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Coaching Year 2: My coming of age story

Coaching Year 2: My coming of age story

Mar 27th 2017  |  Alex Tucker


Pressure is felt by everyone. Why do we feel its strain so much? That weight on our shoulders we carry? Some people wear it as a burden, others express it with anger; sometimes, when it gets too much, we just cry; there’s nothing wrong with crying. The stress that we endure in our lives can be so overwhelming to us, yet no one can feel the anxiety and pain you carry. It just hurts.


What if I told you, that our pressure has a culprit? A lurking presence with such cruel intent that they are responsible for the unnecessary hassle in our lives.


They are always felt, they are always heard, but they are never seen…


That person responsible for your own pressure is you.


That’s right, you heard me! We burden ourselves! It sounds crazy, even mental!


So why would we do it then? I mean we all do it! We carry it around like an anchor, yet we’re the one attaching the chains!


It’s because we need it. When presented with adversary, we learn how to fight it with belief. That we can overcome anything presented to us, cause if you beat the pain you feel, you’ll become stronger for it.


The amount of times I have stared pain in the face and kicked its ass is why I have succeeded in my life. When presented with a challenge, I don’t lie on the ground and take it. I rise to the occasion and tackle the problem head on. This has been the narrative of my second year at Loughborough University, and I’m gonna tell you how I did it.


My Life…A Busy One…


For people who don’t know who I am, my name is Alex Tucker and I’m a tennis coach at Loughborough University.


I coach Cardio and Beginners Tennis for my role of My Lifestyle Tennis Activator and I’m also in charge of 80 club members in AU Tennis by coaching and putting on socials for them as AU Recreational Sec/Coach. I also coach Mini Tennis Greens on Saturday, tots on Friday and primary schools on Wednesday.


That, in total, is 10 hours of my week I give to coaching, which doesn’t even tell you half the stuff I do behind the scenes; social media, promoting the sport, running socials, tournaments, planning sessions, developing coaches, meetings, reflections and so on. Sounds hectic, right? Doesn’t stop there though, because I also start my Level 3 tennis qualification in April, which takes 6 months to do.


Now throw in my degree, tour guides, seeing friends, cooking and handling money and my life is starting to sound impossible right now. So yeah…I’m a very busy man!


The question you guys have probably got right now is: Why does he do it?

The answer is simple: I love it.


It’s true! Of course, being busy means you have a lot of people depending on you, and this demand creates pressure. It’s a stressful life I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, but it’s a rewarding one. It’s the reason I’m not a recluse. Why I’ve become a social butterfly. A man of responsibility.


Sure it’s a demanding life, but it’s the demand that pushes me to be the best version of myself, and that’s the person I strive to be every day.


Who is this person?


One of the lines the Joker says in The Dark Knight is people learn who you really are in your final moments before you die. I believe pressure works in the same way. When you are stressed in your life, the way that you deal with it shows off your true character. You can’t change who you are, but you can evolve to be a better version of yourself. In that sense, I have learnt what kind of person I am.


I realized I’m passionate and committed to what I do. The enthusiasm I have for tennis is my biggest strength but with that comes my obsessive tendencies, so learning how to balance the two is what has truly progressed my coaching. I am more concise, wiser, stronger, less of a people pleaser, which is what I have needed to evolve into to enhance my success.


What people underestimate of me though is my inability to give up on anything I care about. I’m a problem solver. It what I do, hence the degree in maths. If I can’t solve it myself, then I look for help when I need it, cause you won’t have all the solutions yourself.


The most surprising yet treasured quality of myself that I discovered this year is how much I care for my TennisFam. I know it sounds a bit soppy, but it’s true. If you are in my sessions, in AU RecFam, tennis staff or receptionists, you all matter to me. These last 2 years I have made a family in doing what I love the most. Sure, people come and go. Some will leave us and others have just joined. Some will graduate and most will come to Loughborough as freshers, but everyone in our tennis club is important to me.


A Long Journey


The 20-year journey I have travelled up to this point has been a satisfyingly proud one. From a lonely non-talking autistic child to an anxious isolated teenager to bubbly tennis coach and now a confident enthusiastic young man soon to be tennis ambassador next year; I am now reaping the rewards and benefits of the hard work I have done throughout my life.


The suffering and trials of my teenage hood have been worth it. The challenges of the jobs presented to me; restructure My Lifestyle Tennis and AU Rec, achieve a 1st in my 2nd year, get the Level 3 Tennis Qualification and above all, to handle the pressure of all of it, have been my proudest moment of my life. I have come full circle to become the person I have always wanted to be: myself.


So that’s it. My story of 2nd year, done. I just want to finish off by saying thank you to the people who have got me this far:


First to my TennisFam at Loughborough Uni, without whom I wouldn’t be here writing the incredible 2 years of tennis I’ve had so far.
To Lewis and Seb for enduring my moments of madness, friends for life.
To my mates back home in Saltash for even being my friends.
To my second sister Becky for being there when I’ve needed you.
To Josh, my best friend, who gave me the reason to always be yourself no matter what
To Tom, who gave me the opportunity to be a coach and reignited my passion for tennis again, I’ll owe you forever.
My Family, I love you all.
My sister, the necessary pain in my back side that I always want in my life.
To Mum, who has been the person to help me through my teenage years and endure my pain when I couldn’t. I will always be your little boy and I love you.
To Dad, who I owe the most to. You are the reason I strive to be who I want to be in my life. I always go on court to coach tennis with you in my mind and to make you proud. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with tennis if it wasn’t for you and you’re my hero.

As a coach, you don’t aim for perfection, you aim for your greatness.