By Brian E. Tyson
On the fourth day of class, students enrolled in Timothy Catlin’s fall term tennis class were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Oscar Wegner, a world-famous tennis coach and a longtime friend of Catlin’s, made a guest appearance on Chemeketa courts to help teach a few tricks of the trade to the students.
Wegner is a pioneer in the field of coaching tennis and the creator of the Modern Tennis Methodology.
“Modern Tennis Methodology is a new way of teaching the sport,” he said.
“It was difficult in the past. This style of teaching is very natural and allows for increased control.”
Wegner originally is from Buenos Aries, Argentina. He now lives in the United States after gaining his citizenship several years ago.
Catlin recalled his meeting Wegner for the first time, about five years ago.
“I was working with a client and brought Oscar to Portland to work with a child prodigy,” he said.
“Oscar has been a pro, and he’s worked with pros.”
Throughout his career, Wegner has taught some famous tennis players.
Wegner previously coached Bjorn Borg during his second comeback. He also coached Gustavo Kuerten from ages 5 to 14.
Kuerten was No. 1-ranked tennis player in the world in 2000, when he beat Andre Agassi. He also holds three French Open Titles.
Students in Catlin’s tennis class were appreciative of Wegner’s coaching tips.
Parker Smith is in the tennis class and until the first day of this term had never picked up a tennis racquet.
“He worked on our strokes: forehand, backhand, spin, and a more open stance,” Smith said of Wegner’s instruction. “In a closed stance, you lead with your shoulder. … A more open stance is more adaptable.”
Although Wegner was invited by Caitlin to visit Chemeketa, that wasn’t the only reason why he was here.
“I came here for a meeting with Tim and Nike,” Wegner said.
Catlin elaborated: “Oscar is talking to Nike about playing in the Zone.”
The Zone means that suddenly everything goes into slow motion for an athlete. Catlin said, “It relies on our monkey brain, which is 80 times faster than the rest of our brain. I hope to take advantage of the technology here.”
Wegner plans for the upcoming year include working on a new book and some DVDs.
He also plans on coming to Chemeketa again to help Catlin and some of his classes.
By Brian E. Tyson