Regional Director of PCA, Trennis Jones, chatted with Otis Sadler who is the first Black tennis player to play at the University of Texas as well as Mal Washington, a 1996 Wimbledon finalist and 2009 Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for another installment of the Sports Can Battle Racism roundtable series.
Sadler and Washington talk about what lessons they learned from their tennis career, as well as, what needs to be done for a diverse group of kids to have more access to the sport of tennis. They left us with some valuable input that you might want to tuck away for future reference. Here are ten tips from Sadler and Washington offered throughout the session.
1. "You've got to want it. Much like life, you have to make decisions and you have to suffer the consequences of those decisions instantly. You have to get over those when you make a bad decision. You gotta learn how to deal with it on the fly. Just like in life thank goodness you are given second, third, fourth, fifth, and 800th opportunities to correct it." -Otis Sadler
2. Having a strong work ethic can help build confidence on and off the court. If you work and prepare hard enough you will be confident in your potential success moving forward. You can accomplish anything if you put the work in.
3. "The easiest thing in the world to do is to quit, but it's also the most of the most habit-forming things. If you would quit on a tennis court at a match in 12 and under or under 14 at your local club then it will start to become a habit in all aspects of life. So you don't quit. You try from start to finish." -Otis Sadler
4. "Be willing to fail, but when you fail be willing to come back and ask for more. Keep coming back and trying over and over again." - Mal Washington
5. "Too often we love to blame our lack of success and failures on other people and other situations around us and sometimes you gotta look in the mirror and say what could I have done differently to have a better outcome." -Mal Washington
6. The key to gaining a more diverse group of male tennis players is to give access to the sport at a higher level to match the interest drawn by other sports around them. Also, getting more kids over the 3 to 4-year mark of playing tennis.
7. If you want to make progress in diversity within non-traditional sports, then you should support your local grassroots programs.
8. "It's not going to go fast, but it will grow. Having the perseverance to do it and to stick to it is important."- Otis Sadler
9. Win or lose... it's back to work. If you win, there's always something you can improve on, and if you lose work on the thing that may have caused the loss. At the end of the day always strive to get better no matter what.
10. A great coach isn't just about making players better on the court, it's also about developing great people that can contribute to society off the court.
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