May 25, 2008

ICTA Christian Tennis Association Party @ Disney Hollywood Studios MGM

Posted in anastasia kharchenko, Athletes in Action Tennis, Christian Discipleship, christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Women's Christian Pro Tennis Team, International Christian Tennis Association, melody snelen, Parent Coach Relationship, rachel snelen, scott paschal, Teamwork, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Typical Parent Visit to ICTA, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 11:59 pm by Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association headquarters is based in Florida, and pretty near Disney World. During some down time in between ICTA mission trips and academy semesters, we decided to visit Disney Hollywood Studios!

What a great time we all enjoyed.

Pictured here to the right is me and Lindsey (she’s also pictured above pushing me in a wheelchair). Lindsey’s Dad, Kevin (pictured above) is my good friend of many years.

He is a medical doctor, and a solid 5.0 tennis player. I bought him his first Bible. What a privilege.

We are so alike it is ridiculous… same age, same weight, same height. God brought us together years back, and that’s when I met Lindsey! I’ve known her since she was just a little squirt in elementary school….

Now, Lindsey is a full time student at my academy and my house is pretty much a second home for her.

As Kevin and I are so much alike… and since I’ve known Lindsey for so long… I’m basically an adopted uncle.

Honestly, it is such a special honor to be involved in shaping and molding the lives of the next generation.

I know God placed special people in my life when I was a teen, and now it feels awesome to be able to be used by God to give back!

While some of my academy students won’t be here til the summer semester begins in a week or so, several are here and we all enjoyed hanging out together.

Anastasia Kharchenko (on left w/ Melody Snelen) is back home with me getting some rest after many weeks on the ITF Pro Circuit competing in pro tennis tournaments, and serving on the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team.

Ana is my “adopted daughter” from Ukraine and a new Christian. She loves Jesus so much and wants to share her knowledge of Him to other players on the pro tour.

This year, 18 year old Anastasia earned her WTA pro ranking, and won two ITF Pro tournaments. And a week or so ago she played a player ranked around WTA #180 and lost a close one… 6-2, 7-5, which gave her some confidence she can compete at that level.

Currently, Ana is on her way to South Carolina to begin a 6 week tennis and missions tour with the ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team that will take them from South Carolina to Texas to Kansas to Boston. Please keep them in your prayers as they seek to share Christ with those placed in their path.

This neat guy is Aussie, a nickname we gave him because he’s from… you guessed it, Australia.

Aussie is awesome! What a special, unique personality he is. Aussie’s dad is a pastor, and they own a farm. I’ve coached Aussie full time for about a year.

He and Mark (Mexico) share a room in my house and have become like brothers. They have certainly formed a bond that will last a lifetime.

Aussie has amazing parents. They love our entire tennis/missions academy program, and are thrilled Aussie has grown in so many wonderful ways. Here is an email they sent me last week…

Hi Scotty,

Thank you so much for your email. Our communication with you is way overdue..sorry! We pray for you all daily. David is missed here also, but know without a doubt that he is where the Lord wants him, knowing he is being very well looked after, challenged and guided in life. Thankyou for all that you are doing for him and each of the others. We love to hear about everyone at ICTA.

We know David has mentioned this to you, but would like to ask if it is OK if his sister, Tish, can come and stay with you for a few days. They will fly into Daytona Beach… Tish is so looking forward to meeting you all – I hope having two Aussies isn’t too stressful for you!!

At your convenience, we would love to hear of David’s on and off-court progress, and any ways we can encourage and guide him from a distance.

Thank you again so much.

God bless you and all you do.
Rich & Eilie

So great to have healthy, solid Christian parents sending such special emails of support. It is incredible for me to realize International Christian Tennis Association is having such a discipleship impact for the Kingdom!

Pictured here is ICTA Women’s Pro Tennis Team captain, Rachel Snelen (left), with “Lucy.”

