If Ashley Woodside ’18 is not studying, she’s on or near a tennis court – and that includes during her internship this summer at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
The exercise science major from Hampden, Maine, is on a pre-physical therapy track to prepare for a career as a physical therapist and business owner. She plays the number-one singles position on the women’s tennis team and this fall was selected as the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) East Division Women's Tennis Player of the Year. She was a three-time NEAC East Player of the Week this season after leading the Chargers to their fifth-straight perfect conference season. Recent summers have been spent working at tennis camps at Bowdoin and Amherst Colleges, but this past one was a whole different ball game.
Woodside, who followed her passion for tennis to the grass courts of the Hall of Fame, was an operations/personal training assistant intern and had the opportunity to find out what it takes to run a tennis operation. She learned she is excellent at multitasking, as she juggled working on applications for the Summer Junior Program, answering the phones, helping with sales and scheduling courts.
The Summer Junior Tennis Program kept her on her toes for the entire internship. “I needed to come up with ways to help improve drills, run players through them and explain why they would improve their game and when a particular shot we worked on would be beneficial in match play,” Woodside said.
The highlight of her two months in Newport was working the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, the only tournament in America still played on grass courts. Though the work was hard, she barely noticed because of the energy that enveloped the facility. “It was just wonderful to watch some big names play,” she said, “along with being able to see Marat Safin and Justine Henin inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
Throughout the internship, Woodside found that her coaching class at Colby-Sawyer was especially helpful. “That class helped me encourage the younger tennis players when they were not in the mood to train,” she said. Sports psychology helped her figure out ways to work with different age groups and adjust workouts accordingly, especially for older plays who had limitations she had not previously understood.
“This internship was definitely an eye opener when it came to figuring out what’s needed to run a successful business,” Woodside said. “Completing an internship is beneficial not only because it gives us an idea if this is something we want to pursue as a job but it helps us learn what it is like to work in a professional setting.”