Originally published on Thursday, December 20, 2012
My journey as a tennis player and teaching professional has taken me many places I might not have seen had I chosen another career path.
And yet, I was invited to come to Victoria by a friend of mine who said he felt a resurgence coming on in the tennis community, and that he was going to need some assistance.
I remember playing in a high school tournament here years ago. I would have to look back to see whether we won or lost; I can't remember.
Most times when you lose you remember, especially as my doubles partner and I were on a terrific run our senior year.
So, either we won easily or we lost so badly that we put it out of our minds and went on to the next tournament.
So, I've spent these last 20 months getting to know the local players, both adult and juniors, mainly to see where I could best present an offering of tennis that brought everyone in the community together.
The obvious place to start is with the kids and their parents.
Any coach will tell you that the way you build a strong program is to start with the kids as they will eventually lead the way to a strong high school program.
Some of you may have gandered at a local high school football game or two, and well, you know how it works.
The next avenue is the adults.
What became crystal clear in a hurry was that many of the people I brought together did not know that so and so played tennis.
They knew each other in the community and even sometimes had business dealings with one another, but never knew they had that common thread in tennis.
The Victoria Tennis Association helps promote the game among adult players,and that has also helped our exposure to the game.
We as coaches also have gathered together and are attempting to unify our efforts for the betterment of Victoria tennis.
My new colleague and longtime local coach Katie Littleton, along with Victoria West's new tennis coach Jeff Davidson, had a lot to do with that.
One would be surprised, but for a community this size we have a lot of tennis instructors out there. But, this is the Crossroads, and we serve quite a few people from the surrounding communities.
So, here we are as we prepare for the spring high school tennis season.
Tennis is just like football.
As a player you prepare for singles and doubles.
The other phase, and many times more importantly is to get our juniors to travel to USTA tournaments, and work on their ranking outside of school.
Many do not realize, but landing a college scholarship is more often based on your USTA state or national ranking, not merely your success in high school.
Philip Perez is the assistant head tennis professional at Victoria Country Club. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.