Ray Bilsey, Tennis Director and Head Pro

What is your background in tennis?

Ironically, nobody in family played tennis and I grew up playing basketball, baseball and soccer as I loved sports and wanted to play them all day long. And when I was 12 years old a good friend and tennis player asked me to play a match and he crushed me. I wanted to beat him back so I practiced for an entire summer at Washington Park (Burlingame) and played him near the end of the summer and beat him (it felt awesome). I started to love the one-on-one battle that tennis provided and was hooked. By the end of the year, at 13 years old, I started playing tournaments and by 14 I won the Most Improved Junior in Northern California and was ranked in the top 15 … amazing for someone who picked up the game at 12 and so, so fun. I always thought I had such an advantage at junior tournaments because I had no pressure from my family as I was just playing cause I loved it, while I could see that so many junior opponents felt tons of parental pressure.  

Then, I attended Burlingame High School and won the Pacific Athletic League (PAL) individual singles title three years in a row. From there I went to Foothill and played for coach Tom Chivington (Tom coached Brad Gilbert his entire career), as Foothill was the #1 ranked tennis program in the nation for community colleges. And then played for Cal State Hayward and was a nationally ranked collegiate player there. While working on my masters in business at CSUH I became the assistant tennis coach at Cal State and also the main assistant pro at Burlingame Country Club. A few years later, I became the assistant tennis pro at Pacific Athletic Club a few months after it opened. It was very fun to build a tennis program from the ground up at PAC (now Bay Club) and see it flourish. And for the last 18 years I’ve been thrilled to be the Tennis Director/Head Pro at Ladera Oaks.    

When did you decide that coaching/instructing was for you?

When I started coaching tennis at Burlingame Country Club, the head pro had surgery on his ankle and was out for over four months so I taught all of the lessons and realized I was LOVING teaching because so many students were saying how much they enjoyed their lessons and my teaching … I remember the moment when I realized I’m a darn good coach and I’m loving coaching players so my career was off & running from there. 

What is special about Ladera Oaks' program and what makes Ladera Oaks so unique to the sport?

LO Tennis is such a perfect family tennis club because it combines a great competitive tennis atmosphere (30+ USTA adult and junior teams per year and over 60+ players on its Junior Tennis Team) with a relaxing and fun tennis vibe surrounding the entire program. I can’t imagine another club having such a blend of players wanting to improve but also just thoroughly enjoying the game of tennis and hanging out with the friends and family at such a nice club. It has been an absolute blast being the Head Pro here because of our unique tennis environment.  

What is the most important thing you can leave your athletes?

I think my favorite thing in coaching/teaching tennis is when you have a junior player or adult take a few lessons and you see the player’s confidence grow as a few things start to click … And that moment when they realize that ‘Hey, I’m getting pretty good at tennis and this is really working.’ I think it is so fun to just feel like you are improving and sometimes you see such rapid improvement it makes the reward of teaching just incredible. That teamwork between coach and player when it works just right is especially satisfying. 

Elizabeth Wright, Fitness Director

Elizabeth Wright joined Ladera Oaks in 2001. Elizabeth thinks there are three things that Ladera Oaks superb: The facilities are gorgeous and extremely well maintained. And the club is in a great location – you can be incredibly active from club – you can run, bike, walk up a nature trail, and it is really easy to get here!

What is your background in fitness?

My background in Fitness is diverse and almost as old as I am! I grew up on a farm where you had to be agile and able – and with my parents both hailing from a theatrical background, I had to take dancing lessons (which I loved!)

Learning to swim and ride horses helped round out an active PE program in both grade school and college. What was our winter Physical Education course? Downhill skiing at Killington!

When did you decide that coaching/instructing was for you?

I completed a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology, with a specialty in health Education. For my graduate internship I got to teach and work at the famed Aerobics Center/Cooper Clinic in Dallas and at Harvard with their Faculty and Staff program.

Throughout college and graduate school I tried to get certified by as many different professional specialty groups as possible – such as The American College of Sports Medicine and The National Academy of Sports Medicine. I knew I loved teaching and coaching movement from my sophomore year of undergraduate studies. That enthusiasm and joy is something I strive to share in all my classes and trainings today!

