Through her many years involved with the game, Leslie Allen has amassed valuable knowledge about serves, returns, volleys and footwork by playing in tournaments all over the world against some of the best players ever to hold a racquet. Earning a top-20 ranking as a WTA player, she’s evolved from tour star to top-level coach, capable of transforming players’ games and helping them take the next step.
“I never had a junior ranking, and I was never looked at as a junior star,” Allen said. “I took that and became the highest-ranked female pro player ever at the University of Southern Cal. I can relate to a person with a dream.”
Today, Allen’s goal is to share her experiences with those who can benefit from them. So that’s exactly what she’s doing with Win4Life and the Leslie Allen Foundation.
“Everybody has their eye on center court,” Allen said. “I want to give kids an exposure to life lessons and values. Not just exposure involving tennis, but also the great opportunities that exist off the court.”
Her Win4Life Academy, which takes place at New Jersey’s Peddie School this summer from June 23-28, aims to do just that. The overnight camp is open to girls ages 13-18, and will intertwine themes of tennis, leadership, and preparing for life to help each girl reach her potential.
Using a low student-to-pro ratio, Allen and her staff are on hand 24-7 to provide support, lessons and more. The Academy is open to girls of all talent levels: from intermediate to tournament players, and follows the Foundation’s motto: “Tennis is much more than hitting a ball.”
Allen said it also incorporates her foundation’s four Ds: Desire, dedication, discipline and determination, and can help prepare players for things like college and college tennis, interviews – media or professional – and other professional situations.
“As you develop and become more confident as a person, it translates into being a good tennis player,” she added. “There are many aspects of the game, and many other skills that young people need to develop. At this camp, we prepare them for their future. We talk about careers that they can have and the way they can present themselves.”
“The kids that come to me are from all walks of life,” she added. “Some may drive themselves in their own car, others need a ride. I like to have that diversity in my kids – with players from all scenarios and settings. When you’re sitting in a dorm room after a long day of work and talking as a group like that, you learn from the others.It’s a great experience and whether you need help tactically, mechanically or mentally, this is a help.”