Lucy’s story is amazing! She came to me not quite a year ago… and she was highly suicidal. Coaches, and life, had treated her pretty horribly.

Boy have things changed! Lucy is on-fire for life! Every single aspect of her young personality has improved, and she is an inspiration to all of us.

She is even an inspiration to her atheist Dad! He is amazed at the transformation taking place in her! In fact, three weeks ago he flew in from Japan. We talked at length through a translator. He asked me to coach Lucy for the next 5-6 years, and was so grateful for my work. I was almost in tears…

He is even interested in investing in condos at a tennis facility we build, if ICTA ever builds one. Since he owns a bunch of Japanese restaurants in South America, I take his investment interest as a great compliment.

(pic of me looking at Walt Disney, one of my favorite people and examples!)

It has taken me nearly 10 years to build International Christian Tennis Association.

As I look around for the fruit of my labor, I have to look first to my academy/missions kids. What a treasure they have been in my life.

Generally, I’m not a person with much patience, and I prefer to have plenty of space around me. But, God invaded my life through kids from 15 countries and 14 US States… kids who have camped out in my house… and ate all my food… and constantly hang around me… and God taught me so much through them I can’t begin to tell you in a simple journal entry.

10 years is a long time. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot. Hopefully, I’ve helped some people along the way.

Whatever God has coming up for me in the future, whether it’s with International Christian Tennis Association or not, the last 10 years have been good. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot.

God bless,

Scott Paschal

International Christian Tennis Association

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May 21, 2008

Justine Henin’s Shocking Retirement: WTA Flaws Exposed by Tennis Star

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Outreach, Christian Tennis Player, ICTA Tennis, ICTA Tennis Ministry, International Christian Tennis Association, Lindsey Davenport, Maria Sharapova, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Tennis Devotionals, Tennis Ministry, Uncategorized, WTA CEO Larry Scott, WTA Tennis tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 pm by Scott Paschal

Justine Henin, the #1 ranked WTA player, launched a huge, international statement directly at the WTA on Wednesday by quitting as a professional tennis player.

Without warning, the tennis world’s #1 female player looked straight in the WTA’s eyes and forced them to finally listen to her.

Never before in the history of women’s professional tennis has the #1 player walked away!

Magazines and newspapers and TV shows are quickly spreading the “shocking” news…

I wasn’t shocked.

Over and over during the last year, Justine kept telling the world she was getting fatigued.

The tennis gods refused to listen….

And it seems they’ve refused to learn, as well. Instead of looking inward to see what responsibility they have in this terribly embarassing situation, they smoothly moved Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic to the front of the line.

I wonder if they asked young, unsuspecting Ana Ivanovic if she wanted a blindfold and a cigarette.

As much as Venus Williams changed women’s tennis, Justine Henin also brought hope. She reminded us all that heart is important.

She was a tiny giant among towering tennis superpowers… such as Lindsey Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jancovic….

The tiny giant brought the tiny female players worldwide back to tennis… the ones who had became discouraged and quit when height took over the sport. Yet, our tiny giant needed rest, and none was allowed by the tennis gods.

When a player becomes injured, the WTA protects their ranking while they heal from injury, thus when the player recovers she can pick up where she left off. I had written an article recommending the WTA allow a player the same protection for mental fatigue recovery, or physical recovery before a major injury occurs.

The tennis gods refused to listen….

Justine Henin’s Mom died when Justine was in juniors.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

She didn’t speak to her Dad for 8 years.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

I remember when she got married. I also remember last year’s divorce.

The tennis gods refused to listen…

Recently, instead of offering players more freedom to rest, the WTA chose to force top players to attend more tournaments by stiffly fining players who pulled out of events.

The tennis gods also made Indian Wells and Miami (world’s 5th and 6th largest pro tournaments) mandatory for players to enter. These two 2-week long events are played back to back.

