Player Profiles: Brad Kelly and Brett Englesberg

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Source: Platform Tennis Magazine, Vol. 8, Issue 3, January, 2007

Brad Kelly

Age: 38
Married: Jenny
Children: Lauren (11), Anna (9) and Ben (6)
Born: Charleston, WV
Resides: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: BA Business Marketing WVU (1991)
Occupation: Director of Brokerage Services ECHO Real Estate

Like many of the top platform tennis players, Brad Kelly was a full-scholarship, Division 1 college tennis player. At WVU (Top 20 national college tennis team), Brad captained his team to nine conference championships in singles and doubles. He was one of three Division 1 All-Americans in WVU tennis history and he also earned a USTA National Indoor Doubles Championship title.

Brad moved back to Pittsburgh in 1995. He recalled, “I knew a lot of guys that played platform tennis at The Pittsburgh Field Club and they got me out there to give platform a try.” He added, “At first, I relied on the similarities with tennis – really the basics such as strokes and footwork. Over time, I learned the mental aspects. In tennis you look to finish points and that is the exact opposite of what you need to do in platform tennis.”

For several years, Brad played league matches as a social outlet. He said, “I met Brett through paddle in our league play. One night after we played each other we decided that it might be fun to try a few tournaments together. That was four years ago.” He added, “I think that the biggest help for my game has been to travel and play tournaments. When you play the same people all of the time it can be misleading. There are lots of different styles out there and it makes you better to play different people.”

Brad added, “I like the competition, the challenge, and probably most of all the people within the sport. Brett and I have traveled to several cities to play and the people are always very fun, good people to hang with.”

He concluded, “Brett and I have always set goals with our ranking… they are getting tougher to reach. We have reached our goal every year so far but this year will be the hardest (can’t tell you what it is).”

Brett Englesberg

Age: 33
Married: Melissa
Children: Sophia (5), Isabella (2) and Gabriella (4 mo.)
Born/Resides: Pittsburgh, PA
Education: BA Business Marketing PSU (1996)
Occupation: Senior Planner / Dick’s Sporting Goods

Tennis was always a natural for Brett Englesberg. In high school, he was the Pennsylvania State Champion in 1991 41′ and a finalist in 1990, earning him two all-American awards. In college, Brett played 3 and 4 singles for Penn State and 1992-1996.

“I got interested in platform tennis through local friends who really enjoyed the sport. I then joined my local township paddle team. That was seven years ago.”

He added, “Brad and I have become great friends through paddle. We have improved over the years by learning intricacies of the game and how to play strategically as a team. Playing tournaments has helped us tremendously because you can learn so much from both watching and playing the top teams.”

Comparing the similarities of tennis and platform tennis, Brett said, “Striking the ball is the only similarity. Everything else is different in platform tennis: strategy, effectiveness of spins, playing the screens, volleying closer to the net, softer overheads, driving at the body, importance of good lobs, shorter swings, and faster hands.”

He said, “I like the teamwork, strategy, and fast pace of the game. As we all know, it is also a great way to get exercise during the winter.” He added, ‘Tennis players will be frustrated at first but if they stick with it, they will learn to love platform tennis.”

Brett concluded, “Watch tournament matches and read what you can. The instructional tips in PTM are generally very helpful.”