Jelena Gencic: Novak Djokovic’s First Tennis Coach

What a wonderful role model for women who coach!  In this episode of 60 minutes, the world’s #1 ranked male tennis player shares his experience as a child working with his coach, Jelena Gencic.  What I found most interesting was her focus on his development as a person in addition to his development as a world class athlete.

And particularly moving is their reunion at the end of the episode.  It is easily apparent that they share a wonderful coach-athlete bond.;storyMediaBox

The episode is about 14 minutes….a good pick me up!


Recognizing differences

Photo by Catherine M. LaDuke

Being a teenage female athlete can be tough.  There are a lot of pressures placed on these girls; pressures that are presumed to be there from peers and adults, and pressures that these girls place on themselves.  It is no surprise that these pressures tend to build when things don’t quite go their way; and, despite their maturity, their heart, and their decision to persevere, they are still teenage girls and criticism and adversity are hard to accept at times.

It was not until recent conversations with some of my athletes that I began to think about how differently a female teenage athlete views being coached by a male and a female.  Over the past couple of weeks this subject has come up with some of my girls as they have begun to process and vocalize their feelings about our basketball season.  While they like what our male head coach has taught them and admit they have learned a great deal from him, these young ladies have commented that they feel like he pushes them in a way that can be too hard at times.  However, as I talk through things with these girls I quickly point out that I am actually the one who pushes them harder and expects more out of them.  While our head coach vocalizes his expectations and gives commands, I am actually the one who sometimes raises my voice and gives sharper commands.

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