The best USTA League captains go on the fine line between posting competitive line-ups, making sure all team members have time, providing excellent communication without being overbearing or dictatorial, and knowing when to give their teammates their place , while providing guidance and support.
For women 55 and older at the Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Fla., Is captain JoAnn Merklinghaus, who over the past year has led 55-and-over teams to sections while serving as an ambassador for the club and assisted leader. pro with player recruitment and special events.
“She comes to every game to watch and support her team, and she even gives the balls to every court while refusing to take money from the team to pay her back,” said Boulevard player Lauren Kusher.
Merklinghaus’ support for her team-mates during the matches reflects one of her favorite quotes from Serena Williams: “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We are strongest when we cheer on each other.”
“I love organizing double partners and enjoy watching my teammates succeed in the sport,” said Merklinghaus, who has competed in the USTA League 55-and-over and TriLevel competitions this year. “This past season we came to the sections and got to play in the final. Unfortunately we lost, but our goal is to go to the sections and win the final!”
While she recently cared for her ailing father and traveled to care for a daughter who underwent surgery, she still cared for all the needs of her team, Kusher said.
“She never missed a beat by making sure the team was taken care of,” the Boulevard player said. “As a result of her great captaincy skills, the players at the club always ask her to be the captain of teams and want to play on them. JoAnn also does her best to put the right players into the matches to give the teams the best chance of to win, but also does everything to get the other players in the fights when she can at all. ”
The New Jersey-raised Merklinghaus can also offer its team wisdom as a former certified fitness trainer who now works in the wellness industry, having previously served as the owner and publisher of a New Jersey newspaper.
“When life changes, so do careers,” Merklinghaus says. “Exercise is the best disease prevention and anti-aging product available. Exercise increases productivity and gives people more energy. I’ve experienced this myself when I made fitness a regular part of my life. I saw it in others when I brought it into theirs. “
USTA Florida thanks and congratulates JoAnn Merklinghaus as the USTA Florida Volunteer of the Month for March 2022 as a team captain who organizes tennis and promotes fitness among Vero Beach players.
Birthplace: New Jersey
Family members: My husband Jim, my son Ryan, my daughter Cassandra, my daughter-in-law Ashley and my 2-year-old granddaughter McKenzie are my tennis star in training.
Favorite movie: The heat
Favourite food: Salmon
Favorite destination: Bahamas
Favorite picture: One-handed backhand
My earliest tennis memory was… “When Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in 1973.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would be“Serena William, Naomi Osaka, Ashley Barty.”
When I’m not playing tennis, I do… “Plays my piano, records metal and fishes.”
My best tennis memory is… “Watching Serena William play in the US Open.”
I like volunteering in tennis because… “I love organizing double partners and enjoy watching my teammates succeed in the sport.”
Interested in volunteering in tennis? Visit www.USTAFlorida.com/Volunteers to learn more about available options.