Immediately after announcing her retirement, Justine Henin demanded her name be completely removed from the WTA ranking list! That statement was huge. Embarrassingly to the WTA, their heavily marketed Maria Sharapova was moved to the #1 spot without having earned it.

For once in a long, long time the tennis gods have been forced to listen….

Justine Henin’s statement is huge.

Professional tennis is about $. Anyone who thinks differently is clueless. The WTA and ATP worship the almighty dollar. Image is everything and players are simply the product. They are cattle to be used to feed the masses.

Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and winner of 3 Super Bowls, blasted the NFL in the ’90s by saying he believes the NFL players are nothing more than prostitutes for the NFL….

Could the same be said by female professional tennis players towards the WTA… that players are simply prostituted to the masses as a source of entertainment and revenue?

The WTA seems to claim to be an organization designed to represent the players’ needs. Is this happening?

The #1 WTA player in the world, and arguably one of the best female players in history, quit!

She demanded her name be removed from the WTA rankings!

As the WTA’s public relations people quickly move into position to keep the public from seeing the real issues, tennis fans worldwide will begin to see the WTA heavily pimp their next prostitu.., excuse me 😉 … promote their next player, which looks to be Ana Ivanavic.

I have little doubt Ana Ivanavic will be gone at 23 or 24 years of age. Her body will be broken down, her mind exhausted, her spirit broken. Like Kim Clysters and Anastasia Myskina, she will crave a real life and love from people who treat her like a human being.

So, what is there, really, with the WTA? New players simply replacing the old? What do tennis fans truly invest in… why even bother falling in love with a WTA player’s game when you know she’s soon worn out?

The #1 female player in the world just quit! She walked away and asked to have her name removed from the WTA computer rankings! She said “no” to millions of $ in prize money, said “no” to millions of $ in sponsor money….

The Women’s Tennis Association must stand up and take notice of their champion walking away, and they must be willing to take some responsibility for their part in her decision.

I’m no brain surgeon, but I do know that when a champion even hints they are tired, they should be listened to and help should be given. When a champion hints changes should be made to help the other athletes, they should be listened to.

When a young person is in trouble, those in a position to help should help.

Take away the facade of tennis.

A kid was hurting. Her mother is dead. She was estranged by her father for 8 years. Last year, her marriage fell apart in divorce. Basically, her only family is her long time coach, Carlos.

Young girls worldwide chase the dream of becoming the #1 WTA player in the world….

Why? Is it for fame and fortune? If so, they are chasing a rainbow’s pot of gold.

The vast emptiness at the top of women’s pro tennis is a wasteland of pain, isolation, and doubt. For the very few who reach financial security, it comes with a cost. Possibly a cost too steep to pay.

What is the answer? Easy.

Jesus Christ.

Without question, placing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of her life will change the lenses from which life is viewed.

It seems the WTA has worked diligently to allow a player’s sex life and sexual preferences take Center Court.

Yet, if one mentions Jesus Christ, or even the spiritual needs of players from all religions, the WTA gods quickly cry foul.

Did you know not even one Christian Chaplain is officially allowed in players’ areas at tournaments? Why? How can this be?

We talk all day about the technical and tactical game of tennis. We discuss nutrition and fitness. Mental training is a hot topic. But, as much, if not more, than any of these is a player’s spiritual fitness.

Without question, Chaplains from every major religion must be allowed access to the players, coaches, tournament staff, volunteers, media, and fans who want them there.

Terrorism, isolation, mafia, constant worldwide travel, lack of family stability… WTA and ATP players need guidance…. spiritual guidance. And the guidance shouldn’t come from the tennis gods….

When will the giants of tennis past step up and lead? When will our current and former Grand Slam champions reach out for the next generation with the message of hope that is Christ? When will Jesus take center court in tennis?

In America, when will hiding behind political correctness to protect your reputation be a thing of the past? Christians worldwide are being martyred at record pace… they’re being murdered daily for their faith in Jesus… they’re being tortured… and they refuse to back down!

