Ryan, tennis coach

Ryan (right) pictured with author-photographer Jamie Kronick

When I was between the ages of 12 and 16, I spent hundreds of hours on and off the tennis courts with my coach, Ryan.

Tennis can just be tennis, but Ryan’s coaching introduced me to values that are so much bigger than the sport itself. Values that can and should be extrapolated and practiced in many aspects of life.

Ryan focused heavily on the mental aspects of the game. The lessons he instilled have continued to serve me in every area of my life, most notably in my drumming and photographic careers.

I reconnected with Ryan this past December. We had been out of contact since I had quit tennis over 13 years ago. Over a catch-up-on-life dinner, I picked his brain about his coaching strategies. As he spoke, he articulated some fundamental beliefs that I have as my own. I was able to see that I, in fact, likely learned these principles from Ryan.

One example of a principle he instilled in me would be reframing. A simple “I can’t” would be challenged with a question of, “If you could, how would you?” Once the hypothetical was answered, suddenly the “I can’t” became absurd. The answer was there. It was there all along.

Being able to apply these types of lessons is the result of having spent so much of my youth with a coach who possessed a view of the bigger picture. Tennis isn’t life. But the lessons in tennis are.

I am endlessly grateful to Ryan. The values he instilled in me have helped me become the person I am today. They’ve served as a foundation for me to live a creative, fulfilled life as I graduated from a competitive tennis player to a professional drummer and photographer.

By Jamie Kronick, Ottawa, Ontario

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