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Growing the Sport: Coach Winterton’s Elite Camp and Coaching Clinic

by Jim Winterton

In the spring of 2023, I approached Dan Whitley of Vetta Sports in St. Louis with an idea. Since almost half of the Elite camp attendees in 2022 were from St. Louis, why not have the Elite camp in St. Louis?

Dan loved the idea; and then went one further. He and a group of others - Stephen Deves, Thomas Carter, Manny Rodriguez, Dan Witt and various high school coaches - thought about making this camp more than a racquetball camp by adding a coaching clinic.

The response exceeded everyone's expectations. 15 coaches attended the clinic and 40 racquetball youngsters from ages 10-18 attended the camp, which ran from Monday to Friday. Coach Winterton patterned the camp after his experiences with working high school football and tennis camps he worked at in New York State when he coached high school sports. The kids attended camp from 8am to 4pm and the coach’s clinic was from 6pm to 8pm.

This year the camp is almost closed again. We have 39 kids signed up already this year. There are a few openings left and then we will go to a waiting list. The venue of Vetta Concord is special as there are ten courts to work with and we have a large group of high school coaches helping us.

The St. Louis program is special as the coaches and parents are in it for the love of racquetball and school pride! Personally speaking, my first thought at my first junior national tournament in 1977 was "I'd love to work with the kids who lost and are just beginning to compete in junior nationals."

Great kids and a great atmosphere make these camps special.

Don't take my word for it - Ellen Williams, an attendee for the last three years, has a few thoughts and some photos of last year's camp.

Ellen: This year will be my 3rd year attending the Elite Camp, hosted by Coach Winterton. The first year I attended was in Colorado and I remember Coach walking up to me, sticking out his hand to shake mine and saying, “They call me Coach.” From that moment, I knew he wasn’t playing around. I have grown so much not only as a player, but an athlete and a person as well after attending camp. I have learned how to maximize my performance, fine tune my technique and maintain a positive mental game. Last year, I had a medical emergency that caused me to have surgery just days before camp. I was extremely disappointed to be missing out, because I had such a positive experience the year before. With this though, I was fortunate enough to take the position of being the media team for that week. Through this position I saw the camp from a whole new perspective. I had a chance to step back and watch from an aerial view. I say the interactions between coaches and athletes. The sharing of advice and wisdom. The laughter between peers on and off the court. I got a chance to see the relational side of this camp. Elite Camp will not only help you grow in your racquetball game, but also your relationships with those around you and some of the top coaches in the area! Elite Camp is something I look forward to and would encourage everyone to attend!

Big thanks to sponsors Missouri High School Racquetball Association and ProKennex.

June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams
June 2024 Newsletter
Ellen Williams