It started with two players and a coach – Robbie Manzano

It started with two players and a coach – Robbie Manzano

This popped up in my Facebook memories today.  It started on this day 7 years ago with two players and one coach.

As I move through my busy day I could not help but reflect over the last 7 years. There has been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  There is a physical and mental element but what really ages you is the emotional journey that you go through every week.

Running a business is not always pretty even. When everything seems to look great from the outside you are expected to be perfect in your clients eyes,  be Superman for your staff and solve problem A to Zee within days.

You deal with thousands of people with different perspectives and goals… These continually change so you are expected to change your life to make things work.

Oh, did I mention it is a 7 days a week role… Ask any business owner – holidays is work, just not on site.

Making a decision will benefit some people but it will be an issue for someone else.  Laying down the law will make things run more smoothly but annoy some people.

Letting things slide will give the perspective to others that you don’t care.  It is a lose-lose but you continue to put one foot in front of the other.

I did sign up for this and I would not change it for anything but boy its made me age beyond my years – although I don’t look it (maybe I have you be the judge).

As mentioned this photo above was the first lesson of the Tennis Canberra journey (even though it was not called Tennis Canberra back then).  These memories give me all the motivation to continue to teach, lead and learn.

I have change as a person, I don’t hide it.  I am way more serious, I have a shorter fuse and strive to be better.  I sometimes do things the hard way and think old school methods are the answer.  I really believe technology enabled us to grow to what we are today but has stopped people from learning through the grind – this is a story for another day.

Although it may sound a little depressing, I am happy. This is just a mere reflection on the journey of a small business continuing to grow from a picture taken 7 years ago.

Over the COVID shutdown, our team has survived but not without our issues.  I am so proud of our coaches but the changes in our business, the loss of staff  has amplified the small issues that may of been present pre-Covid.

In a weird way it has given me a fresh set of eyes and motivation to use this opportunity to make things better.

I love working with our team because of our diverse way of thinking.  Yes, it may clash with our common goal but I think it will only make for a better product moving forward – or it may come crashing down.

If I were to do everything myself, what we currently have would be impossible. I am grateful for the Tennis Canberra team, from the casual coach who does 1 or 2 hours a week to our full-time coach managers who help me everyday.

I do not base decisions for just myself anymore but I always have my coaches I mind.  It is additional stress but as I said I signed up for it.

I get a kick out of my tennis family achieving big goals and I give them every opportunity to fulfil their personal dreams as I am living mine (it’s not perfect but I am happy).

I just look back at all the great people I’ve met. I’ve seen some kids that started 6 or 7 years a go grow up.  There has been instances where I’ve been at a bar and a random person has come up to me saying “you were my tennis coach”.  Now I understand how primary teachers feels- respect.

On behalf of our Tennis Canberra family, those who have experienced some memories with us I hope they keep you warm this Winter.  There are many more memories to come and I can always find comfort in our humble community.

Look after one another,


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