A decades-long passion for tennis

Written by Isaiah Joven Yip; Artwork by Tanya Shroff.

This article is part of Active Parents� Meet the Coaches series, brought to you in collaboration with Republic Polytechnic, School of Management and Communication. 

Meet Tahar Ahmad, a former tennis player in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and a coach of over 30 years. Having been a freelance coach for the majority of his career, he had his fair shares of ups and downs. Being a freelance coach doesn�t guarantee one with food on the table, as one would be in constant fear of a client simply cancelling on you. However, nothing can stop his burning passion to teach kids the beauty of tennis, in all its glory.

Having coached hundreds of players over his career, his favourite moment as a coach cannot be attributed to a specific moment. However, anytime he sees his student pull off a move that he had taught, the sight of it would warm his heart. His passion for the sport has influenced his four children, who all followed in their father�s footsteps by picking up tennis at a young age. Considering that he often took them out to play tennis together on the weekends, it is no one�s surprise that the children have grown to love the sport as well.  

Tahar lives by the quote, "do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do" by John Wooden, and constantly applies it to his teachings. Additionally, he never allows himself to compare his players to others as it only makes them feel inadequate.

"When we compare, we tend to compare their worst to everyone else�s best. Comparing will distract them from what they can do. I strongly believe that it is okay for players to make mistakes, learn from them, and focus on just working hard," said Tahar.

He also has the above-mentioned quote pinned on his fridge, as a daily reminder for himself and his children.

An advice he has for aspiring coaches and parents? 

"Always be mindful of what you say and the way you present yourself. When children see you, they can tell if you're being genuine or not. It is also very important to ensure that you can adjust to your kids and their differing needs, in order to allow them to maximise their potential.� 

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