What is special about Ladera Oaks' program and what makes Ladera Oaks so unique to the sport?

Fitness and Wellness classes at Ladera Oaks create community. Our programs provide high-quality instruction and personalized support in a friendly and comfortable place to see friends, share ideas, stories and make connections. Our community is easy-going, down-to-earth and at the same time well traveled and accomplished in their professions. Just last year, two class attendees were invited to the UN for special sessions on women’s and girl’s health. Moms, nurses, doctors, teachers, scientists – all walks of life come in to bend and stretch. We’re a great place for a workout and – equally important – social connections for support and friendship.

What is the most important thing you can leave your athletes?

The most important thing I leave my athletes with is: feeling better. Movement is a day-changer. Everyone usually feels better after a workout than they did before the workout. To get to move in our gorgeous facility and/or take a top-rate fitness class just adds to the benefits of moving the body and connecting with others. Ladera Oaks does this beautifully!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Clifford, Aquatic Teams Director

Andy Clifford started swimming at the age of six, which kicked-off a lifelong love of the sport. Andy believes in developing confident, well-rounded swimmers. He believes that not only do swimmers learn the fundamentals of the sport at Ladera Oaks, they also learn life skills such as setting goals, working towards them and handling the bumps along the way. 

[h2] What is your background in swimming? Well, I’ve been on or around a pool deck for most of my life! 1972 – 1984        Summer league swimmer for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club 1975 – 1977        AAU (currently USA Swimming) swimmer for Ladera Oaks Aquatic Club 1979 – 1982        Stanford Club Water Polo team member 1980 – 1984        Men’s Varsity Swimming for Woodside and Menlo-Atherton High Schools 1983 – 1984        Assistant Swim Coach for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club 1987 – 1990        Assistant Group Coach for Ladera Oaks PSA Team 1991 – 1996        Head Swim Coach/Pool Manager for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club 1997 – 2003        Head Assistant Swim coach for Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club 2003 – Present   Aquatic Teams Director for Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club 1985 – Present   Swim Instructor  When did you decide that coaching/instructing was for you? After college, I came home and started teaching swimming and coaching for Ladera Oaks. I had already done a lot of coaching and teaching by that point, but decided to try it for a year or two on a year-round basis. I realized that I enjoyed the work and discovered that I was pretty good at it, too! At that point, I had an opportunity to become Head Coach for a local team. I had good success with that team and decided to continue coaching and reevaluate every three years. Then I returned to Ladera Oaks and enjoyed several years of really being able to learn the coaching profession. As time passed, I felt that it was important for me to continue my work in swimming and I made it my lifelong career.   What is special about Ladera Oaks' program and what makes Ladera Oaks so unique to the sport? Ladera Oaks is a wonderful family club with a close-knit community. At Ladera Oaks, all of our swimmers swim at the same location and the whole team has a lot of opportunity to interact with each other. Our swim team community is able to see our swimmers grow and develop as swimmers and people over their careers. I think it is the close interpersonal nature of Ladera Oaks that makes it so satisfying to be here.   What is the most important thing you can leave your athletes? My main goal with the youth swim program is to help each individual swimmer reach his or her potential in the sport of swimming and provide them with the tools needed to enjoy a lifetime of swimming. Just as important is the goal of helping to develop young people into wonderful, mature and successful high school students, college students and members of society.    

[h2] What is your background in swimming?

Well, I’ve been on or around a pool deck for most of my life!

1972 – 1984        Summer league swimmer for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club

1975 – 1977        AAU (currently USA Swimming) swimmer for Ladera Oaks Aquatic Club

1979 – 1982        Stanford Club Water Polo team member

1980 – 1984        Men’s Varsity Swimming for Woodside and Menlo-Atherton High Schools

1983 – 1984        Assistant Swim Coach for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club

1987 – 1990        Assistant Group Coach for Ladera Oaks PSA Team

1991 – 1996        Head Swim Coach/Pool Manager for Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club

1997 – 2003        Head Assistant Swim coach for Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club

2003 – Present   Aquatic Teams Director for Ladera Oaks Swim and Tennis Club

1985 – Present   Swim Instructor 

When did you decide that coaching/instructing was for you?

