Q&A with Coach Tracy Houk
Over the next several months, I will be publishing Q&As with tennis coaches from around the globe. I hope you will find these articles useful as you navigate the world of junior tennis. For me, it’s helpful to hear how other coaches do things and what their philosophies are regarding competing, training, parental involvement, college, the pro tour, etc. Each coach is so different and has a different set of experiences to share with our children and with us.
Today, I’m so pleased to introduce Tracy Houk. A San Francisco native, Tracy grew up playing tennis on the courts in Golden Gate Park. Her playing experience started in the junior 12s division playing tournaments all over Northern California through the 18s extending her play to the National level. Tracy played Junior College tennis before going on the Women’s Professional Tour, reaching a ranking of #324 in singles, before injuries kept her from continuing. She started teaching at the San Francisco Tennis Club then started playing tournaments on the National Senior Women’s tour. Tracy has currently won over 15 National titles in singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles. She also has two ITF World Championship Titles and held the # 1 World ranking in Women’s 35 singles. She was inducted into the Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. A big thank you to Tracy for taking time out of her busy life to share her thoughts with ParentingAces!
PA: What is your current role in the Tennis World?
TH: I am a tennis professional at Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim Club in San Francisco, CA. I work with adults and kids of all ages and levels. I also take juniors to tournaments where I chart and videotape their matches. I work on the mental/strategy part of their game. I also speak and run clinics at other clubs for leagues interested in learning to be better doubles team players.
PA: What is your philosophy on coaching juniors?
TH: Be a good listener. Build trust. Communication. These all lead to a healthy relationship for both teacher and student.
PA: How, specifically, do you build trust and communication with the kids you train?
TH: I sit them down and have a heart to heart talk with them, going over their goals and our expectations as a team. I make myself available to them for any questions they have or answers they need.
PA: If you could tell tennis parents one thing, what would it be?
TH: As long as your child wants to keep playing, love them, support them, have patience with them. And let me do the rest !!
Again, a big thank you to Tracy! If you have questions you’d like to ask, please put them in the Comments box below – I will be happy to forward them to her.