Megan Moulton-Levy blog: My first year as a coach

March 2, 2017 06:11 AM

Megan Moulton-Levy competed on the WTA Tour in both singles and doubles, advancing to the round of 32 at all four Grand Slam tournaments and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 50 in the world in doubles in July 2013. Moulton-Levy was a four-year standout at the College of William & Mary from 2004-08, where she earned All-America honors six times and reached the 2006 NCAA singles semifinals and the 2007 NCAA doubles final. A two-time recipient of the National ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, Moulton-Levy currently serves as a senior coach at the JTCC in College Park, Md. For the next several weeks, she will be writing a blog on that will focus on her coaching career. In her latest entry, she reflects back on her first year as a coach.

By Megan Moulton-Levy

Being a young coach and new to the field doesn't give me much room to give other coaches, young or old, any advice. However, upon reflecting on my first year of full-time coaching, I realized I would have done a few things differently.

Anyone who chooses to enter this profession wants to make a difference in a child's life. I was so eager to make an impact, excited about having the opportunity to give back. But I was slightly naive, also, and within my first week of coaching, I made one girl cry, demanded the girls start charting their emotions from 1 to 10 twice a day and expected them to play like pros within the first five days I was there. Despite my naturally cheerful disposition, after the first week of coaching juniors, I was overwhelmed, felt in over my head and thought about not going back!


People have always told me relationships are the most important part of coaching. Intellectually, I knew that was true, but what I did not know was in order to build lasting and effective relationships I probably should have kept my mouth shut for the first three months. Instead of aggressively inserting myself, I should have observed the kids and gotten to know them more before I tried to tell them what to do. I began to understand the meaning of “actions speak louder than words.” The kids needed to feel my heart and trust me before it would even become possible to make an imprint on their lives.

I spent the first two months feverishly writing everything down and asking as many questions as possible. However, the more I became entrenched in my daily routine, the more I have gotten away from asking and writing. Looking back, this is not advice I would only give to new coaches. Whether you have been doing this for two months or 10 years, I think it is important to continue to take notes, ask questions, collaborate, observe, listen and get outside of your comfort zone. This is the only way we will continue to learn, grow and be challenged. We owe it to our players to get better.

As time has passed, it has become harder for me to put myself in the mindframe of a player. It is easy for us as coaches to expect perfection, bark orders and unnecessarily overreact to a mistake. Demanding excellence is a necessary part of being a coach. However, we must also try our best to keep the perspective of the player in mind at all times.

The pursuit of mastering a skill is not easy. To me, learning to be a great coach is like learning to be a great tennis player. We have to be humble, push ourselves, learn from our mistakes and vow to get a little bit better at our craft each and every day.