Mike Flowers blog: A coach’s impact

April 5, 2017 03:00 PM

Mike Flowers is currently the head tennis professional at Court One Athletic Clubs in Michigan. Flowers played collegiate tennis for four years at Michigan State University and then began his coaching career, first as the head pro at MVP Rockford and then as the High Performance coach at the Midland Dow Community Tennis Center, before moving to Court One. In addition to serving on the Western Michigan Competition Committee, he is also the co-director of the 10 & under WMTA District Training Center for elite players. Flowers is writing a blog for PlayerDevelopment.USTA.com for the next several weeks. In his first entry, he talks about how he got into coaching and why he decided to commit his life to it.

By Mike Flowers

My coaching career began almost immediately after college. Not knowing yet what to do with my life but finding it difficult to step away from the sport I loved, I decided to get into coaching. Tennis had given me so much and created so many opportunities that a move into coaching seemed like a great temporary solution.

What I did not expect was that the enthusiasm and dedication of my students would reveal my calling. As time passed, it became apparent that coaching had become my passion and something I wanted to commit my life to. The interaction of the players and the great coaches in the industry allow me to genuinely love what I am doing. Having a meaningful and lasting impact on students' lives is fulfilling beyond measure. Teaching students about dedication and discipline, setting goals, work ethic, coping with tough losses and always staying humble provides them life lessons that will stick with them long after their competitive playing days are over.  

Yes, I started coaching because I couldn't part with the sport. But the desire to share came from my coaches and their lasting effects on me. Having had four coaches throughout my playing career (age 7 through college), I can recall numerous occasions where each had a significant impact on me. One such instance occurred during qualifications for the Kalamazoo National Championships the summer before my junior year of high school. Money was tight, and between work and other family commitments, my parents couldn't possibly afford to get me to the event. Being in the thick of my college recruiting process, my coach knew the importance of my participation. He made arrangements to make sure I could get there and play the event with no expectations of anything in return. My results were pivotal to earning a scholarship and becoming the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college.

Though I had many lessons on technique and strategy over the years, most I cannot recall. The lessons I will never forget are the ones that extended beyond the court and helped me grow into the person I am today. For these gifts I will always be grateful.