Egypt Valley Tennis Professional Patrick Snyder’s love for tennis actually started with his brother.
“We were a baseball family,” Snyder said. “No one in my family played tennis. No cousins, aunts, uncles or anyone! My brother, who is nine years older, randomly started playing tennis in high school after the gym teacher and tennis coach asked him to join the team during gym class.”
Since Snyder’s brother had to babysit him, that meant that he was going to pick up the sport, too. According to Snyder, it wasn’t too difficult of a transition because of his baseball skills.
“Hanging around the tennis courts so much, I got to know the varsity tennis coach pretty well and he took a liking to me,” Snyder explained. “His name was John Fill and he was a former football player at Ohio State and played for Woody Hayes. He was a great coach and spent a ton of time with me developing my game.”
Snyder recalled that Fill fully volunteered his time to teaching, never charging Snyder for all the lessons he gave him, and was sure he always had a way to get to and from practices if he needed a ride.
“Eventually when I got to high school, I turned into a pretty decent tennis player,” Snyder said, noting he loved playing and had a ton of success in high school—he was winning tournaments, was all-conference, and became All-Ohio his junior and senior year. “My friends and I practically lived on the tennis courts in the summer. Our high school courts had lights, so we would be out there almost every night hitting around. It was great. I have so many fun memories from my high school tennis experience. That’s where the love of the game comes from.”
Last year, Snyder was inducted into his high school hall of fame. After high school, he went on to stay close to home and play college tennis at Grand Valley State University, though he had a couple Division 1 collegiate options.
“I had a blast playing collegiate tennis,” Snyder said. “The camaraderie with the guys, the traveling, the Adidas gear, it was all fun.”
Being a collegiate player opened up opportunities for teaching the sport.
“I started teaching tennis in the summer up here, actually met my future wife on the tennis courts—as she was also a tennis instructor in the summer—eventually became the director of Egypt Valley tennis and now I’m currently trying to figure out how to get my daughters (who are two and one) to take an interest in the game,” Synder said.
The Egypt Valley tennis program has certainly grown under Snyder’s leadership. In his eyes, there are two things that really stand out: the junior program—which has doubled in participation size since Snyder’s first year—and the addition of pickleball.
“This year, we have over 200 kids registered in the program!” Snyder said, adding that even with this unprecedented growth, they’ve maintained an organized program. “We have emphasized the junior tennis programming by utilizing modified balls, tennis courts and rackets, and that has helped to really retain interest and engagement in the kids.”
Synder says the development of Egypt Valley’s young players has been awesome to watch.
“These kids come in as early as four-years-old and by the time they actually hit a real tennis ball around age 11, they have good form, great coordination, better anticipation and a little bit of strategy, too,” he said, adding that pickleball is taking over in popularity. “I have become a facilitator and instructor of adult pickleball here at the club, even while first learning about the sport after I started working at Egypt Valley. With the addition of the four pickleball courts on our newly resurfaced tennis faculty, the sport is now a permanent staple here at Egypt Valley.”
Members might be surprised to learn that Snyder is also an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Godwin Heights Middle School and that he has a strong love for early American history. Snyder also has his master’s degree from Central Michigan University in curriculum and instruction, and says his wife has better tennis accolades than he does.
“She was an All-American at Indiana Wesleyan University,” Snyder said. “And the answer to the obvious follow-up question is: Of course, I can beat her!”
Snyder says regardless if you’re new to tennis or are a 5.0 player, Egypt Valley has a great facility with great people ready to help.
“On the website, we have all of our adult programming information—check it out!” Snyder said. “We have something for everyone, from cardio tennis to pickleball instruction. If those programs don’t work for your schedule then email me and we can work something out.”
Whether you’re interested in a private lesson or a private group drill, Synder says he can cater to all different schedules, abilities and ages.
“Email me and let’s find a time to get you out on the courts!”