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- Published on Friday, 15 June 2012 11:25
Former Big Elk tennis state champ settles into career as private coach, conducts second year of bootcamp
Daily Elk Citian
Chuck Bison returned to Elk City last week, and once again left a mark on its tennis community.
In 1992, Bison claimed a tennis state championship for Elk City High School, along with his doubles partner Chris Galloway. He went on to play college tennis at Cameron University in Lawton, before a six-year stint on the professional tour, and has since settled into a career as a private tennis teacher in the Chicago area. Last week, for the second year in a row, Bison returned to his hometown to conduct a tennis “bootcamp” for junior high and high school kids, part of the Elk City Summer Youth Tennis program. Bison said he returned home to find the state of tennis in the community is on the upswing.
“Everybody’s starting to be real excited about [tennis]. I pushed the kids about as hard as I could push them, where they couldn’t hardly walk, and they all came back [the next day]. I was like, ‘This is exciting, these are young kids working their tails off.’”
When the boys and girls ECHS tennis teams sent all its members to the state tournament this year, it was enough to pique Bison’s interest. He said he plans to fly down next year for the state tournament to witness the tennis program’s success in person.
Bison’s bootcamp included methods he learned at John Newcombe’s Tennis Academy, where he worked during his summers in college.
Aspects of the instruction included a full body workout called “Insanity,” which focuses on footwork, and a drill called “Seven Minutes of Heaven,” where athletes jump over lines for minutes at a time to build leg strength.
Bison said he used the same lessons he would employ at camps in Chicago, which cost up to $1,500 a week per participant. The cost for the Elk City camp was $150 a head, making it an all-out bargain for area tennis players.
“Seeing what they did at Newcomb’s Academy and bringing it here at the price I charge is amazing,” Bison said. “I’m more than happy to come down here and do it.”
Bison said he urges kids to set goals of attaining college scholarships. There are over 250 Division I tennis scholarships given every year.
“Tennis is great for scholarships,” Bison said. “I challenged them and hopefully opened up a whole new window for them to look out.”