ITA Mentoring Program: Coaching the Coaches
By Dunja Antunovic, DePaul Graduate Assistant Coach
2010 ITA/USTWA Writing Contest Winner
Arguably one of the most rewarding and most beneficial experience for coaches who are at the very beginning of their career is to find a mentor within the profession. The ITA acknowledges the importance of mentoring and has developed a program that will serve less experienced coaches.
In March, the ITA launched a series of Mentoring Conference Calls that allow coaches to interact with each other about the most relevant issue pertaining to college tennis. Each month, the ITA asks an experienced coach to talk about a particular topic. In the past these topics included ethics, team building, coach/athlete relationship, and promotion strategies among others.
I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call led by Ann Lebedeff from Pomona-Pitzer. Coach Lebedeff, who has more than thirty years of coaching and accumulated more than 500 wins in her career, shared her thoughts on developing a coaching philosophy.
Not only was Coach Lebedeff’s lecture of utmost value, but those of us who were on the call had the chance to ask questions, address some of the challenges we face and brainstorm together. After a couple of hours, I hung up the phone inspired and ready to become a better coach.
If you missed out on the opportunity to be on one or more of the calls, no need to worry. By going to the Convention, you will have the opportunity to connect to the coaches who made a commitment to participate in the mentoring program by offering to reach out to those of us who are less experienced.
On Saturday, December 18th at 9:10 am four veteran coaches will get together to lead their respective workshops for young coaches. Participants will have the chance to attend all four sessions and ask questions after each workshop.
The topics are as follows:
“Building the ideal relationship with parents,” by Dave Fish (Harvard)
“College tennis today, a look back and ahead at our ethical challenges,” by Peter Smith (USC)
“Networking and building your resume for your dream job,” by Billy Pate (Alabama)
“The critical role of community involvement,” led by Ann Lebedeff (Pomona-Pitzer)
The Convention offers a chance to meet people, build a community and create a space of learning for all coaches. But the ITA made a conscious effort to serve particularly those of us who are new to the profession and who can highly benefit from the wisdom of those who have gone through much more than us.
Our more experienced colleagues made a commitment to share their knowledge via conference calls and at the mentoring panel. Let’s take advantage of the opportunities we are offered.