February-March 2017

OTA players have recently traveled to Chattanooga, Memphis, and Little Rock…


     (Coach Matias talking to Brooke in Chattanooga)


     (Darby and Brooke in Memphis)


 (Karl, Stella, and Coach Matias at Spring Swing) 


 (Mamen watching Hayden in Little Rock)


(Santi Halle & Zac Curtis with Coaches Matias & Beau at Spring Swing)



HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!!!!!


2017 has been a good year for OTA already…


Hayden Shoemake won the Jay Freeman Most Improved Player Award…Which recognizes effort, dedication, and personal improvement in tennis. 

Hayden has steadily improved throughout 2016, starting the year ranked in the 120’s in the South, and finished the year in the top 60.


Congratulations Hayden!!!


It was a great end to 2016:

Hayden Shoemake was the 7A west singles runner up, and placed 4th at State!


Emma Baker placed 4th at the 7A west Conference tournament and won her first round at State!


Taylor Cheung-Damonte was the 7A west Conference doubles Championship, the 7A State doubles Champion, and the Arkansas Overall Doubles Champion! 


Brooke Killingsworth was the 7A West Singles Champion, the 7A Singles Champion, and the Arkansas overall Singles Champion! She was also named the Wendy’s Arkansas Player of the Year, Along with being named Tennis Player of the Year by the Arkansas Athletics Association.

(Brooke pictured Left)


Brooke was named the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Singles Player of the Year. Taylor was also named the Arkansas the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Doubles Player of the Year!








Congrats guys on an AWESOME year!!!

Welcoming the new year!

It’s almost a month old, so what a perfect time to welcome in 2016!!  But first, good-bye to 2015:

It was a great year, from Jack Vaughan winning the OTA tournament…


To welcoming Coach Matias (pictured giving Coach Kristina some words of coaching wisdom) to the OTA family…


To Haeleigh making the Qualifier finals…

haeleigh qualifier

To a phenomenal summer…


To the moving on of our two senior leaders, Mallory and Haeleigh…


To a sad, but not unexpected, good-bye to Coach Jake…


To a triumph at state for Taylor, who won the 7A doubles title…

imagejpeg_0 (2)


To the beginning of off-season training, and a whole new CrossFit crew…


It was so good, Darby couldn’t bear to hear it was over…


Yes, it was an excellent year — and 2016 is already looking good!  There is an excitement amongst our coaches, as we see a motivation and effort coming from our players that can only lead to good things, on and off the court.  And this is not only from our older groups, but our younger ones as well.  From Anklebiters to Orange Crush to Black, it’s been a fantastic winter so far!

As we move into the year, much of the excitement stems from our coaching news.  As most of you know, we added two former OTA players to the staff, Matt Tabler and Caleb “C Mac” McReynolds, and they are already doing a phenomenal job.  Matt has the little guys wrapped around his finger (maybe they mistake him for a teddy bear because of the beard?), and C Mac has already put a stamp on our fitness program.  We are so happy to have both of them!

C Mac bioMatt bio


Coach Jared has also had a busy last year, with a rough start to 2015 transitioning to a year that saw him acquire 2 fitness certifications, serve a 3rd year on the Southern Section Coaches Commission, work as a Team USA sectional coach, coach two major team events (as a Southerns coach for 14’s Zonals and as the Arkansas coach for 12’s Southern Cup), and be one of only 2 Arkansas pros invited to attend the Southern Tournament Director’s workshop.  2016 has already been productive as well, as he was accepted into the USTA High Performance Coaching Program, where he spent a week training at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton.  All of the information he gathers is then funneled down to the rest of the OTA coaching staff, so that we can continue to grow as a program.

January 2016 HPCP Group photo

So there it is — the end of 2015, and the already-begun welcoming of 2016!  Thank you to all of you for being part of our OTA family, we are looking forward to an amazing new year!!!!


