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Off the Court with Tennis Pro Corey Noel

October 14, 2016 Leave a comment

corey-noelCatching Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel anywhere outside of the courts can be a challenge, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. With more than 15 years of experience coaching tennis and a variety of tournament championships under his belt, Corey brings expertise and focus on the game to adults and children alike through Cooper Fitness Center’s tennis programs. Get to know Corey on a more personal level:

When were you first introduced to tennis?

I started playing tennis when I was 15 years old, which is a little late to begin. I joined my high school team and loved it! It’s never too late to try a new sport, especially a lifelong sport such as tennis.

What is your favorite memory of playing tennis?

I once played a match in college in which my opponent was very unpleasant and bickered quite a bit. The official eventually came out and gave him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. We continued playing, and I won. Immediately after the match ended, my opponent was upset about losing and was issued another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Since our match was over and the rules called for the penalty to be applied to another match, the official gave the penalty to his teammate playing on another court. The teammate then lost his match as well. I like to say I won two matches at once because of the incident!

What is your favorite memory of coaching tennis?

Coaching is challenging. I once had a job of coaching a high school tennis team full of beginners. We had 12 students on the team, and by the time the season ended, eight of them went to the state championship. It was extremely rewarding to see the improvements they made that season as individuals and a team.

Who has been your biggest influence in the world of tennis?

My college coach, Bryan Whitt, helped me develop as a player and later helped me kick off my career as a tennis pro. He has offered me plenty of coaching advice over the years, and still coaches at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Who is your biggest role model?

My dad is my biggest role model, because he is kind and respectful in all circumstances. He fully lives by the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated.

What’s your favorite workout, other than playing tennis?

I love to cycle. I’m usually very competitive when it comes to sports and exercise, but riding a bike is one of the only times I’m able to let go and just enjoy the activity.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment professionally? Personally?

On the personal side, I’m proud of how I paid for my degree myself. I worked all through college and never had to take out a student loan. As a professional, being named Tennis Pro at Cooper has been incredible, and it was also amazing to be selected to sit on the Dallas Professional Tennis Association Board of Directors.

If you could play a match against one tennis celebrity, who would it be?

Andre Agassi. He’s always been my favorite player.

How long have you worked at Cooper?

Three years.

What is your favorite part about working at Cooper?

The people at Cooper are amazing and very friendly. Everyone here is passionate about exercise and self-improvement, which is a culture you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

What would you tell someone who is new to playing tennis and looking to improve their game?

Learning to play tennis is all about commitment and repetition. Get out on the court three or four days a week or as much as possible in order to work on all aspects of the game. It can be tough, but well worth it.

What’s your favorite thing to do in down time when you are not on the courts?

What’s down time?! Just kidding! I like to relax and watch TV or Netflix, and I’ve been traveling more.

If you weren’t coaching tennis, what other profession would you have gotten into?

I actually studied to be a teacher, so I would likely be teaching high school English and coaching tennis at the high school level.

What do you believe you teach/offer besides just technical tennis skills (i.e. confidence, teamwork in doubles play, etc.)?

As a coach, I try to teach problem solving. Tennis is the only major sport in which coaches are not allowed to actually coach during a match, so it’s important to teach my players independence and how to make decisions to improve their game on their own. There’s a lot of psychology that goes behind the game of tennis.

Corey points out that one of the most important things to know about tennis is that it’s a sport anyone can play, no matter of age, gender or experience. This makes it different from most sports, but is what he likes most about it. He says it’s rewarding to see his students grow and pick up new skills quickly, and then enjoy playing tennis as a lifelong sport.

For more information about Corey and the tennis programs at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4311.

Fighting Childhood Obesity through Play

 

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Unhealthy kids are growing into unhealthy adults, causing a major health care problem in the United States.

When it comes to helping kids form healthy habits, it’s best to start young. Studies have shown that different types of exercise affect a child’s mental capacity in a variety of ways. A simple 20-minute walk can immediately affect a child’s attention, function and academic success. However, the reverse is true for highly structured, rule-based exercise, such as a sport or coordination drills. This type of exercise may be too taxing for children immediately before a test or other activity that requires sustained focus. Instead, higher intensity exercises seem to build a child’s attention span gradually over time. Children who are physically fit perform better in attention tests–even small improvements in fitness lead to noticeable changes in the brain.