That’s how the 12 disciples did it. That’s how Jesus did it.

Yet, in tennis, including past American tennis greats, we have a bunch of geldings worrying about their reputations.

It’s not supposed to be easy and it’s not supposed to be fun and it’s not supposed to be cool. You are a Christian, a follower of Christ… you are heavily involved in a spiritual battle… you have work to do.

Stop hiding, stop whining, stop being politically correct.

Stop trying to be “cool” hoping your “coolness” will “win people” for Christ. It doesn’t work. Worldly techniques can’t effectively fight a spiritual battle.

Tell this lost generation about Jesus. Start sharing the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will convict those you speak to. Start using your influence to bring the name of Jesus to all people groups worldwide.

Learn to understand how a small band of Jewish brothers sent the name of Christ global. Learn to understand how followers of Christ in Rome stood strong, spoke of their faith in Jesus, refused to waver in intense persecution… and conquered the most powerful nation of their day.

Honestly, I wonder if Jesus would be sitting in a box seat being celebrated during the US OPEN.

Without question, I understand I’m a little nobody in ministry and in tennis. Let me make that clear. I’m in no way the authority on anything, and I can see much improvement I need to do in my own walk with Christ.

And maybe in some ways I’m not seeing the whole picture here. But, that said, you can’t really make much of an argument that I haven’t worked my tail off with the resources and knowledge, however limited, I’ve had at my disposal.

I make mistakes, and I’ve worked to learn life lessons. I’m not even hinting at any type of perfection in my life choices.

What I am saying is when a large platform is offered, Jesus Christ should be the One being celebrated.

Players, coaches, fans… former Grand Slam Champions… should make Jesus’ name and story the focal point. Ask yourself why “sexual orientation” is all the rage, yet Jesus is viewed with hate and anger.

Justine Henin’s retirement shocked the world. Yet, there is a bigger picture here.

The tennis world is void of meaning. The purpose of tennis is void of life. $ and power last just so long, then a need for meaning becomes crystal clear.

If you have influence in tennis, you can have a real purpose beyond yourself.

And, if you are a nobody like me, you can have influence to. Just read the Bible and strive to do what it says.

It’s really that simple.

Read the Bible and strive to do what it says…

God bless,

Coach Scotty

International Christian Tennis Association

May 10, 2008

Moms’ Role in Junior Tennis

Posted in Christian Tennis Devotional Videos, Coaching Articles, ICTA Tennis Ministry, Junior Tennis, Scott Paschal Tennis, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 5:02 pm by Scott Paschal

ICTA Founder, Scott PaschalI’m not sure anyone has offered more influence on my life than my Mom.

Moms dream of their children when they themselves are children. How many of us have seen a little girl caring for her dolls? The love of motherhood starts early and lasts forever.

Who benefits from this? Me and you.

I’m currently in my 40s and at 6′ 3″ I weigh over 220 lbs. Yet, place me in a car with my mother driving and I know without a doubt that when she feels danger on the road and is forced to suddenly stomp on the brakes, her 65 year old arm will suddenly appear in front of me to keep me safe and sound!

Even though I’m wearing a seatbelt and the car has airbags, that arm will appear and there is nothing you and I can do to stop Mom from doing what she does best, which is to protect and care for us.

Now, it’s been a lot of years since Mom has driven me anywhere. But, you get the point.

Let’s look at a Mom’s role in the tennis development of her child.

Dealing with parents can be a “slippery slope” as Rick Macci, one of America’s top coaches, has often said.

Ask most honest high performance tennis coaches about what the worst part of their job is, and the vast majority will tell you that dealing with parents ranks at the top of the list.

I can vouch for that, as well. Unfortunately, I can also vouch that Christian parents are generally much worse than secular parents, or parents from other religions.

My personal list of horror story parents includes a married Christian Mom who lived through her daughter’s tennis, while at the same time was entangled in a lesbian love affair with her best friend. Daily, Mom and daughter would scream and cry on the phone. After a couple months of riding the roller coaster, I decided to no longer coach the player. Soon after, the Mom sent me hate emails claiming I am Satan.

