This was my final weekend in training Kendra Doerr, who I’ve been a personal coach to for the past 4 years. This young lady has become a tremendously talented tennis player due to the time she has spent on court. Along with a great work ethic, she has always been a quick learner, maintains a great attitude and has been an absolute joy to coach and train these past years.
I’d like to brag that she became a great player because I was her coach, but that’s not the entire truth. Her determination, smarts and work ethic, combined with her talent and athleticism made my job all the more smooth and enjoyable. I also became a better coach because of her. She worked hard since her freshmen year, after getting a late start in the sport. She also juggled the year training in soccer, in which she was an all-conference player. While soccer took some time away from her tennis training, she still set the bar for her high school team in offseason training and in taking part in USTA tournaments.
As a #1 singles tennis player at her high school, she continually competes against players from other schools and in USTA who were acclimated to the sport much younger and who are dedicated to and focused only on the sport of tennis which yields them many more hours on the court than Kendra had the pleasure/chance to get. Yet, she remains a fierce competitor, is not afraid to take on any challenge and challenger and has become one of the best tennis players to emerge from her high school in decades.
A year or so ago she made the decision not to continue her tennis career in college, instead focusing on an Exercise Science major and her future career goals. She will attend IU in the fall of this year.
Now she leaves the academy to begin her final season of high school tennis which starts tomorrow. And while I’ll miss training her, I’m really proud of what we were able to accomplish together.
Some might think that the time you spend on court with someone may be lost when tennis takes a backseat in their lives. I disagree. One of the most important parts of my job as a professional coach remains in the relationships I form through the sport itself. Yes, winning is nice and Kendra has plenty of victories under her belt, but there’s a much more important aspect to it all. In tennis, young players learn important core values that will ultimately make them successful in life, outside the courts. Tennis, being a very difficult individual sport to learn and compete in, teaches junior players character, courage, honesty, sportsmanship, integrity, commitment, humility and excellence.
All of these things I’ve been able to witness in Kendra’s growth from her freshmen year on. I have no doubt she’ll do great things in life. I’ve always said that if you can become a successful tennis player, you can do anything in life.
So, world, watch out for this young lady! Good luck, Kendra, with all your post-academy endeavors and I hope one day, after college, you’ll find tennis or tennis will find you and you will compete once again.
Shane Staley is the founder of Staley Tennis and a USPTA-certified trainer, Accredited Professional Coach and instructor.