The student athlete summer grind


Photo provided by Nabil Fawaz

HOT SUMMER SUN: Senior Nabil Fawaz helps young players hone their tennis skills.

Rocky Gao, Staff Writer

Unlike the typical academic activities for students, the hustle for athletes requires no breaks regardless of their seasons. Senior Nabil Fawaz spent his past summer mornings coaching children’s tennis at the Orange County Great Park.

“I was surprised at how excited the kids were to learn,” Fawaz said. “A lot of kids really wanted to play against me.”

Fawaz said he was motivated by a strong sense of engagement and interaction not only between the children but also around many tennis communities. This motivated him to maintain an inclusive and warm atmosphere among his pupils throughout his coaching experience.

“I try not to have one kid sit out, so that they all can not feel bored,”

Fawaz said. “I was constantly changing it up, trying to not only teach them how to play tennis, but also to keep it fun for them.”

Throughout his tennis career, Fawaz experienced many challenges that tested his credibility as a coach. Fawaz claims that he learned a lot and overcame many obstacles that threatened the quality of his coaching.

“I think communication skills, being loud and clear, are very important,” said Fawaz. “A lot of the coaching has to do with improvising because sometimes things don’t go your way and you have to figure things out quickly.”

Fawaz first got into tennis when he was 8 years old, after watching it on his television. His personal heroes include professional tennis players Roger Federer and John Isner.

“When I was little I tried sports such as soccer and basketball but I never felt included,” Fawaz said. “I turned to tennis since your success depends on your own engagements.”

Part of the appeal comes from its inclusive nature. Though it is a solitary sport, the emphasis tennis places on personal achievement has allowed tennis to connect people in a more equitable way than other sports have.

“Tennis has been a huge part of mylifeasit’smademewhoIamand it’s helped me by meeting new people and getting a job,” Fawaz said.

Fawaz makes sure to spend extra time helping children who seem to be falling behind. He strives to create an environment where his athletes desire to learn and want to come back after each practice.

When asked if he had any advice for new tennis coaches, he quoted American actor Shia LaBeouf.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”