1. You started playing tennis when you were 10. Do recall your first lessons? If so, how has that experience shaped how you teach young students today?
I actually do remember my first tennis lesson. I had a lot of fun. I believe I hit tons of balls over the fence. I just couldn’t find the court; I thought I was Barry Bonds. From that experience I understand that patience is everything and keeping the game fun and exciting with younger students will keep them motivated to do better and grow to love the game.
The advice I would tell young students with ambitions to become great is never listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t accomplish your goals. Always stay motivated and keep the game fun. Hard work and dedication will make your dreams come true and don’t be afraid to dream big because anything is possible as long as you believe.
3. You’ve been coaching for several years. What’s a favorite memory with a student you have coached?
My favorite memory as a coach was watching my student win his first tournament. He couldn’t stop smiling because he didn’t believe that he could compete with all of the other players in the tournament. I sat him down and told him: “Look at this draw. You’re not playing everyone in the tournament. Take it one match at a time and just play how you would in practice and you’ll be fine. Win or lose you’re still the man.” After that he shocked me and won the tournament. I was extremely proud of him. It made me realize why I love to teach and play the game.
I love teaching my students the serve. Having a monster serve makes life so much easier on the court. To me the serve is the most important part of the game. It starts the point and possibly finishes a championship point. I make sure my students understand the importance of a good serve.
5. Can you tell us what it is you love so much about teaching tennis?
Teaching tennis makes me sleep well at night knowing that I’m spending one hour of someone’s life keeping them healthy, strong and happy. Regardless of what they’re going through in that moment everything around them is positive and safe while on the tennis court. Also, sharing knowledge that some of the great coaches and players I’ve come across have enlightened me with isn’t a bad thing either.