We at MyTennisLessons are excited to announce Gregg M. in Arlington, VA, as our instructor of the month for June. He is doing a fantastic job teaching his students. We were able to find some time between lessons to ask Gregg a few questions.
1. When did you decide to become a tennis pro?
When I was about 13, my coach needed some additional help working with the younger kids and that really planted the seed. It was a ton of fun and my first paying job! I went on to teach throughout high school and college and always enjoyed it. After I got settled in my career years later practicing law, I missed it, so started coaching again on the side.
2. In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic a tennis instructor should have?
I think the ability to adapt and understand the different strengths, weaknesses, goals and even personalities of your students is important. One method or approach of working with a student definitely does not fit all.
I also believe that being an active, competitive, committed player, and thus teaching by example, is a powerful tool. Think of it as continuing education! I think it is effective if students know you are going through the journey with them and also trying to get better yourself. How can I ask my students to compete hard in tournaments or improve conditioning and fitness if I am not willing to walk the walk, too?
3. What is your favorite student success story?
My favorite success story is the first time I convinced one of my students that he was strong enough to compete in his first tournament and he ended up winning the whole thing!
4. You were part of the tennis team in high school and college. What kind of advice would you give young players looking to try out for their tennis team?
I think getting as much competitive tournament match play beforehand is critical. You need to get used to dealing with the less than ideal and stressful situations that competitive match play brings. This will not only sharpen your game, but also help you get “match tough.” Hitting around for fun or even taking lessons is a good start, but will only get you so far and is likely not enough to compete at a high level in high school or college.
5. What is the most important advice you can pass on to a beginner tennis player?
Realize that you have your whole life to continue to improve. Don’t get frustrated with only modest or even no improvement in the short term. Tennis is a journey. You can always get better and reach new goals. Some of my friends in their late forties are just starting to hit their stride!