My Career In Tennis

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Tennis has always been something that I was fond of. As a little kid, I remember first picking up a racquet at the age of five. Back in those days, I was taking lessons at South Garner Park which was the closest park to my house. I recall my only goal being to hit the ball over the fence every time. As time progressed, I ended up quitting and picking up basketball and soccer because I, “lacked interest” in tennis. Playing those sports introduced me to multiple coaches with extremely different personalities who influenced the way I perceive and coach others now.
On one hand, I had Coach Fright (for soccer) and Coach Donnie (for basketball). From what I remember, Coach Fright was the type of coach to push us way beyond our limits. I personally
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That summer before high school is when I finally began to play tennis again. My dad and I start hitting around at our neighborhood courts. He technically could be called my first tennis coach, but that’s a story for another time. When I arrived at tennis tryouts in February, I first met Mr. Walls. Mr. Walls was my tennis coach throughout my high school tennis career. He, in my opinion, was one of the best coaches I have had as a player.
The first few days of practice was he extremely strict and gave off an intimidating attitude. I was afraid to make mistakes in spite that he might yell at me. However, by the end of the third practice, he told me I had made the team and I had nothing to worry about. That was definitely a big sigh of relief for me.
It truly wasn’t until one day, my senior year, I realized just how good of a coach Mr. Walls was. He told me to come to his room after school so we could talk about the upcoming season. He told me I was going to the Capitan of the team and that he had emailed some college coaches about coming to see me play. Even though it didn’t end up working out, Mr. Walls had no motive to email those coaches. He did this out of the kindness of his heart. A true coach is able to see the potential in the athletes they are coaching. I all honesty, I feel like Mr. Walls was extremely literate in the art of coaching and understanding others. I will always look up to him and cannot
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For example, by the third week of coaching, most of the kids were able to successfully hit the ball back and forth over the small nets. In retrospect, this isn’t a huge accomplishment, but to us coaches, this was definitely a good sign we were doing something right and moving in the right direction.
As time advanced, the kids began to get even began to do the drills on their own. We, as coaches had figured out a coaching method the kids enjoyed. That method was to first begin with slow-paced, didactic lecturing and follow it with a game that gave the kids a chance to showcase their abilities. Seeing the kids who paid attention excel in the games made everyone else want to be like them.
By the end of the summer, about five of the kids were able to play against each other with no adult monitoring them. Some of the kids even picked up on some of our habits as well. Habits such as grunting after hitting a shot and saying, “Come on,” after winning a point. Personally, I don’t think coaches realize just how much of an influence they have on their athletes. Coaches must be inspirational figures in kid’s lives in order to make an impact. It was such a heartwarming feeling when the same group of kids came back next year and wanted to be part of my group. I had made an
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