How could I have known that my two, broken down tennis courts in Victory Park was someday morph into the greatest athletic training facility that the world? How could I have imagined that those two courts, in North Miami Beach, Florida would one day lead to a training facility that would host 10 of the top tennis players in the world? How could anyone have predicted that those modest beginnings would one day become IMG Academies, training the finest athletes in the world, in nearly a dozen sports? Only a dreamer; someone who put no limits on his imagination! My life has been a series of opportunities; both seized and missed.
Imagine this: 1. I entered into teaching tennis by accident. I played college tennis but knew nothing about teaching the game. 2. I had to earn some money to support my wife and son while attending the University of Miami Law School. 3. I knew nothing about tennis and even less about how to teach it. 4. I learned by watching the most respected coach in the Miami area. His name was Slim Harbett and he taught at Henderson Park. 5. I listened intently and copied his techniques. Over time I developed my own teaching techniques and soon realized that I had an eye for talent and an even quicker eye for recognizing technical problems. 6. I learned that making small adjustments was much more effective than making macro changes. Students got better more quickly and didn’t suffer the anguish of a major disruption of their games.
To cite two examples, Cheryl Smith won the Girls USTA National 14s. Cheryl was a steady baseliner. Brian Gottfried preferred coming to the net and volleying and became one of the top world-ranked players.