Participating in sports or other fitness-driven activities, especially right after the school day, can be a natural and less forced outlet to allow children to build up their attention span while having fun. Cooper Fitness Center’s IGNITE! program combines fitness, sports, movement and games to help improve athletic performance for this purpose. In the long run, children are learning how to focus for future tests and other tasks that require concentration.

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Kids develop athletic skills during Cooper Fitness Center’s IGNITE! program.

Various studies have linked academic performance to overall health and fitness in children. Data taken from students in California show the following relationships between fitness and academics:

  • Higher levels of fitness = increased math testing scores
  • Higher levels of fitness = increased language arts testing scores
  • Healthier lunches = increased math and language arts testing scores
  • Higher levels of fitness = higher school attendance rate
  • Higher levels of fitness = fewer negative school incidents

A study of more than 2.4 million Texas students found that students who are physically fit are more likely to do well on the state’s standardized tests and have higher school attendance. Physically fit students are also less likely to have disciplinary problems. The Cooper Institute developed FitnessGram, the first “student fitness report card,” in an effort to improve school physical education programs and children’s health.

“The impact exercise has on the growing brain is unparalleled,” says Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics. “Increased exercise improves cardiovascular health, and that helps the brain function more efficiently and enhances its ability to learn.”

Playing sports such as tennis or basketball can help children improve their attention while also helping them reach a higher level of fitness, which is beneficial to them at both a young age and as they grow into adults.

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Improving skills on the court with Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel.

It is recommended that students do at least 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity every day, with more than half occurring during regular school hours and the remaining outside of school. Estimates suggest only about half of U.S. children meet this guideline.

Cooper Fitness Center offers various after-school youth programs to help kids get up and moving while boosting their brain power. Learn more about sport-specific programming and other youth programs at cooperyouth.com/dallas.

Cooper Connections at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

The closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games is finally upon us, following countless displays of athleticism and sportsmanship these past two weeks.  The United States leads the final medal count, with American athletes earning 121 total medals – 46 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze. We take a look back now at some fun facts and Cooper connections to the celebrated Olympic Games through the years.

  • Did you know Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper was selected to participate in the Olympic torch relay through Arlington, Texas, for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia? Prior to every Olympic Games, the Olympic flame is transported with the Olympic torch from Greece to the designated host city via the Olympic torch relay.DrCooperOlympicsTorchRelay
  • This year was the first time that Brazil served as host for the Olympic Games. Dr. Kenneth Cooper has visited Brazil many times and first traveled to Brazil to train the Brazilian national soccer team with Coach Cláudio Coutinho in 1970. That year the Brazilian national team went on to win the World Cup, and because of Dr. Cooper’s introduction of aerobic exercising to Brazil, in Brazil they refer to “jogging” as “Coopering” or “doing your Cooper.”
  • The five Olympic Rings symbolize the five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. At least one of the colors of the Olympic rings – blue, yellow, black, green and red – appears in every flag in the world. Dr. Cooper’s message has reached almost every corner of these regions; his 19 books have been sold in 52 countries and translated into 40 languages. The most recent book, Start Strong, Finish Strong, was co-authored with his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Cooper Aerobics.
  • Of the 28 sports in the Summer Olympics, Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros offer training in five of these sports – aquatics, basketball, boxing, martial arts and tennis. You may not be an Olympian, but you can certainly train like one at Cooper.
  • The Olympic motto is “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” When translated from Latin to English it means “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Most athletes make use of the top five aerobic exercises – cross-country skiing, swimming, running/jogging, outdoor cycling and walking – in their training to help them build endurance for optimal performance. Training with one of our 28 professional fitness trainers at Cooper Fitness Center can help you become faster, higher and stronger.
  • There is no limit to the number of athletes a team can bring to the Olympics; nations can bring any and every athlete that qualifies. Did you know Cooper Fitness Center Boxing Pro Derrick James accompanied boxer Errol Spence, Jr. to the London 2012 Summer Olympics? 

     

    Fitness has been the foundation of Dr. Cooper’s teachings since 1968 when he coined the term “aerobics” and sparked an international fitness revolution. We hope you’ll learn more about Cooper Aerobics and Dr. Cooper’s 8 Steps to Get Cooperized as the sun sets on the Olympic Games in Rio and the countdown begins for the next Olympic Games – 547 days and counting until PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, followed by Tokyo 2020 for the next Summer Olympic Games.

What Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros Love About the Olympics

Every four years, the Olympic Games provide an opportunity to watch the best athletes in the world compete against each other and showcase their incredible skills. Cheering your country on to victory brings about a sense of patriotism and appreciation for physical fitness that is unmatched.

