Coach’s Corner: Whitney Collins-Thompson

Coach’s Corner: Whitney Collins-Thompson

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic is proud to sponsor the weekly “Coach’s Corner”, featuring a high school coach from women’s athletics in the local community. Since 1974 the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic has served the local area for orthopaedic problems and musculosketal issues. The sports medicine program has team physicians for local high schools which provide sports physicals and urgent care for athletes. Click here for details on SPORTS INJURY URGENT CARE.

This week’s “Coach’s Corner” feature is Whitney Collins-Thompson. She is the head coach of the Sacred Heart tennis team.

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1) What is your history with athletics in your personal life?

Athletics have been a part of my entire life. I began competitive swim when I was about 6 years old and did that until the age of 13. I then switched to tennis and had the privilege of playing in college, traveling as a hitting partner on the ATP tour, playing on teams in New York even throughout my pregnancies, and now continuing to play on competitive teams here.

2) How did you obtain your current coaching position? 

When we decided to move back to Kentucky, I had SHA tennis on my mind. I reached out to Donna Moir the AD at SHA and it just so happened that the former coach was retiring. Timing truly is everything!

3) Who do you look up to?

I look up to both of my parents. My mom raised four kids and still does everything for us as well as the eight grandbabies and four in-laws. She is such an example of strength and selflessness. My dad is one of those people who just always does the right thing even when it isn’t the easiest thing. He has such a love and respect for my mom and family. He has worked his entire life to give our family everything we need, want, and more.

4) What are two primary goals for your team this season?

Number one I would like for us to grow together, and becoming familiar and comfortable in our new roles. That is key to any success on the court. And second, I would love to see us take home a state title..

5) What is the hardest part of coaching for you?

I think the hardest part is finding a balance between being aware of players’ emotions but not letting those emotions hinder constructive criticism and progress.

6) What qualities do you hope to instill in your players that they can
take with them to their families, careers, and society?

I hope to instill hard work, dedication, and teamwork in each of my players. I feel that those are qualities that will help them in all areas of their lives.

7) How do you motivate your athletes to work even harder? 

Since I am new, I had the girls fill out a little “get to know you” sheet so that I can learn more about them off the court. I had them write their goals for themselves and the team for this season. By helping them to focus and achieve those goals, I think motivation will come as we all work together.

8) What is one mistake you’ve made in your coaching career, and what did you learn from it?

When I was coaching in San Francisco, I relied on information from the former coach, the parents, and the AD in making line up decisions at the start of the season. The first few matches were rocky because things had changed from the last season and it wasn’t taken into consideration. It took me a bit to realize that while it was helpful to listen to the advice of others, ultimately I needed to make decisions based on what was best for the current team.

9) How do you handle criticism from parents, athletic director, the
media and others? 

I try not to take it personal which as an emotional person is not always easy! But I think over the last decade I have really tried to separate the words from the emotions and know that most criticism comes from a good place and from people who want to help me better myself. Plus, my kids have thrown some tough criticism my way making what others have to say far less painful.

10) What is the greatest philosophy you live by?

I try to live my life with little to no regrets. Every decision I make was what   I wanted to make in that moment/season of my life. Every decision of my life has shaped me into who I am today so I really try to embrace that and move forward.

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