2015 Summer so far: Qualifier, Southerns, and a lot of hard working players!

It has been a spectacular start to the summer, and our coaches have been impressed with the effort being put in by the players.  There are more players than ever taking advantage of the time off from school, and putting in 5 days a week of training.  This is how the Summer has gone so far:

Arkansas Jr Qualifier


We had 20 players and 5 coaches travel to Little Rock, and it was an excellent weekend for the program!  We qualified several for Southerns, and were high on many of the alternate lists, too.  The top finishers were:

Haeleigh Long – 2nd place Girls 18 singles

Mallory Tabler – 3rd place Girls 18 singles, Girls 18 Doubles Champion

Gwyneth Gifford – 3rd place Girls 12 singles, Girls 12 Doubles Champion

Caroline Long – 2nd Place Girls 12 Doubles





Overall, it was a great learning experience for many of our players, and gave a glimpse of many future successful Qualifiers to come.  It was especially exciting to have so many of our Under 10’s participate… and they ALL qualified for Southerns!!  (Ok, ok, so EVERYONE who played in the 10’s qualified — but don’t tell that to Micah.)  Thanks to all of our players and parents who attended, the OTA family was strong and supportive as ever!IMG_1414IMG_1413






Both Haeleigh and Mallory went to Mobile, Alabama, for the Southern Girls 18 Closed.  In the face of some pretty stiff competition, Mallory ended up snagging the only victory of the weekend, but just making it to the that event is quite an achievement.  Congratulations to both, it represents a lot of hard work and sacrifice on their part, and it is a wonderful way to end their junior career before heading off to college!








Colgate Jr Open

We had a very large part of the group play in the Colgate, and we did well overall. Below are the top finishers, congratulations to all!

Hayden Shoemake – 2nd place Boys 14 Singles

Sarah Schneringer – 2nd place Girls 18 singles

Gwyneth Gifford – Girls 14 singles Champion


Sanket Srivastava – Boys 16 Novice Champion

Seth Grady – 2nd place Boys 16 Novice

Graham Hardin – Boys 10 Novice Champion

Ashlyn Pursel – 2nd place Girls 10 NoviceIMG_1422




Summer Program

It’s been a summer of hard work,


with hard workers,


who are working hard AND having fun!








Keep up the good work… Go OTA!!!!


10th Annual Nestle Waters OTA Championships

It had come to this… two players in the championship match, each trying to write their own OTA legacy, to win the largest OTA Championship tournament ever.  In one corner – Mallory Tabler, seeking to become the first girl to win the title since Abbey Sharpe did it three years in a row.  She was also vying for the family legacy, as it was older brother Martin who ended Abbey’s reign in the finals 6 years ago.  In the other – Jack Vaughan.  THE Jack Vaughan, who has surely and steadily been climbing the OTA (and state) ranks.  He’s quiet, unassuming, and far tougher than most people realize.  Two competitors, both of whom represent themselves and OTA in the best possible way, who are “Respect all, fear none” embodied.

The result?


Jack Vaughan adds his name to the list of OTA Champions, withstanding a late rally by Mallory, who – like the champion we all know her to be – refused to go quietly, and made Jack play his best at the end to secure the title.

At nearly 80 players and 11 divisions, there was fierce competition all over the facility for three days.  Three very DRY days, thankfully!  Here is the list of Division winners:

Djoker (Tournament Champion) – Jack Vaughan def Mallory Tabler

jack championphoto

Halep – Gwyn Gifford def Sarah Schneringer

Murray – Sankalp Pandey def Taylor Brandt


Serena – David Cordero (above) def Jack Isola

Raonic – Ogden Wells (below left) def Amrutha Parvathaneni

imageFullSizeRender (3)

Sharapova – Zac Curtis (above, with entourage) def Apoorva Krovvidi

Rafa – Katelyn Long (below) def Ashlyn Pursel


Azarenka – Jovan Knight def Kristen Wells

Dimitrov – Abyan Das def Mariska Desselle

Keys – Cameron Isola won the tiebreaker after a round robin tie with Brylee Patterson

Nishikori – John Lacy went undefeated in the 7 player round robin

So congratulations to Jack Vaughan once again, and to all of our division champs!  And thank you to all of the parents… the values and sportsmanship that OTA represents is only possible when modeled by all of you.  It was a fantastic weekend, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic summer… Go OTA!!!!

Learning from the Dark Side

Wait… golf can teach us something???

Last weekend, The Masters golf tournament took place, and Jordan Spieth took home “the coveted green jacket” that goes to the tournament champion.  (Rafa wouldn’t have much fun biting THAT particular trophy!)  I watched none of it, and wish I could have watched less.  That’s how much I enjoy golf.

