the RVC pros that has been very popular among Upper Valley players of all ages and levels of skill. 

The Grantham resident is a New England guy through-and-through. A Woodstock, VT native, Josh took his talent up I89 to St. Michaels (or as he calls it, “St. Mikes”) College in Winooski where he played #1 singles and doubles before launching his career as a teaching pro at The Edge Sports & Fitness Center in South Burlington. Back in the Upper Valley, Josh coached the Hanover High JV Boy’s Tennis Team for four years and joined RVC in 2008. With three young children of his own, Josh enjoys working with Eastman’s juniors–as well as the not-so-youthful players.

With something for everyone–adults and juniors, beginners and seasoned players–the flexible 7-day-a-week program is designed for the enjoyment of all Eastman residents: full-and-part-timers, working and retired, and those only in Eastman on weekends. Additionally, ECA Members’ visitors and the public are welcome to participate in any of the sessions with purchase of day passes or memberships, or through the UAP‘s Family and Friends benefit.

A 30,000′ View of the Program

Adult Classes–Separate sessions for Beginners and Intermediate level players, will be offered on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings. Sessions will focus on stroke development and progress to doubles strategy.

CARDIO! Get your heart pumping in the morning. This fitness program, that has been a popular one in clubs throughout New England for over a decade, is suitable for players of all abilities–from beginner to pro.

Team Practices–We expect the Eastman teams’ standings to soar in the UVCTA Summer League after practicing with Josh. As in years past, women will practice on Monday evenings, A men on Wednesdays, and the Bs on Thursdays.

And, the kids will LOVE these.

RED BALL— for 5 – 6 year olds, uses low-compression balls on shorter courts focuses on coordination and FUN.

ORANGE BALL— 7 – 8 year olds will enjoy fun and games still using low compression balls to improve coordination and skill.

GREEN DOT–Drills, games, and point play are added for both beginners and intermediates in the 9 -11 year range.

JUNIOR CAMPS–For ages 6 – 13, these camps are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings throughout the summer. Players sign up by the week.

For the close-up view, day-by-day, click here.

Contact Josh via email at or call the RVC FitShop (603)-643-3627 for information about the Eastman program or to arrange private or semi-private lessons.

It’s going to be an ACE of a season on Eastman’s courts!

Save the Date: 2019’s First Tennis Event

Games, Sets, and Matches for All

Fill your summer calendar acing and smashing–or, slicing and dicing. Whatever your playing style or skill level, there’s something for everyone this summer at Eastman.  Here’s a quick view of the first of several special events planned for you and your family and friends.


Season Opening Social, Saturday, May 25, 9 AM  

2017 Open House

Shake off the mud-season blahs and join fellow tennis players–and aspiring tennis players–at the Lower Courts on Draper Road to kick off the 2019 tennis season. All Eastman’s tennis players are welcome to learn about the community’s tennis programs that include some exciting new changes for 2019, meet new players and welcome back old faithfuls, and, of course, play tennis. Come meet Eastman’s new tennis pro, Josh Holt of the River Valley Club in Lebanon. The $20/pp fee includes lunch served at the Lower Court.

This event is guaranteed to be a big SMASH! 

Don’t commit an unforced error and miss this event. 


Sign up by May 22 by calling Recreation at (603)-863-6772.


For a complete list of special events for 2019, go to 2019 Weekend Events

Sport for a Lifetime

Often touted as a “sport for a lifetime,” tennis is like riding a bike—you have to keep on moving to keep your balance. However, if you haven’t played in a while, you may need a little nudge to get back on the courts. The tennis community in Eastman is ready to give you that nudge, and all the tools and opportunities that you need to get back in the swing of things. ECA’s Recreation Committee’s Tennis  Subcommittee is rolling out the welcome mat for new players this summer from Eastman and the surrounding communities.

The Tennis Subcommittee has laid out its vision:

  •  The eight har-tru courts on Draper Road teeming with activity from May to September
  • Players from nine to 90, playing and socializing under a newly constructed pavilion on Draper Road
  • Eastman’s travel teams entertaining loyal fans with “W”s against opponents in the Upper Valley Community Association Summer League
  •  A jam-packed calendar of events, lessons, clinics and fun-filled activities for players of all ages, abilities, and interest-levels offered evenings, weekdays, and weekends.

Technology changes for racquet construction have helped many beginning players get off to a quicker start and many of us to keep on playing well into our “golden” years. A typical hour of singles can burn off 400 or more calories for the average adult, and 90 minutes of doubles, the same.


NEW this year at Eastman–CARDIO tennis. A combination fitness and tennis program, Cardio tennis will be offered on Saturdays at from 8 to 9 a.m.. If you want (or need) a good workout, whether you’ve barely played the sport or are a seasoned master, Cardio tennis is for YOU! 


For more information on how you can enjoy a sport for a lifetime and make new friends, use the box in the upper left of this page to get the latest news about tennis in Eastman or call the ECA Recreation Department at (603)-863-6772.


Don’t stay on the sidelines. Get into the swing of tennis at Eastman.