Every young tennis player has a vision of joining the professional tour, but achieving that dream is an entirely different thing. For the 10 years that I was on the WTA Tour, I was living that dream.
I learned many important life lessons on the tour, but the two that stuck with me the most are discipline and independence. Being around other exceptional players and seeing how serious they took their day-to-day training motivated me to keep pushing myself.
Once I retired from the WTA Tour, making the decision to become a coach was an easy one. I’ve always liked kids and being able to see their transition from a developmental to high performance player was fascinating to me.
I’ve been in high performance coaching for the last 11 years, and two of the most important things I’ve learned while working with young players is that everyone has a distinctive style of learning and understanding, there is no one way to teach a player, and being able to listen to your players’ needs versus my own ego.
I always tell my players that to be a successful player you need more hours on the court, maintain a rigorous fitness schedule of 5-6 days a week, and sports mental training (making sure not only their body, but their minds are sharp).
There are always a few kids that you know are just going to be different, their desire for the sport is on another level. They live and breathe tennis. That’s something that a coach can’t teach, but it’s special to watch them develop.
I hope to continue learning as a coach at The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in my position as Associate Director of High Performance and Adult Programming. I think that learning from my peers is just as important as learning from my players, and I aspire to becoming an even better coach.
Shenay Perry is the newest addition to the team at The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning, where she will work as the Associate Director of High Performance and Adult Programming. Perry won nine singles and seven doubles titles on the ITF tour, and reached a career-high ranking of 40th in the world in singles. She may be reached at email@example.com.