Harry Jadun blog: The tremendous responsibility of a coach

June 30, 2017 11:47 AM

Harry Jadun was a four-year letter winner for Michigan State's men's tennis team from 2011-15 and was part of the first Spartan doubles team to earn All-America honors in the school's history. Jadun served as a volunteer assistant coach at MSU after graduating and, earlier this month, was named the program's new assistant coach. Jadun, a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection who graduated in 2015 with a degree in English, will be writing a blog for PlayerDevelopment.USTA.com over the coming weeks. In his first entry, he talks about how he developed a love for the game of tennis and what drew him into the field of coaching.

By Harry Jadun

Growing up, I never dreamed that I would coach tennis. Honestly, tennis wasn't even my favorite sport. I dreaded going to tennis practice but loved playing football and basketball in the backyard with my brothers until the sun went down. I knew I was going to play college tennis, but that was more because everyone around me thought I should, not because I loved the game. So how could something that wasn't even my favorite sport be my life's calling?

It wasn't until I played college tennis at Michigan State that I developed a love for the game. I loved traveling on the road with a group of guys that became my best friends. I loved competing on match day. I even loved serving buckets of balls until it felt like my arm was going to fall off. Through all of the wins and losses, the team learned how to push each other and pick each other up. We were (and still are) truly a family.

However, I didn't realize that I wanted to be a coach until I graduated college and moved on to the "real world." I was suddenly on my own and had to figure out what my next step was. As I approached different situations in my life, moments that I spent with my coaches on court would pop into mind: "You have to be professional." "You cannot worry about the result, only the process." At this point, I realized that my coaches were never talking about backhands and forehands. They were talking about life.

From this, I learned that, as coaches, we have a tremendous responsibility. It is our job to provide players with a pathway for them to reach their goals. However, it is not what our players achieve on the court that truly matters. We are not only developing the future of tennis, we are developing the future of society. Every word we say, every action that we take, has an impact.

This is a huge challenge, but it is what drew me into the field of coaching and what keeps me coming back everyday, excited to learn something new. I want to make a difference in improving players’ athletic endeavors. But, more importantly, I want to help them grow as individuals. As John Wooden said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”