Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa tennis coach teaches all ages about skills and values

Last week, Glen Shull taught 14 kids a trick tennis shot. Shull, who has two master's degrees and a doctorate, retired in 1999 from traveling the world as an organizational development consultant for Marathon Oil.

In 2001, he started coaching tennis. Now, as a stay-at-home dad with a 2-year-old son, he teaches about 10 hours a week for Tampa's Parks and Recreation Department at the Himes Avenue Sports Complex. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Elisabeth Parker caught up with Shull to chat about fitness advice and his bonus life lessons.

Shull charges a drop-in fee of $10 for kids and adults to show up and play at one of his eight classes each week.

What ages do you coach?

I start at age 4. That's when eye-hand coordination comes in.

And your older students?

We have many who play tennis past 70, even into the 90s. There is one gentleman at 102 who plays four days a week in Florida. I will turn 70 in March and am a very active coach, feeding the balls, rallying and competing for fun and fitness. Not many my age or those in their 90s play any "athletic" sports except dancing and swimming.

What's a class with you like?

When you're on my court, you're pretty much in your cardio zone. I want you to hit a lot of balls.

You're there for exercise, not standing in line. I spend very little time talking. I model a volley or a ground stroke. I tell them as they're playing: "Get your stance right. Get your feet in the right place."

With kids, we play games like "bouncing balls alive." As long as the ball is bouncing, they get to hit it. I teach a shot of the day.

What are the fitness goals you aim for?

We focus on skills, conditioning (all muscle groups especially core and legs), games and fun. As a rule of thumb, 20 to 40 minutes in your cardio zone will get you in good condition.

For adults, I may work on her backhand or his serve. With kids it's a trick shot. Like underneath one leg or hitting with your back to the net. I have them catch a ball on their racket and not bounce it. Sometimes they actually end up using it in a game.

What are other ways you encourage kids to be active?

I always point out the positive. I have the kids race around the court. I say, "Notice how he's running. She's pumping her arms. Imitate that.' If a kid is 13 and he can keep up with me, he's pretty good. I'm in pretty good shape for an old guy. I'll talk to the parents. You have a natural runner. You ought to get him into track.

Do you teach other values in your classes?

I give a little sermon when we're taking our break if I see someone eating a candy bar. I might say, now, she's eating pretzels. That might be better for you on the tennis court than a candy bar. It's going to give you a high and then you'll find that you're dragging. I tell them, dilute Gatorade 50/50 with water. I suggest raisins or a banana.

All my kids eat pretty healthy after they've been there a few times.

I teach values, too.

I tell them: I'm a person. Don't hit the ball at me. Treat people nice. Treat things nice. None of my people throw their rackets. I have a catch phrase: safety first, fun second and skills third. Winning will come.

Parents have said, "Boy, none of your kids misbehave." One time, a nanny walked up carrying one of the younger siblings and a racket. I said, "Whose racket it that?"

The kid said, "That's mine." I said, "You carry it."

Parents always look at me and (silently say): "Thank you."

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Comments
Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

TAMPA — Initially, Tampa's Paige Howard was a little reticent about joining the pre-dawn throng at the starting line of Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.On a morning when temperatures began in the mid-60s and climbed, Howard's ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that the two guys in...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

The Tampa Bay Times will be there for every step of this year's Gasparilla Distance Classic. Whether you'll be walking, skipping, jogging or sprinting across the 5K, 8K, 15K or half-marathon finish, join us by using #gasparillarun.(function(d, s, id)...
Published: 02/24/18
The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The real Jefferson Memorial has a statue, but this one has a jukebox

The building was in its infancy when a vintage Cadillac Eldorado rumbled up the construction path. Getting out, the driver demanded to know what the finished structure was intended for.Told that it would be a private home, the driver scoffed. The uni...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Published: 02/23/18
Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

Florida Capitol Republicans promise ‘complete investigation’ of what went wrong

TALLAHASSEE — A bombshell that South Florida police ignored tips that a teenager was planning an assault on a school and then failed to stop him when he attacked seems destined to complicate the election-year discussion around mass shootings.Even in ...
Published: 02/23/18
Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

Top Justice official alerted White House 2 weeks ago to ongoing issues in Kushner’s security clearance

WASHINGTON — A top Justice Department official alerted the White House two weeks ago that significant information requiring additional investigation would further delay the security clearance process of senior adviser Jared Kushner, three people fami...
Published: 02/23/18
Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

Indiana man killed, two hurt as boats collide on Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — Arthur D. Showley, 75, went fishing early Friday morning, something he did two or three times a week, friends said. When they saw his car and trailer still parked near a community boat ramp at 2 p.m., they thought that was strange."He never ...
Published: 02/23/18