Coach’s Corner: Todd Arterburn

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic is proud to sponsor the weekly “Coach’s Corner” article, 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.

The subject of this week’s feature is Todd Arterburn.

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

I have always been very big into athletics. Up until the age of ten I tried just about every sport and was usually pretty good at them.  At age 10 my parents pretty much made me narrow it down to one sport and since my best sport was tennis it made sense for me to continue playing it, so tennis became my full time sport.

For most of my junior career I was one of the highest ranked players in the state and in the southern region. I also attained national rankings and traveled all over the country to play tournaments, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, and Chicago to name a (very) few.

I attended the University of Louisville on a tennis scholarship and played all four years for Coach Kevin Walsh.  I finished my playing career at U of L in the top three for both career singles and doubles wins and won 178 Division 1 matches.

I don’t play much competitively anymore unless a friend or former teammate wants me to play a tournament every now and then.

2) How did you obtain your current coaching position?

I began teaching and coaching in 1997 in the Oldham County school district at Oldham County Middle and Oldham County High Schools.  When North Oldham High School opened in 2004, I decided to switch over to teach and coach on the North Oldham campus as this is the part of the county I was living in at the time and where my three children would be going to school there.  I was first hired at North Oldham as the girl’s tennis coach and then picked up the boy’s team a couple of seasons later when their coach, current North Oldham High School principal Craig Wallace, took an administrative position.

3. Who do you look up to?

My parents, who taught me the meaning of sacrifice.  When I was growing up, we were not wealthy, and I was playing a sport that takes quite a bit of money to learn and play.  They sacrificed for me, giving up things like vacations and new cars in order to pay for tennis equipment and traveling for tournaments.  It is through them that I learned that there are more important things in life than material things.  I have been able to use their example in my own life by giving up many of the same things they did.  My daughter, Kaeley Arterburn, shows Saddlebred horses and was the 2015 16-year-old World Champion and Triple Crown National Champion.  Showing Saddlebreds is not cheap.  We took our first vacation in six years this spring after Kaeley aged out and ended her junior career. Our sacrifice was well worth it.

While I don’t necessarily sacrifice vacations and new cars for my tennis teams, I try to give them something just as valuable, my time.  I’m 52 years old, so who knows how much of that I have left.

4) What are two primary goals you have/had for your team this season?

To improve their game by playing the best competition available and to have fun.  I feel we have accomplished both for the most part.  There have been plenty of tears this season but I feel we have bonded and become closer as a team this year more than we have in the past.

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

The hardest part about coaching to me is the helpless feeling I get when my players are struggling in a match and I can’t do anything about it.  Also, I dislike having to rank my players and divide them up into JV and Varsity according to their abilities.  It can hurt their feelings.

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

Honesty and integrity.  I will always be honest with my players even though it might be hard and hurt me to do so.  I will always do what I feel is right.  I hope my players recognize these qualities in me.

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

I don’t normally need to motivate my players to work hard.  They are very internally motivated.  If I ever do need to motivate someone, a good, honest talk usually does the trick.

8) What’s your favorite memory as a coach?  

I have been a high school tennis coach for over 20 years now so there are too many great memories to pick a favorite.  And, I think some of my best memories are yet to come.

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

Thankfully I have very supportive parents and a very supportive school administration.  I think most people realize I know what I am doing and will do what’s best for my players.  If I ever do get some criticism it’s normally because a parent thinks their child is better than they really are. It’s very normal for parents to think this.  I know I did when my kids were in school and playing on sports teams.  I just have to be honest with those parents and give them tips on how their child can improve.

10) What is the greatest philosophy you live by?

To be the best player and person you can be. Don’t worry about or try to be like anyone else.  Be who you are.