What It's Like Having A Bad Tennis Coach In High School
Start writing a post

To The Coach Who Broke Me, I Win

Thank u, next.

To The Coach Who Broke Me, I Win
Annie Mantei

Eighth grade. I was offered a spot on my school's varsity tennis team. It was my absolute dream and such an honor. I was so dedicated to tennis and had an electrifying passion in me for the sport. I was ecstatic to be given the offer.

I ended up humbly declining the offer, however, for a few different reasons. I was disappointed I wasn't going to be on the team but it really ultimately was for the best. I ended up playing first singles and was undefeated that year! Even though I missed out on being a part of the varsity season, I was proud of myself for all of my accomplishments in my last year of modified tennis.

The second that season ended, I started "training" for my first year on varsity (our school's tennis program wasn't very big so there was no junior varsity team, just varsity). I was so encouraged by all I had done that past season and was looking forward to be moving on up to varsity. All my excitement fueled me to practice and work hard for my first season of varsity tennis.

My teammates and I

I was practicing every single week in the winter and multiple times a week once the warm weather arrived. I literally lived and breathed tennis leading up to my first varsity practice. In fact, I was playing so much, and around two weeks before varsity practices were to begin. I noticed my back was bothering me.

It was a weird feeling. I had never felt it before. It was hard to explain but I had this terrible sharp pain in my lower back. It started off pretty mild and I just thought to myself that maybe I had been sleeping on my back differently. It was manageable pain but it was pain nonetheless. As I said, I hadn't ever felt pain like this so I wasn't sure what was going on. I went to my first practice and was so excited. I had a new coach and a new team that I was really looking forward to working with! I braided my hair that morning, I got all dressed up in my favorite tennis skirt, I was raring to go.

The practice went OK with my back until we got to practicing our serves. I began to practice and my back just went out. I felt like I couldn't move anymore. I could barely walk. I had to sit the rest of practice out.

My parents and I were obviously extremely concerned. I was 15 years old, why was I having back problems? I went to the doctor the next day who couldn't come up with a conclusion on what happened but decided to take me out of tennis for the time being untilI felt better again and decided to start me with physical therapy. I was devastated I couldn't play anymore but the pain was so unbearable that I really just wanted to get better no matter what it cost me.

When I told my coach what had happened and that I was going to have to sit out until I recovered or figured out what was going on, he was upset, to say the least. In fact, he was furious.

He scolded me for going to the doctor and for "failing the team." He told me that "going to the doctor was a mistake and when you are hurt, you need to go to the athletic trainer, not the doctor."

Yes! That is what you do if you get hurt during the middle of a game, but if you have a potentially life-changing injury, why would you hold off going to the doctor and seeking legitimate medical advice?

Hearing those words after telling a trusted adult who is supposed to be a role model about an injury is gut-wrenching.

I tried to ignore his hurtful words but they stuck with me. But I still was so excited and dedicated to tennis and the team that I decided I wasn't going to focus on his remarks, I just wanted to get better.

I started physical therapy and after multiple sessions, there was no improvement. My therapist advised me to stop coming in and to try and seek alternate treatment. At this point, I was feeling discouraged. I wasn't getting better, missed the sport I loved so much, and still had to go to practice and watch all my teammates have fun. On top of all of that, my coach was still relentlessly making comments at me, in between all of the phone calls he was making to his new girlfriend and ignoring the team.

"You're not really that hurt."

"You're faking this all."

I couldn't believe what he was saying to me.

How can you accuse someone of something like that? He knew how much I loved playing and saw me practicing at the courts all throughout the summer. He knew that this was real but was upset he had lost what he called "a crucial asset to the team".

Clearly, I was upset, too. But I was becoming even more upset with his words and (what became clear as I was sitting the bench while I was out for my back) his neglect for the entire team. If he wasn't making a rude comment at me, he was on the phone with his girlfriend.

After some time, my mom suggested I go to the chiropractor. We had tried what seemed like everything and this was the last treatment we hadn't done.

I walked in that office in pain and left without any at all. Turns out, my entire skeleton was completely out of alignment after all of the tennis I was playing in the preseason. The pain was caused by my pelvis shifting (from all of the serves I practiced) and rubbing up against the muscles in my lower back.

I was finally back and feeling better! I was so relieved and excited. I was able to finish the season and still play about a third of the games left.

I was able to get through the season but was still scarred by all of the verbal abuse I endured from my coach. He said demeaning comments, ignored his responsibility as a coach and frankly, had absolutely no right being in the position he was in. I was dreading having to return the next season and playing for him.

As time passed and I was trying to figure out what my tennis future would look like (not knowing if I was going to continue to play for the terrible excuse of a coach I had), my coach's basketball season started. He was also the girls' varsity basketball coach at the school and the season was underway.

About two weeks in, word got out that the girls' team wasn't having the best season — thanks to him. He was doing the same thing to them that he did to me and my team. He canceled practices, talked to his girlfriend on the phone when he did ever decide to have practices and targeted girls on the team. Well, this didn't last long. Those girls fought back. They took him down. He ended up "receiving a job offer another school." He left his teaching position and coaching jobs mid-year.

I felt like I had a new lease on life when I found out about this. I was so excited I was going to have a new coach and felt re-energized.

My NEW coach helping my doubles partner and I through one of the hardest matches I ever played. We won!!

Fast forward to my senior year. I played on the tennis team for the rest of my high school career. It was so much fun and exactly what high school sports is meant to be like.

It finally came time to apply to colleges. I had my eyes set on my dream school, Villanova University. Villanova was the only school I wanted to go to and if I didn't get in, I'm not sure what I would have done. Being a big college basketball fan, I knew about Villanova long before I began to think about college.

One thing I remember about considering Villanova is that my coach always wore Villanova apparel.

Nova was his team.

He always wore Nova gear.

Seeing him wear Villanova everything was what first put it in the forefront of my mind.

When I began to fill out the application, one of the essay prompts was, "Describe a time when your mind and heart were in conflict."

I knew exactly what I was going to write about: wanting to quit tennis because of my horrible coach and the verbal abuse and neglect he gave me and my teammates but having so much love for tennis in my heart.

I wrote that essay.

I expressed all my raw feelings attached to what happened.

And I got in.

I don't know exactly what it was about my application but my essay about my coach and what he put me through was part of what got me into my dream school. And his dream school.

I used to feel so confused about why I got hurt and had to deal with him. But it finally makes sense. Who knows if I would have gotten into Villanova without that essay.

So, to the coach who broke me, thank you. Thank you for all of the hurt you gave me and all the damage you did. Without you, who knows if I would be where I am today — at OUR dream school.

Report this Content
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments