By Justin Landis
The most profound lesson I’ve learned through teaching tennis hasn’t been advanced stroke techniques, revolutionary nutrition habits, or footwork drills that get you chasing down balls like Rafael Nadal.
What teaching tennis has really taught me is that this sport is not just a game. It’s a many-faceted tool that can be used to create a positive generation – a tool that can bring communities together and promote valuable life lessons.
As Andre Agassi said in his great hall of fame induction speech, “Tennis makes you perceptive, proactive and reactive all at the same time. Tennis teaches you the subtlety of human interaction, the curse and blessing of cause and effect.”
And it really does. Through my interactions with seasoned teaching professionals and my experiences coaching players of all levels, I’ve learned that a simple shift in awareness or momentum can change everything, both on and off the court, and immersing yourself in positive affirmations and self-belief is the best solution.
As a young, newly certified tennis professional fresh out of college and a European backpacking adventure, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the sports business, specifically tennis. I seized any teaching opportunity I could. Country clubs, recreational consortiums, indoor facilities, neighborhood programs, you name it. Everywhere I taught, I observed the unique styles of the coaches I worked with.
Some tennis coaches had dreams of coaching on the ATP/WTA Tour, creating their own high performance tennis academies, coaching a 3.0 ladies’ team to a national title, and everything in between.
Through this synergy of tennis and life that I noticed through teaching the game with others, I formed my own teaching style and developed a passion for promoting the positive developmental aspects and life lessons that tennis provides.
Tennis is a game and a sport. It’s a physical chess match. But above all else, tennis is a tool for teaching valuable life lessons and bringing people together. Oddly enough, I learned this valuable life lesson through teaching tennis.
Justin Landis is a Middle States volunteer and a tennis instructor in the Philadelphia area. Learn more about him by visiting justtennisnow.com.