Mary Pat is:
1. A true student of the game and a student of life.
2. One who understands the “give and take” between teacher and student. i.e. learning from each other.
3. One who understands that learning be it in the realm of tennis, be it in our own life experiences, is an on going process in which we are always striving to become better
4. One possessing telepathic abilities. M.P.’s open mind allows her to receive and emit experiences and an understanding between the coach to student and the student to coach.
5. The first coach who got me to trust myself, my own ability, to let go and drop my defenses so I could be more receptive and open to learning by listening, seeing and feeling
6. By “getting into the student’s head” she helped me initiate a gradual process of getting rid of the “extra baggage” many of us bring to the court that we are not often even aware of at first.
7. One who has 360-degree vision. You could be playing a match four courts away or more and M.P. would see something you were doing or not doing. Uncanny!
8. One who knows how to keep the game simple and relate it to our own personal knowledge, experience, and terms. She could break it down in a manner that made sense to us, give us a key word that helped our minds and bodies to comprehend the concept, see it and most importantly for me, to FEEL it. Then we could build on these basic fundamentals, while always going back to them.
9. A coach who always makes it fun; and enjoys the process herself; and she has taught us to enjoy the process–the pushing ourselves, the exertion and on-going effort, something she has always done in her own life–see how far you can go, take on the challenge. Know yourself and know your student. WE have learned from her the joy in the pain of maximum effort.
10. One who has the ability to connect to a student no matter what age, level, gender, personality or ability.
11. One who is neither judgmental nor arbitrary, i.e. “My way and what I say is the only way.” M.P. has always been patient and willing to explain the “Why?” to me. She can diffuse my frustration and conflict and if necessary at times lead step by step. Never has she ever become angry or impatient. On the contrary, her encouragement got me through some difficult times. She seemed to understand my “history”; and worked with me to overcome negative influence in my personal life. That is how I came to trust her and then myself because she believed in me.
12. The coach in my life who became the turning point for me in my learning curve, because somewhere along the way I had become self-conscious and afraid to make a mistake. I had lost that freedom of letting go and allowing my ability free rein. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Mary Pat helped me get back to a point in time where I started trusting myself, my body, my own ability to learn and thus get better.
13. A coach who is always herself looking to improve and develop her own self-awareness, which transfers to her awareness of her students so that she is continually redeveloping refining her teaching strategies, methods, techniques. M.P. gets it that tennis represents an ever changing form of energy much like our own lives and the world we live in.