To those watching, it seemed like just another friendly game between 20-somethings and men twice their age. But to national tennis guru Wayne Bryan, it might as well have been match point at Wimbledon. Bryan, holding a microphone just outside the service court, spoke in dulcet tones as if he were announcing the game to a national audience.
As the match went back and forth, coming down to a close victory for the younger guys, it was easy to forget that just an hour before, Bryan was teaching the groups how to properly hold a racket.
The match was a culmination of a daylong clinic hosted by Bryan, the head coach of World Team Tennis' Sacramento Capitals and father of the top-ranked doubles team in the world - Mike and Bob.
With his good-ol'-boy charm and encouraging style, it's easy to fathom that he's one of the most sought-after tennis coaches in the country.
"It was a lot of fun," said Alex Wisner from Discovery Bay. "Just the two minutes we spent back there added five miles per hour to my serve. The environment was awesome; you could tell everyone was having a blast."
Bryan, who makes a living touring the country hosting clinics for tennis players of all ages and experience levels, came to Discovery Bay at the request of the Athletic Club's new pro, Lance Turner.
"I think Contra Costa County is really on the rise with tennis and it just needs people like (Bryan) and I to energize this whole area," Turner said. "I was so pleased that he decided to take his time to come out here. This was as much as I could've expected."
Bryan taught the Discovery Bay participants the fundamentals of teamwork, showing players the proper way to pass the ball to one another. He then worked up to competition and later a rotating doubles tournament that stressed technique over power. Bryan's technique was the same, regardless of skill level, as he worked with little kids to club veterans on the finer points of the game.
"It's a really great group. Everyone was laughing and having a great time," said Bryan. "We gave instruction, but most importantly we just had fun. We had kids who had never played, tennis players, as well as guys who had played in high school out there, so I thought it went pretty well. That's the great thing about tennis. It's a family thing and it's an all-age thing."
Bryan was also present to promote his team, the Capitals, which will start playing on July 5 at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. The match will be the Sacramento debut for world-renowned tennis star Anna Kournikova.
In addition to his accolades as a WTT coach and instructor, Bryan has also written "The Formula: Raising Your Child to Be a Champion in Athletics, Arts and Academics," which describes his experiences raising twin boys who are now the top-seeded doubles team in the world.