Cooper Fitness Center Sports Pros are no exception–they love the summer and winter Olympics alike, and each of them has special memories of specific games. Learn more about our Pros’ favorite Olympic moments below, and make sure to comment and share your favorite Olympic sports and what you’re most looking forward to seeing take place in Rio this year.

What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch?

Who is your all-time favorite Olympic athlete?

  • Mike: Rafer Johnson (Track & Field)
  • Marni: Michael Johnson (Track & Field) – I got to see him set records at Baylor in the late 1980s.
  • Corey: Venus Williams (Tennis)
  • Coleman: Jessie Owens (Track & Field)
  • Derrick: Muhammad Ali (Boxing)

If you could compete in an Olympic sport, which one would it be?

  • Mike: Fencing
  • Marni: Cross country skiing (Biathlon)
  • Corey: Well, besides tennis…swimming.
  • Coleman: Basketball
  • Derrick: Boxing

Do you have a favorite Olympic memory?

  • Mike: I attended the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where I had the opportunity to meet Rafer Johnson.
  • Marni: When Muhammad Ali lit the torch at the 1996 games in Atlanta!
  • Corey: 1992 Dream Team. Michael Jordan and those guys were incredible.
  • Coleman: 1992 Dream Team. It was the first time all professionals from the United States participated in Olympic basketball.
  • Derrick: I went to the 2012 Olympics in London, where one of the boxers I train was competing.

What do you like most about the Olympics?

  • Mike: The overall patriotism and positive attitude of athletes and spectators.
  • Marni: I love the fact that amateur athletes who have worked so hard have the opportunity to come together to compete, and it’s their chance to perform their best. It’s their time to shine!
  • Corey: I like all the patriotism. It’s nice to see the country come together and work together toward a common goal.
  • Coleman: The Olympic Games are an opportunity for all countries to compete on a level playing field. The games give athletes a chance to compete against other talented athletes from all over the world, who they may not face in other competitions.
  • Derrick: The Olympics are in the name of sports and friendship. It’s the greatest event in the world.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center’s Sports Pros and sport-specific training, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone.

 

Conquering the Summer Camp Swim Test

Sneakers? Sunscreen? Sleeping bag? All may be necessary items for summer camp, but children should also be armed with top-notch swim skills. Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro Marni Kerner helps kids of all ages prepare for swim tests that are often required at summer day camps and overnight camps.

Each test varies in length and intensity. Some require a child to swim the length or width of a pool, but others require performing all four competitive strokes–freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly–in open water situations. If a child is unable to pass the designated swim test, he or she may have limited access to water activities throughout the duration of the camp, or may be required to wear a life jacket when swimming in a pool or open water.

Training with a certified swim instructor prior to taking a swim test has numerous benefits:

  • Sharpens the child’s skills early in the summer, since it has likely been a while since the child has swam longer distances
  • Introduces specific stroke training to those who may not be familiar with all four competitive strokes
  • Increases physical strength and endurance
  • Improves stroke techniques
  • Builds confidence in the swimmer

In addition to working on swim skills, each swimmer also learns water safety and rest strokes, including how to bob and tread water in order to conserve energy.

Children may only need one lesson to refresh their swim skills, but others may take up to five or six lessons to prepare for their specific test. The time and effort invested is worth it so the kids can enjoy an exciting and safe summer in the water.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center swim programs, visit cooperswimacademy.com or call Swim Pro Marni Kerner at 972.233.4832, ext. 5447.

10 Reasons Why Female Focus Benefits Women’s Health

Cooper Fitness Center

Since 2006, hundreds of women each year have participated in more than 3,000 Female Focus classes, a science-based small group training program designed to help women exercise to gain strength as they manage diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The women who have participated in Female Focus throughout the past 10 years listed the top 10 reasons why the program has benefitted both their physical and mental health:

  1. A sense of accountability to health and fitness and provides motivation to work harder both in and outside of class
  2. Camaraderie and support of women going through similar challenges and life experiences
  3. Personal attention from Colette Cole, the director of the program, and other trainers – staff expertise and experience is unmatched
  4. Improved overall strength, posture, balance, mobility, endurance, functional movement and daily activity movement
  5. Weight loss and maintenance
  6. Enjoyment from a variety of fun workouts
  7. Reduction of injury risk and attention to detail regarding training for specific injuries
  8. Sessions are personalized for both exercise and nutrition
  9. Focus on specific women’s health issues, including improvement of bone density
  10. Stress reduction

The program is based on materials and research from Women’s Health and Fitness Guide written by Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic, and Colette Cole, MS, Cooper Fitness Center Female Focus Director and Professional Fitness Trainer. Under Colette’s guidance, participants learn how to overcome physical and mental challenges that are often a side effect of health issues.

