Award-winning local tennis pro Mark Centrella is getting national attention for his new instructional video – Winning Doubles with Mark. The DVD is aimed at players of all levels who want to improve their teamwork and success on the court. TSD caught up with Centrella to talk tennis and try to get a complimentary copy of the DVD.
TownSquareDelaware: What inspired you to make the video? Tired of telling your students the same thing over and over again?
Mark Centrella: Besides recently taking on the role of Director of Education and Certification Testing for the USPTA Middle States, making an instructional video is something that has always been on my checklist of “things to do during my career as a tennis pro.” With my second child due this past December (she was born December 29), my wife and I knew that the time for me to dive into a project of this magnitude was either now or 20 years from now. Although I really don’t get tired of it (heck, it keeps me employed), the video enables me to coach my students any time of day they want without my even being aware of it. I love it!
TSD: What are the most common mistakes — or shall we say, “opportunities for improvement” — you see in typical players?
MC: When I observe a player making an error during match play, I get a kick out of the fact that they automatically place blame on their technique. The reality is that points are typically lost on poor decision making. Players must listen to their inner voice by deciding to hit shots that are realistic and that they own.
TSD: You teach at a private club but are very active in promoting tennis throughout the state. How would you rate the popularity of tennis these days? The excitement of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer must be having an impact.
MC: Tennis is strong right now. Ball sales across the country are up. And locally, Delaware has always flourished and is showing no signs of slowing as adult league play keeps growing. From a “national attention” standpoint there’s no question that intense rivalries at the top help, which as you pointed out, we are fortunate to have several.
TSD: As someone who is on his feet a lot and constantly hitting balls, how do you stay healthy?
MC: Staying healthy is a challenge. I try to wisely choose how often I engage in battle, whether it be in a lesson with an advanced student or standard match play. I also have an elliptical machine and weights in the basement at home and exercise most mornings while popping in favorite movies (usually from the 80s, the best decade for movies ever).
TSD: You are a local guy – tell us about your upbringing/background.
MC: I am a Delaware guy, through and through. I grew up in Hockessin and attended school at Ursuline, St. Edmond’s, Archmere and then UD. My brother’s family, sister’s family and parents all currently live within a 5 mile radius of each other, so we are very close. My first tennis lesson was at age 5 with Steve Attinger at the old Sanford school courts. I hit a lot with my father growing up. I played my first tournament at age 12. My wife, Katie picked up the sport a few years ago and got good pretty quickly, but is on a bit of a hiatus now with our daughters, Siena (3) and Amelia (5 months) in the picture. Unlike Agassi’s father, I am not hanging tennis balls from my daughters’ mobiles.
TSD: What are Mark Centrella’s favorite haunts?
MC: I love world traveling, horror movies and the Philadelphia Eagles. Locally, my family and I enjoy The Delaware Children’s Museum, Ashland Nature Center, Carousel Farms and Bethany Beach. In addition to referring to it as my place of work, I also refer to Greenville Country Club as my second home.