But I did take some time to read about the new champ, and I was struck by the similarities in his approach to his game as in the top champions (Rafa, Djoker, Serena… I’m forgetting SOMEONE, I think) of ours.  The section below should be required reading for all players and their parents — I hope it resonates with you as much as it did me.

– Coach Jared

For the entire story — I’ve given only the cliff notes and highlighted parts that struck me — go here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/jordan-spieth-s-biggest-prize-for-winning-the-masters-%E2%80%93-telling-his-sister-he-won-021655897.html

It’s not that Spieth doesn’t care about running roughshod over the course and the competition. He texted caddie Michael Greller on Sunday morning and said he wanted to get to 20-under par. Considering, at that moment, no one had ever gotten to 19-under par, that was quite the aggressive plan.

But behind that ambition is something else, perhaps best explained through another conversation Spieth had Sunday morning. His dad, Shawn, didn’t say anything to his son before last year’s final round, but this time he did.

“This is the greatest game, the Masters,” Shawn Spieth said. “But it’s still a game.”

That’s the perspective that Jordan Spieth seems to take with him everywhere. His younger brother Steven is not a golfer but a basketball player for Brown. Most of his closest friends don’t play golf. Even Jordan himself grew up playing several sports. There’s a bigger world out there, and Jordan understands it. Even caddie Michael Greller said Saturday that “at the end of the day, golf is just entertainment.”

And when Jordan got up to accept the green jacket, the moment every golfer cherishes as a distant ideal, he began by thanking the club members, the volunteers, and the food and beverage staff.

He then called winning The Masters “the ultimate goal in my life” before correcting himself: “my golf life.”

So although Spieth reveres golf history, relying on Ben Crenshaw and caddie Carl Jackson to prepare him for this week’s tournament, he is not a golf geek. He grew up doing much more than beating balls into nets endlessly like some fast-track kids. That, too, helped him this week.  He sees the bigger picture even inside the tiniest frame.

Congratulations Mallory, Haeleigh, Kruti, and Robert!

The state doubles finals was quite the OTA event!  Mallory Tabler and her partner from Bentonville High narrowly defeated Haeleigh Long and her Rogers High partner 6-2, 7-5.  The win was the culmination of an extremely successful career for Mallory, but one that had consistently seen her come up just shy of the elusive state title.  In all 3 of her previous years, she was a doubles finalist, placing second every time.  Bringing home the championship was not only critical to her team’s success, but also was an excellent way to close her individual career.  Oh, and Haeleigh?  All she did was contribute to 3 state titles for the Mounties in her career.

mal at state

Winning the doubles title also helped the Bentonville girls win the team title.  Kruti Shah qualified in singles for the Tigers, making the quarterfinals to give her squad some much-needed help in the points department.  Fantastic job for all the girls!


And finally, in a busy week for OTA, Robert Terry (pictured above in the red with LITTLE brother Doug) was announced as the recipient of the Jay Freeman Award, presented by the Arkansas Tennis Association to the most improved boy in the state.  It comes as no surprise to his coaches, who have watched him develop into a solid player, and a great teammate, and a true OTA leader.  Congratulations, Robert, you deserve it!

Mental Training for OTA

Jason Leal, OTA’s Process Communication Model trainer, recently completed his Primal Blueprint certification, which covers all aspects of healthy living, from nutrition to sleep habits to sun exposure to exercise, and much, much more.  Since just before he began working with OTA coaches and players, he has lost over 125 lbs through improved nutrition (like Coach Jared he is a paleo enthusiast) and a dedication to fitness in general — CrossFit in specific.  Jason continues to work closely with OTA coaches to improve their ability to connect with players, and also serves as an excellent role model for living a healthy lifestyle.  For more information about our mental training program, please contact Jared or Christy.

Process Communication Model

Every player is unique, because every child is unique.  All of us have our own way of communicating our needs and preferences – and just as importantly, ways of communicating that connect with us better than others.  At OTA, we strive to create an environment that maximizes the quality of communication between players and coaches.

In order to optimize our oncourt interactions, OTA uses the Process Communication Model (PCM®).  PCM is a learning tool to enrich interpersonal communications, which enables coaches to connect with and motivate players, helping each to meet his or her own goals.  PCM is a language-based personality and communications model created by Dr. Taibi Kahler, a developmental psychologist from Purdue University. Dr. Kahler’s model provides a vehicle and framework for helping people tailor communication so that everyone – regardless of their intrinsic communication style – can truly hear the intended message.