In addition to learning and growing stronger physically, many of the women are drawn to the program because of the bonds they form with each other. Many are going through similar life changes, such as kids going off to college or becoming caretakers of aging parents. They also face similar challenges and are working toward similar goals – to be healthier and happier.

Dr. Jill Ombrello has participated in Female Focus for the past three years. She joined the program because she wanted the accountability of a scheduled and customized workout. However, she had no idea how many additional benefits she would receive as a result.

“Not only did I gain accountability, but I also joined a community of women looking to improve their health in the same ways as me. We are not equally strong or flexible, but Collette creates a different, unique and interesting workout for us every time we attend. In a society where many women are often competing with one another, Colette has created a unique environment where we all feel supported and pushed to achieve greatness.”

For more information about the Female Focus program, visit cooperfitfemale.com.

Dive In to Summer with Cooper Swim Pro Marni Kerner

Learning to swim can be a challenging experience, no matter if you’re a child or an adult. If you’re searching for the perfect swim program for your child or for yourself, making a decision can be stressful as well. Cooper Fitness Center offers swim lessons for all ages, Marni Kernerand Swim Pro Marni Kerner explains a few aspects of her instruction that sets her programs apart from others.

It’s All About the Swimmer

Only small groups of swimmers will be found in the Cooper Fitness Center lap pool – Marni offers private and semi-private lessons for kids and teens in order to personalize each lesson and hone in on each swimmer’s development. This allows swimmers to continue advancing in their skillset, instead of plateauing after a certain point.

Although Marni works with both children and adults, she does not offer “mommy-and-me” lesson options. Having a parent in the water at the same time as a young child can sometimes keep the child from focusing on the lesson and building independent skills. However, while some programs don’t allow parents to observe the lesson in progress, Marni encourages parents to stick around the pool during each lesson, and she makes sure to provide feedback and instructions for at-home activities to each parent. Additionally, Marni  does offer parent/child sessions for children 8+ years old. This is often a great option for a child learning to swim alongside his or her parent or when a parent and child are training for a triathlon.

Safety First

Safety is the top priority for Marni and her swimmers, but she also focuses on making sure each swimmer is enjoying him or herself throughout the lesson. She lists a few practices that some people might think are safe, but could potentially be dangerous for new swimmers:

  • Goggles or no goggles? Marni discourages her youngest swimmers from wearing goggles during lessons so they become accustomed to opening their eyes underwater without becoming disoriented. This is a great safety measure for kids – if a child happened to unexpectedly fall in a pool, he or she would not become disoriented by the water in their eyes.
  • Floaties or Fins? Items such as water wings and other inflatables can give a false sense of security and can actually be quite dangerous. They still allow for a child to fall forward into the water and takes away from learning proper water balance. Instead, Marni is a big proponent of using water fins during swim lessons, as they help with efficiency and development of muscle memory for kicking. It can be challenging for new swimmers to learn how to kick, and using tools such as fins can make it a steadier process.
  • Holding your breath or blowing bubbles? Teaching children to hold their breath for as long as possible while swimming is not a tactic Marni recommends. In fact, she and her swimmers focus on blowing bubbles as much as possible, which helps early development of proper breathing patterns. When younger swimmers hold their breath for too long, they can start to take in water, which can cause many issues. There have also been instances when older swimmers who try to hold their breath for too long have actually passed out while swimming laps.

A Unique Environment

All of Marni’s private lessons focus on individual skill development, which is not standard in larger group programs. Swimmers, including toddlers, take lessons in Cooper Fitness Center’s lap pool, which helps develop skills with regard to distance and endurance.

Additionally, the unique Cooper campus provides an experience all its own for swimmers and their parents alike – especially when a duck or two hop in the pool to join in the lesson!

Though her typical swimmer is between four and eight years old, Marni offers services for all ages, needs and abilities. Her youngest swimmer is 10 months old, and her oldest recently turned 89.  She works with children on the learning spectrum, those who are rehabilitating an injury and high-level competitive swimmers. To learn more about Marni and Cooper Fitness Center’s swim programs, visit cooperyouth.com/dallas.