Action County: Dave Turrin
Dave Turrin has been a tennis teaching pro for 30 years. The New Jersey native, who has spent 25 of his teaching years in Summit County, decided last May that it was time for a change.Even though he’s hung up his racket as a teacing pro at the Breck Rec Center, Turrin hasn’t strayed too far from the game he loves. Turrin became the assistant coach of the Summit High School girls varsity tennis team this spring. Head coach Rae Anderson, who is a long-time friend of Turrin’s, announced her retirement at the outset of the season.”I knew Rae was looking for some help,” Turrin said. “And I have a daughter on the team, which also motivated me to get involved.”Kali Turrin is a freshman who played at No. 1 doubles this season with her partner Megan Hollenbeck. Turrin’s seventeen-year-old son Rudy is a member of the Summit Lacrosse high school boys club team.
Turrin’s transition from teacher to coach was “a very positive experience,” he said. “The kids were wonderful to be around.”Not only did the Tigers sport good attitudes, they enjoyed an outstanding regular season, finishing 9-3 overall, with one singles player (Sutton Anderson) and one doubles team (Holly Westwood and Jodi Houghtaling) both winning 10 matches. The Tigers ultimately sent three players to the 4A state tournament after an uncharacteristically strong showing at their regional tourney.”I was glad to be part of this team,” Turrin said. “I contributed what I could to its success, but (Rae Anderson and I) are really just consultants. The players do all the work.”Turrin has helped his players focus on mechanics, movements, tactics and mental toughness throughout the season. He said the latter aspect of the game was especially emphasized during recent weeks.”We tried to get them to avoid the negative stuff,” Turrin said. “Like hanging their heads on the last point rather than moving on to the next.”
Turrin learned a thing or two about mental toughness while playing pro tennis in the late 1970’s. He described the tournaments he played in Asia, the U.S. and Europe as satellite circuits that were qualifiers for major events. “There was prize money but it wasn’t at the ATP level,” he said. “I did okay but I had to work other jobs to support the traveling. After about three years of that, I decided that if I was going to stay in tennis, my future was in teaching – not playing.”Turrin is unsure what his future will hold with the Tigers in the wake of Anderson’s retirement.”Next year is a long way off,” he said. “I’m not sure what my plans are. One of the things I’m doing over the next year is building a house in Breck. When that’s done, we’ll see what happens.”
When did you start playing tennis with your daughter?”When she was three or four. We used to hang a ball off a rope in the back yard and just let her smack it around with a racket whenever she wanted. But we’ve (played) on and off over the years. She’s into horses and she played volleyball last year so she’s not just tennis.”How do you focus on mental toughness?”We teach a four-step mental process to be used in between points. It involves positive response to every point, relaxation, preparation and ritual. If you follow that process, you can’t be thinking about the weather, your boyfriend, school or anything else. … The kids that have been receptive to it say it’s been quite effective for them.”
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