The best USTA League captains walk the fine line between posting competitive line-ups to make sure all team members get court time, excellent communication without being overbearing or dictatorial, and knowing when to give teammates their space while providing guidance and support.
For women 55 and older at the Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Fla., That captain is JoAnn Merklinghaus, who led the club last year with 55-and-over teams while acting as an ambassador for the club. recruiting players and special events with pro.
“She comes to watch and support her team, and she even provides the ball for every court when refusing to take money from her team,” says Boulevard player Lauren Kusher.
Her favorite Serena Williams quotes, “Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. When we’re strongest we cheer each other. ”
“I love to organize doubles partners and enjoy watching my teammates succeed in the sport,” says Merklinghaus, who has competed in the USTA League 55-and-over and TriLevel Competition. “This past season we made it to the sectionals and got to the finals. Unfortunately, we are lost, but our goal is to go to the sectionals and win the finals! ”
While still having a daughter for caring for her father and traveling to babysit, she’s still tended to the need for her team, Kusher said.
“She’s a team that has taken care of making sure she never misses a beat,” said the Boulevard player. “As a result of her great captaining skills, the players at the club are always asking her to captain teams and want them to play. JoAnn also tries to give her the best players she can to win the best chance of winning teams, but also to make every effort she can get to other players. ”
The New Jersey-raised Merklinghaus can also offer her teams the wisdom of being a former certified fitness trainer who now works in the wellness industry, then formerly the owner and publisher of a newspaper in New Jersey.
“As life transitions, so do carers,” says Merklinghaus. “Exercise is the best disease prevention and anti-aging remedy. Exercise boosts productivity and gives people more energy. I’ve just experienced this once in a while. 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 organizing tennis and promoting fitness among players in Vero Beach.
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 is my tennis star in training.
Favorite Movie: The Heat
Favorite Food: Salmon
Favorite Travel Spot: The Bahamas
Favorite Shot: One-handed backhand
My earliest tennis was memory… “When Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in 1973.”
If I could play tennis with three people, they would… “Serena William, Naomi Osaka, Ashley Barty.”
When am I not playing tennis… “Playing my piano, metal detecting and fishing.”
My best tennis memory is… “Seeing Serena William play in the US Open.”
I like to volunteer in tennis… “I love to organize doubles 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 opportunities.