Prior to coming to Moorland I had never made it past three years at any club. I had been a part time assistant, full time assistant, head professional, and a tennis director but after three years it always seemed time to move on. Now that I am starting my eleventh year at Moorland I realize it is the people you are surrounded by, the members, staff, and management that really determine someones longevity and success. As we get started on Tuesday I have to thank my tennis staff and front desk staff for following my vision of the club and helping me continue to grow our tennis family. The resources from Western Racquet Club continue to help make us a better place as well. A prime example of needing support from staff and members was the addition of pickleball to the club. This was a well researched project with a tremendous amount of thought put into how it could fit in with our tennis players. Although there were detractors with logical and valid arguments it was time to see some new growth. What I learned is how important it is as a tennis director to go "all in" on somewhat risky decisions and believe in the plan. If we don't commit 100% to new programs and projects they are destined for failure. I have failed many times in my career but the trick is to keep searching for things that work because when they do the benefits can be enormous.
Most adult players that I work with take one of two paths when trying to improve. The first path is "I don't want to change anything about my strokes, I just want to take what I have and make it as good as possible." The second path is the "I want to invest my time and money to learn new skills and add more options to my game" plan. In some cases it is absolutely correct to take what is already there and make is as good as possible. Many times it isn't worth the time or energy to the player for an insignificant change in the number of points, sets, or matches won. That is either because of the time frame that can be invested, the goals of the student, or the shots that they want aren't needed at their level of play. The players that decide to do major changes and overhaul their games must make a commitment to go through some difficult times on the court and accept that they may lose several matches that would typically be victories in order to come out better in the long run. Many players have the correct strategy to win but lack the tools to execute their winning plan. Tennis is a balance of knowing what to do and having the ability to actually hit the shots that are needed exactly when they are needed. As you evaluate your game make a decision based on what your goals are and ask yourself if you are willing to get worse before you get better. So many players are not ready to risk losing a social match in February so you can win a competitive match in July. Talk to your tennis professional and find out if the new tools you need are the right ones for you and are they achievable in your time frame. Keep in mind that building a house is significantly easier with a bigger tool box.
When dealing with bad line calls, scoring mistakes, and difficult opponents keep in mind how any confrontations may affect you and your partner. In some cases, the energy, adrenaline, and time used to stand up to a bully on the court or fight an incorrect call isn't worth the drama. Make sure that you can gather yourself once the situation is resolved and not let the process have a negative impact on your play for the rest of the match. Some players struggle to recover after a fight, some players get fired up and attack, be sure to know which type of player you are.