Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Back to School, Back to Life



In my last article, “A Lesson For Life,” I discussed retirement and how life’s daily schedule and routines change when we begin to reach that stage of life.

As summer ends, schedules and daily routines for families with school age children change. It’s back to school, and families now return to the daily routine of a school schedule. This daily routine/ schedule is an important aspect of a young person’s life. It teaches them the responsibilities of scheduling, planning and taking care of life’s day-to-day responsibilities.

Last year, when my youngest daughter left for college, it was a major back to school moment! While it was a major change in my routine and responsibilities of day-to-day life, it was also a major change in her routine and responsibilities of day-to-day life. No longer was she going to have the luxury of dad forcing her to get out of


bed, get out the front door and get to school on time. She was now going to have to be responsible for her own schedule.

That’s what parents do. We set the standards for our kids. We are role models.

But kids need role models besides their parents. I am a big believer that outside of parents and grandparents, teachers and coaches are a young person’s best role models.

We all remember our favorite teacher when we were in school, and I remember my favorite coach. His name was Coach Cheney.

I was fortunate enough to have Coach Cheney be an influence and role model in my life, from elementary school all the way through high school. He always challenged me to perform to the best of my capabilities, in a multitude of sports that I participated in. He taught me how to be a fierce competitor, a proud and


humble winner, and how to accept defeat and be a good loser.

During this year’s Wimbledon, I saw a very interesting interview/discussion between Andre Agassi and Brad Gilbert. Agassi has recently teamed up with Novak Djokovic as his coach.

Many years ago, Gilbert had teamed up with Agassi as his coach.

During the discussion, Agassi admitted to the fact that at that point in his career, he had lost his drive and the love of what he was doing. He said, “It just wasn’t fun any more.” More than just a coach, Gilbert acted as a big brother/parent role model for the young Agassi. Gilbert insisted that Agassi always be on time for practice and training sessions and put him on a regimented daily schedule, which turned Agassi’s career around! He went on to become a Wimbledon champion and play some of the best tennis of his career, into

Some of the organized activities kids can enjoy in the multi-activity racquetball rooms.

Some of the organized activities kids can enjoy in the multi-activity racquetball rooms.

his thirties.

Djokovic, while not having any loss of drive or love for what he is doing, is, however facing the same challenge of attempting to play some of the best tennis of his career in his thirties. This is where Agassi can be of value to Djokovic. Agassi can be a role model, providing knowledge and experience for Djokovic, much like Gilbert did for him.

I feel that role models are very important at any point in life, but especially for young kids. I try to be the best role model I can for the kids in my youth sports program. I also select high schoolers (most of whom I have known since they were young kids), as councilors, to also be role models for the kids in my program. These aspiring young adults volunteer their time to help me teach the younger kids.

It is truly a win/win situation for everybody!

While my main goal with the kids in my programing is to make sure they are having fun and loving what they are doing; I also insist that they follow a daily scheduled regiment of activities and training.

In addition to training on the tennis courts, I utilize the racquetball courts, as multi-activity rooms. My programing provides the kids a mix of activities, related to the fundamentals required not only to succeed in tennis, but also to be able to compete and succeed in all sports.

My youth, multi-sport, training programming runs year round, and my after school program begins right when the kids go back to school. Classes are scheduled on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 5 PM for kids ages 4 and up. Classes for the older kids are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 5 to 6 PM. Pricing for all programs is $180 for a sixweek session of attendance, or $15 for daily attendance.

The citizens of Marco Island are very lucky to have the Racquet Center as part of its Parks and Recreation facilities. The Racquet Center provides our community with activities for all ages. So whether you live here full time, part time, or you are just here visiting, stop by the Racquet Center and start participating in our wide variety fun activities.

Wayne Clark is a certified professional tennis instructor with over 25 years experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction. He has been the head instructor at The Marco Island Racquet Center since 2001. The Racquet Center offers clinics, private and group lessons for both tennis and pickleball. Coach Wayne’s Island Kids Tennis/Sports Juniors programs run year round, and offer classes for players ranging from kindergarten through high school. Contact Coach Wayne by email at coachwayneclark@aol.com or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.


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