Marianne Werdel blog: How Team USA Camps got me hooked on coaching

June 13, 2017 10:43 AM

Marianne Werdel is part of USTA Player Development’s USTA Advantage Mentoring Program and uses her experience as a former player and coach to mentor young players, parents and coaches at Team USA Camps. Werdel attended Stanford University and then played professionally on the WTA Tour from 1982 to 1997. She is currently a private coach in San Diego.

By Marianne Werdel

I was invited to work my first USTA Player Development Training Camp in 2015, and I instantly felt at home coaching. The format of the camps enabled me to find what I enjoy most about coaching and how I can best share my experiences with the next generation of American tennis players.

The players all have great personal coaches who have given them a strong technical base. I enjoy adding to that base by teaching them how the various shots come together to create their individual game style and helping them learn how to compete, how to win and how to handle some of the crushing blows this sport can give them. Elite-level junior tennis isn’t for the faint of heart, but with the right tools, it can be a much more positive experience for everyone.

Working with the parents during some of the camps has been some of the most rewarding weekends I have had coaching. These parents have all invested a lot of themselves in their child’s passions. Raising a competitive athlete is never easy, and many times people rush to criticize the overbearing tennis parent. Being a parent of athletes myself, I know how hard it is to support your child and yet not push too hard, or enable, at the same time. I had a very challenging relationship with my mother when it came to my tennis. If I can help one family have an easier journey through junior tennis, then I have succeeded.

I love seeing the players come together and bond over the course of the three days. The kids can be so serious on the court, so we love to look over during the free time and see them laughing and messing around with mini-tennis or "King of the Court." Junior tennis was one of my favorite times in my competitive years, and the friendships that I made during those years have lasted a lifetime. Priceless!

Tennis was a huge part of my life growing up and taught me many life lessons that helped me to be a better and stronger person. I am very grateful to have a renewed passion for the sport in helping the next generation have a similar experience in their tennis journey. It truly is a sport of a lifetime in many different ways.