Adios 2020, bring on 2021

coaching philosophy Jan 01, 2021

By Marc Sophoulis

I’m writing this blog as the year 2020 has come to a close. Tired, physically and mentally, stressed and worn out. But as a tennis coach that’s almost the norm these days.

The before school and after school grind. The freezing temperatures or the 40 degree heat is all part and parcel of it.

One day I wear four or five layers of clothing and the other I’m lathered up in sunscreen and donning a big hat to avoid the sun that is frying my skin and reflecting off the court into my eyes. But 25 years after I coached my first tennis lesson, I’m still going and as passionate as ever.

2020 was like no other in Melbourne, Australia. Six months off the court meant no income and my two young girls had to be home schooled, the days felt like they went forever. Now we have a Covid baby on the way in 2021.

Coaching took on a new meaning this year, it was from a computer screen thanks to Zoom. Every day of the week finding ways to continually grow and develop my players without a tennis court. It was tough, different but I found new ways to engage my athletes.

There was a brush with cancer after finding a lump in my face, which is an ongoing saga in the background, after many scans and tests I’m still unclear if I have it or not.

The fear of cancer scares me. Every morning I wake up is a blessing. If I can open my eyes in the morning it’s a good day. Why? Because the alternative is much worse.

Amongst all the tough times came reflection. Where am I? Where am I going? What do I value most?

The answer is clear. FAMILY.

Without a support network and people that love you, what’s the point? The festive season is a reminder that no matter how tough things have been, family is number one.

The positives though outweighed the negatives and I became a qualified Level Three AFL coach. We launched The Tennis Menu after years of doing it in the background and we fell pregnant after trying for 12 months. But most importantly I got to spend more time with the people I love due to being in lockdown. Family.

What will 2021 bring? What do I want?

One thing is clear, I’m a person before I’m a tennis coach and I’m a husband, father and friend. Tennis coaching is what I do and not who I am.

The most important thing in life is to continue to grow from the tough times, learn the lessons and continue to become a better version of yourself every day.

I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings, Happy New Year everyone.

Marc Sophoulis.

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