Since my departure from college tennis and the National Championship team at Duke University, I have immersed myself into QuickStart tennis, dedicating most of the my time to 8 & under junior development. For me, it has been a process of scaling back, not only the intensity, but learning how to teach tennis through the sheer enjoyment of the game. It is, of course, success that keeps many people coming back for more. However, at the fresh age of 4 – 8 years old, it is often about how much fun they have in the process. As said the best by Martina Navratilova, “if you want to find success, you have to enjoy the process of getting there.”
I applied for several head college coaching jobs after my stint at Duke. At the time, the enjoyment of the game had dissipated for me, and I found that it was not the right time to take the next step in college coaching. I often wonder what my coaching philosophy would be after teaching my 8 & unders. Would high fives and superstar moments be as important? Would I catch myself screaming with enthusiasm every time a point was won? Probably not, but I truly believe hard work and enjoyment of the game would be of equal importance.
It has occurred to me throughout this process that we will not know if the QuickStart method truly works until 10 years down the line when this group of kids has grown up playing in the step by step philosophy. There are many coaches that are hesitant to believe that this will truly work to find the next great champion. After coming from one extreme to the next, the next great champion seems out of reach, but having a blast at a junior team tennis match rocking matching wristbands and shoe laces seems like it could be just as important to the growth of the game.