After college, I came home and started teaching swimming and coaching for Ladera Oaks. I had already done a lot of coaching and teaching by that point, but decided to try it for a year or two on a year-round basis. I realized that I enjoyed the work and discovered that I was pretty good at it, too! At that point, I had an opportunity to become Head Coach for a local team. I had good success with that team and decided to continue coaching and reevaluate every three years. Then I returned to Ladera Oaks and enjoyed several years of really being able to learn the coaching profession. As time passed, I felt that it was important for me to continue my work in swimming and I made it my lifelong career.

 

What is special about Ladera Oaks' program and what makes Ladera Oaks so unique to the sport?

Ladera Oaks is a wonderful family club with a close-knit community. At Ladera Oaks, all of our swimmers swim at the same location and the whole team has a lot of opportunity to interact with each other. Our swim team community is able to see our swimmers grow and develop as swimmers and people over their careers. I think it is the close interpersonal nature of Ladera Oaks that makes it so satisfying to be here.

 

What is the most important thing you can leave your athletes?

My main goal with the youth swim program is to help each individual swimmer reach his or her potential in the sport of swimming and provide them with the tools needed to enjoy a lifetime of swimming. Just as important is the goal of helping to develop young people into wonderful, mature and successful high school students, college students and members of society.

 

 

Your Daily Liters

You’ve heard that it’s important. You probably do your best to do it. Hydration is hip right now and it’s being studied and measured like never before. Adequate hydration is needed for healthy blood circulation which delivers fuel and oxygen to muscles and removes waste products. Proper hydration is key for temperature regulation, cellular repair and cell renewal.

Are you hydrated?

Here are some general hydration guidelines:

Consume 1 Liter or Quart for every 1000 calories you eat

Example: If you take in 2000 Calories/day, you need 2 L (or 8 cups or 64 oz) of water/day

If you sweat though a long game of tennis, you’ll need more fluids – more than the formula above - to replace those you lost.

The science of hydration is complex – especially because of the amount of salt and other electrolytes in body fluids versus the amount of salt measureable in sweat.

If you want to learn more and see comparisons between sports drinks, look in the Hydration file in the Fitness Center Resource Files.

See you here at your Club!

Eight Reasons Why You Should Get in the Pool (and a Few Ways to Get Started)

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By Andy Clifford, Aquatic Teams Director

There are many reasons to start a fitness program in the water. The benefits range from improved health, strength, and endurance to reduced stress. Below find a few reasons why swimming is good for you and how to get started.

1.       Heart Health – Swimming provides unparalleled cardio conditioning

2.       Great Cross-training and Recovery – Swimming is great cross training and provides excellent recovery from land based exercise

3.       Increased Flexibility – Swimming can help increase range of motion and flexibility

4.       Core Strength – Swimming with good technique is great for building core strength

5.       Endurance – A consistent swimming regimen will help improve your endurance

6.       Social Outlet – Swimming with a group is a great social experience and lots of fun

7.       Stress Reducer – Being in the water is a great way to reduce your stress level

8.       Weight Loss – Swimming at an aerobic heart rate level will help lower weight

Do you need help getting started on a swimming regimen?  Here are a few ways to help you dive in.

1.       Come try out a Ladera Oaks Masters swim practice.  They coaches and team members are very supportive. Speed is not important, if you can swim, you can swim Masters.

2.       Take a swim lesson. A swim lesson or two can help you brush up on your skills and provide you with basic training ideas.

3.       Grab a friend and go to the pool. It will be fun, I promise.

4.       Go to the United States Masters Swimming website.  It has a wealth of information from getting started to technique to equipment. Visit USMS.org.

5.       Fall off a ferryboat in San Francisco Bay (not recommended)!

Good luck with your new swimming venture! Need information? Contact Andy Clifford at andy@laderaoaks.com.

 

Choose Happiness … & Health!

Choose Happiness … & Health!

New research shows that our happiest days may not actually take place in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’. Experts and many people over 50 agree: When we choose to be happy and take steps toward that state of mind, the golden years are more likely to be truly golden. As Frank Sinatra crooned, “The best is yet to come…” It seems like science couldn’t agree more.