Greg Labanowski blog: Why I got into coaching

July 2, 2017 05:11 PM

Houston native Greg Labanowski (above right) begins his USTA fellowship after graduating with a degree in business from the University of Southern California in May 2017. His first three years at USC, Labanowski served as a team manager/practice partner for the Trojans, and during his senior year, he was an intern at the USTA Training Center - West in Carson, Calif. Labanowski interned during the summer of 2014 with coach Craig Boynton and traveled two consecutive summers in 2015 and 2016 with John Isner. He will be writing a blog for throughout his fellowship and talks about what led him to coaching in his first entry.
By Greg Labanowski

Hello everyone! I’m looking forward to writing blogs during my time here this summer with the USTA Player Development Fellowship program!

The first topic I was asked to write on was what led me to coaching tennis. The first thing that comes to my mind without a doubt is my love and passion for the game. I was lucky enough to have parents who introduced me to a variety of sports throughout my youth. While I enjoyed participating in baseball, football and basketball, among others, none of those sports caught my attention like tennis did. I remember going to a professional tennis tournament for the first time and watching James Blake play Wayne Ferreira. I was hooked! I went home that night and hit tennis balls against the wall of our garage until dinnertime! Since that day, I have been and I always will be a passionate fan of tennis. I love playing tennis, watching tennis and, especially, coaching tennis. Tennis is my passion, and it consumes my thoughts 24/7.

The second reason I was drawn to coaching is because of the pursuit of constant excellence that is professional tennis. As a coach, I am energized by working with someone who is dedicating their entire life and is willing to sacrifice anything and everything to be the best they possibly can be. I’m sure it is the merging of this mindset, along with my love for the game, that has resulted in my dedication to a coaching career.

Thirdly, I am constantly inspired by the environment that is created in professional tennis. I love being around people who are all working for greatness. This is an environment in which everyone is grinding their tail off to get better in any way possible. Nothing is given, and everything is earned. The best players show up engaged every day and leave no stone unturned. There is a constant strive to maximize what you have, and everything is earned through hard work. I find this sort of a community to be one of the best possible places to work within.

Last, giving back to something that has given me so much undoubtedly is a part of why I am coaching. Tennis has helped me in so many different ways to grow and evolve as a person that I will be forever indebted to the sport. I can’t imagine there being another medium or activity out there that could have done this for me. It made me mature, it made me learn to problem solve, it made me tough. If I can build relationships with players and assist them in their journey and perhaps be a catalyst for any of these things, I know it will have been a success. The people in the tennis world who have influenced, inspired and mentored me throughout my life have had a profound influence on me as a person and coach. I hope that I can repay that generosity and inspiration to others through my coaching.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to what will be an incredibly exciting summer! I am in Orlando now but will be out on the road very soon. Go Team USA!