An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
First published Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 174

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Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170).  Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.


Former Brooklyn tennis pro seeks to teach sport here
By Melissa Hinkley
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

They say you are never to young or too old to play tennis.  Thanks to a Costa Rican municipality and tennis pro Gary Zelman, many living in Costa Rica will get to experience the game.

The sports committee of Escazú is building a new tennis court near the cemetery.  Zelman will bring his expertise to the court, offering private and group lessons.  He taught tennis for 22 years in Brooklyn, New York, before finally making his way to Costa Rica.  His eventual move to Costa Rica took almost 10 years as he visited occasionally since 1999.  Finally, three years ago, he made the move.

“I got tired of the fast paced life.  I was doing 70 hours a week and now I have the best of both worlds; weather, Latin culture, and I get to do what I love,” said Zelman.

Now he teaches tennis lessons to people of all ages, currently ranging from 6 years old to 70 years old.  He said that taking lessons is important because results are quick and the sport becomes more enjoyable.  During the lessons, he said he not only works on the physical part of the game, but also the mental.

“I'm really big into visualizations and analogies," he said.  "It is a way to break down the strokes with pictures in your mind.  It is very tough to do at first but it produces physical results quickly.  I tell them practice, practice, practice but do it correctly.”

Most of the lessons that he is giving right now are private sessions, which cost $30 per hour.  He also offers sessions with two people costing $20 each hour.  Zelman is open to group sessions, but has not done any of those yet in Costa Rica.  Currently, he is looking for other tennis pros so that he can satisfy a larger group of eager tennis enthusiasts.  Said Zelman:
Zelman tennis pro Gary Zelman on a La Sabana court

 
“I get a kick out of making people happy.  When people get into tennis and see quick results they say, 'I can do this'.  And apart from being fun it is very healthy too.”

He also said that when most people go out to play, they just end up chasing tennis balls the whole time because they don't know what they are doing.  “With a pro who's using 150 balls, that is where the benefit is.  You probably can get lessons for less, but you can't get it better,” said Zelman.

He can be reached at 8832-7567 or 2228-3505.

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