At OTA, we require every long-term coach to complete a training course in PCM. (OTA parents are encouraged to learn PCM, too, either through a one-day introductory workshop, or by taking an entire course.)  Coaches follow up on a player’s PCM training by more effectively communicating messages on technique, strategy, or handling competitive stress.  Our ability to more quickly connect with a player who has been through PCM enables us to increase the quality of time we are able to spend with each player.


PCM Trainer

Jason-Leal-Web-240x300Jason Leal is the owner of Talknotch, a consulting company that specializes in communication and team dynamics. He currently lives in Newton, Kansas and has worked for Prairie View Behavior Health for the last 15 years. At Prairie View, his focus has been on Intra-personal and Team development. He has spent much of his professional career decoding the nuances of unproductive communication and interpersonal conflict.

Jason is a certified Process Communication Trainer, and has been working with PCM for the last 4 years. He currently works closely with Next Element Inc., an associate Process Communication Training group where he became licensed in PCM and Certified in NEOS, an outcomes measurement instrument used to measure process change in groups and individuals, and which is currently being evaluated as a potential training tool for OTA players as well.

He is also a certified Leading Out of Drama trainer, the only certified Behavior Management Through Adventure trainer in Kansas, and is an associate trainer with the Boston-based company, Project Adventure. Through BMTA, he works with professionals around the state developing skills in conflict negotiation. In addition, he has been a certified Experiential Facilitator/Trainer for the last 8 years, working with a diverse population, from adolescents to Executives.  With his facilitation, groups have been able to learn effective strategies in communication, and individuals how to better recognize and respond to the gifts of others.

Perhaps what makes Jason most in-line with OTA philosophies is his own personal journey and transformation.  He has lost over 125 lbs through improved nutrition (like Coach Jared he is a paleo enthusiast) and a dedication to fitness in general — CrossFit in specific.  In addition to his behavioral therapy, Jason is a health and fitness trainer as well.  He recently completed his Primal Blueprint certification, which covers all aspects of healthy living, from nutrition to sleep habits to sun exposure to exercise, and much, much more.

Catherine and Jared

“Often coaches are left guessing whether or not players truly understand them.  PCM has taken the blindfold off, and allowed OTA coaches to communicate their message in a much more precise, effective manner.  PCM has proven to be an invaluable tool that dramatically improves the time we spend with our players.”

– Jared Ward, Owner/Director, Ozark Tennis Academy

“I believe the PCM opportunity has enriched Catherine’s overall tennis game, and in turn, has been a key component to her playing success.  PCM has given her coaches the opportunity to better understand Catherine’s personality and how she responds to instruction, so that she can apply what she has learned to her game, and make the most out of every lesson and drill.”
– Susan Nettle, OTA Parent



Talk Notch

Kahler Communication Europe (look under the Personality tab for more information on specific personality types)

Next Element

CrossFit for OTA

The new session begins November 3rd, and Coach Kelley is excited to get the gang together again!  Class is from 2:30-3:30, Monday through Friday.  If you are interested in attending, but need a 4:30 class in order to suit your schedule, please let Jared know!


CrossFit 8Ozark Tennis Academy trains at CrossFit NWA… and loves it!  Our players who take advantage of this program have shown tremendous gains, on and off court.  Coach Lee and Coach Kelley are our primary trainers, though we regularly have the opportunity to work with many of the other fantastic coaches as well.  CrossFit 1Monday through Friday, from 2:30-3:30, you can find high school OTA players busting out reps of pull ups, power cleans, 400 m sprints, or any other possible exercise you can think of!!  We also have workouts for our younger players as well, and in the summer, Coach Kelley runs them through a CrossFit Kids-style program.  Please let us know if you are interested in joining this unique training program with us.

CrossFit 5


Lee bio 2

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Olympic Lifting
CrossFit Running/Endurance
CrossFit Kettlebell Instructor
CrossFit Gymnastics
Physical Fitness Specialist Cooper Institute
Level 1 Sport Performance Coach – USA Weightlifting




Kelley - bio pic

CrossFit Level 1 Trainer