When Denise Campbell was 14 and a freshman at North High School in Riverside, her coach at the time felt she would be a good fit to assist her with the class she was teaching through the Let’s Teach Tennis organization.
This organization provides students, who normally would not be exposed to tennis, an opportunity to learn the game for a very reduced fee. She had never done anything like this but was eager to give it a try. She took the quick course through the United States Tennis Association (USTA), received a safety clearance to be around kids, passed a background check and was hired. She really enjoyed it because there were a lot of kids of all ages, running around, bouncing balls, hitting their rackets and just being kids. Eventually, her coach allowed her to have her own class. Denise coached youth until the pandemic hit and everything shut down.
Fortunately, the program restarted over a month ago and Denise was asked to renew her safety/safe play certifications so that she could return. She said, “Overall, I started coaching because I’ve always enjoyed teaching people something new. I’ve also always enjoyed playing tennis, so, when I was able to combine both of those things into one, it was something I wanted to do. It’s great seeing the kids learning different things and getting better with each class.” She was at their point at one time, so it’s good to see what the students are doing and she is helping them fix what isn’t working, so they can get better.
Denise finds it enjoyable to see the students play different games, do different drills, and work together as a team. Not only do they learn teamwork, they are learning the game of tennis, which can help with different life skills. One important life skill that she has learned is how to work and get along with other people. She began her coaching career because she wanted to give back to a game that gave so much to her and taught her a lot.
Congratulations to this young lady who has been instrumental in the lives of prospective tennis players. You are already a winner in this great sport. Denise said, “It’s cool being a 16-year-old junior coach” and it’s even cooler to say she began junior coaching at 14.
I hope you and others always remember the words of Chris Evert who said, “If you can react the same way to winning and losing, that’s a big accomplishment. That quality is important because it stays with you the rest of your life, and there’s going to be a life after tennis that’s a lot longer than your tennis life.”