ARMONK, N.Y. - Around the time Greg Johnstone was set to apply to colleges in his native country, England, he had a realization. He wanted to play tennis, and he wanted to do it in America.
“In England there are no options to play tennis other than going professional or going to a university,” said the now-White Plains resident. “I started to get calls from American coaches who wanted to recruit me.”
Nine years later, Johnstone has found his niche in coaching. He manages Armonk Indoor's International Tennis Academy—a 30-week long instruction course where advanced tennis players can fine-tune their skills on the court.
“We set a goal for the program, and that was to base it on integrity and not cutting corners,” he said. “We wanted to train the right way.”
A cornerstone of Johnstone’s coaching is also to offer his players constructive criticism so they understand the areas they need to improve upon.
“We are always honest with them. If they’re struggling, we let them know,” he said.
That plan has proven to be effective. Since Johnstone started managing the program a year and a half ago, more and more students have signed up.
Johnstone has also been able to develop a relationship with his students, which he said has been one of the many rewards of his job.
“I’m able to offer kids a little bit of life perspective, and the older ones can confide in me differently than they might a school teacher,” Johnstone said. “I can be an adult that’s a friend as well as a coach.”