Yet, though parents can be difficult, I can say I have great respect and admiration for the healthy, well balanced parents whose kids I’ve been blessed to coach.

Coaches worldwide attend seminars and workshops to learn how to best deal with the parents of their students. No one has really come up with a good answer. Basically, parents are people and people are flawed.

What I try to do is to educate the parent. Most parents want to learn, and they want their kids to have the parent’s best. In my experience, the vast majority of parents are ready and willing to learn.

As such, let’s take a look at what God’s Word, the Bible, says about parents… and since it’s Mother’s Day, let’s look at what God says about Mom, and particularly a mother’s heart!

The Importance of a Mother’s Heart

“Excuse me, sir. Do you remember me? I am the woman you saw standing here, praying to the Lord. I asked him for this child, and he gave me what I asked for. So I am dedicating him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he will belong to the Lord.’ Then they worshiped the Lord there.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28 (TEV)

1. A Mother’s Heart knows her children are a gift.

2. A Mother’s Heart understands the need for God’s help.

3. A Mother’s Heart wants what is best for her children.

* A Mother’s Heart on “Overdrive”

1. The danger of being over protective. (keeps children from becoming independent)

“It is like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

2. The danger of being over indulgent. (keeps children from becoming mature)

“Discipline your children while You still have the chance; indulging them will destroy them.” Proverbs 19:18 (MSG)

3. The danger of being over involved. (children do not learn to look to and trust God for their needs-they look to Mom and Dad instead)

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mathew 19:5-6 (NIV)

* The Priority of a Mother’s Heart

1. A Mother’s Heart has unconditional love.

“So the Lord answers, ‘Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore?’ ” Isaiah 49:15 (TEV)

2. A Mother’s Heart demands proper respect.

“Respect your father and mother is the first commandment that has a promise added: ‘ so all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.’ ” Ephesians 6:2-3 (NIV)

3. A Mother’s Heart teaches appropriate responsibility.

“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” Proverbs 22:6.

4. A Mother’s Heart sets clear standards.

“Correction and discipline are good for children. If they have their own way they will make their mothers ashamed of them.” Proverbs 29:15 (TEV)

5. A Mother’s Heart protects from the world’s temptations.

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:21

6. A Mother’s Heart reveals a heart for God

“(Timothy) I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois.” 2 Timothy 1:5 (NLT)

7. A Mother’s Heart rejoices as their children accept Jesus Christ.

“I have no greater joy than to hear my children are walking in truth.” 3 John 1:4 (NIV)

Moms are a blessing. Being a Mom is difficult, at best. A mother of a high performance junior tennis player really must make a defined effort to focus on Jesus to be the center of her world. When this happens, everyone benefits.

My hope is this article will reach Moms, and educate Moms on what God’s Word promises and teaches will help both them and their children.

In many ways this article can be read for Dads and for tennis coaches.

Seldom do we hear in sports, and particularly tennis, about how God’s Word can direct and teach us to become better coaches, parents, and athletes.

May God use this article to reach as many as possible, to open eyes and warm hearts, to instill a willingness to see Him in all things, and to bring a humbleness and a kindness to our lives.

Thanks Moms for your hearts for us. You are a blessing.

“Her children respect her and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise.” Proverbs 31:28 (MSG)

God bless!

Coach Scotty

International Christian Tennis Association

May 3, 2008

ICTA Photo Journal 2008

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:46 pm by Scott Paschal

Just a quick note to let our ICTABlog family know we have a new Photo Journal!

Check out ICTAPhotoJournal2008.

We plan to share our favorite pictures from 2008 (and a few from other seasons 🙂 ) as we bring you with us to exciting locations worldwide!

Each captivating picture will include a unique summary and color theme.

Enjoy!

Scotty