JANUARY 2020

a strength. Now he creates innovative templates so that others can build on success and make it their own. 

 

He is most proud of winning an NCS Championship and becoming a published author for the first time. Once when trying to speak another language to a player, he thought he was asking if she was embarrassed, but he used the word for pregnant. That got sorted out later.

 

Bill Patton is Tennis Professional and is currently coaching his 10th different high school with 30+ years of experience in the field. He has coached at several schools with many great results. Mainly, the players had a great time maximizing their games and playing on the teams. He is now featured on coachtube.com, with three different tennis courses.

Bill and his business partner Styrling Strother have started USATennisCoach, LLC, which trains, certifies, mentors, and collaborates with high school tennis coaches.

Bill, a Maverick Leader, is co-founder of USATennisCoachl, a Catalyst for Omni Athlete: The Future of Sport, a PTR and MTM Professional.

Bill Patton

With the publication of The Athlete Centered Coach, Bill Patton is working hard to influence sports culture globally. There is a revolution going on in coaching, and Bill has always colored outside the lines, so he is ready for new lines to be drawn. He used to take his toys apart to see how they worked. He turned those experiences into 

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THE YEAR OF BEING AGREEABLE

I declare 2020 to be the year of being agreeable. This is my challenge to myself and anyone else who might take it. I will go into detail about what it means for me to be agreeable. Being agreeable doesn’t mean that we must always agree about everything. General Patton famously said, ‘If everyone is thinking the same, then someone isn’t thinking.’ We can, however, use a lot of great listening and questioning until we reach the best answers. That requires an agreeable nature. You and I may agree to disagree. Among the know-it-alls, there seems to be a distinct lack of grace in allowing someone to hold a divergent view. We are teammates. Our team is Tennis, and we are against the other sports for time and attention. We are treading water, losing, or slowly gaining ground, it depends on who is reporting. In my area: #highschooltennis, there is an uptick in participation. Do we work, talk and collaborate like teammates? Given the many splinters, walls, and estrangements in our game, its time to reverse those trends, coming together as a unit.
 

Getting to ‘yes’ takes time and effort, and agreeing on ‘no’ takes patience and grace. As for me, I will discuss with you until the cows come home, or until you lose interest.
 

Our sport faces many challenges from many different directions and either we pull together as a team to face them and win the day or we continue to fight each other and watch our sports slowly dwindle against its competitors. I choose to team up with Rich Neher, with you the reader, with any stakeholder who brings value to the game. A quote that has been attributed to many different people through the ages strikes well at the spirit of agreeability, and has appeared in many different forms:

 

It's amazing what you can accomplish when no one is worried about who gets the credit.
 

I first heard that quote in 1983 in the context of a local high school basketball team that did not have a star player, yet went on to win the state basketball championship. On that team and in our tennis industry each player plays a vital role in contributing to the overall success of that team. Part of the problem industrywide is that we rely too often on star players and too many people think that they are that person. We operate under the false assumption that a super brain trust will develop a dynamic program that will miraculously grow the sport. We probably don’t need to do much more than get along well and protect the integrity of the game. One thing that strikes me about the most successful people that I've met in my life is how humble they are. We all can assume that type of humility, they seem devoid of the superstar mentality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I humbly submit the challenge to everyone to make this the year that we get to yes. In the good book, there is an admonition that each one should do everything in their power to be at peace with every other one. Currently, our sport suffers from a tremendous amount of infighting, rivalries, agendas public and private, egocentric and profit motive egocentric and profit motives. Nobody is perfect. I have those too, but in 2020, I’m putting being agreeable with you first. My wife wishes for me to put our budget next. So with some measure of grace, we need to look past some of these things in order to find the areas in which we can have an agreement.


If we can agree that we love the sport more than the money we make from it, more than the prestige we gain from it, more than the power we can wield in it, or more than the working out of our own inner demons, then we can get
somewhere. Do you love the sport more than these things?

 

In the great quagmire of the ITF, The USTA, The USPTA, the PTR, the TIA, the manufacturers, the court constructors and any other viable organization that would seek to assist in growing the sport for their own gain, we need to come together to find value, unity, and a common purpose. Our mission is to grow the game. We have hard choices to make if we're going to make that happen. With the current state of disunity in the game, fragmented and duplicated efforts, we see a lot of wasted energy and frustration. Soren Kirkegaard, one of the most influential theologians and philosophers that has had an impact on Western thought into and through the 20th and 21st centuries was positive that our lives are made up of choices as the main deciding factor of our destiny. Along the way, the myriad of forks in the road where we choose this way or that creates an opportunity for us to become more intimate with God or the spiritual part of ourselves or more alienated. We become closer to the people who have the same interest, or more distant because we don't agree about the way forward. Even with ourselves we come to greater knowledge of our own motives and work to purify those or, we drop into defense mechanisms which allow us to become more self-absorbed pursuing personal and private agendas. Our choices along these lines are not seen on spreadsheets, or on PowerPoint presentations, but they can be seen in how we conduct a meeting and each precious contact with another stakeholder large or small.
 

It's very easy to read all of the above and tacitly agree with the sentiments that are so positive and say ‘I do that’, and so difficult to stop and alone for a moment find an area whereupon closer reflection we realize not only have we been wrong but been wrong for many years. I can point those out for you.
 

So I am dedicated to owning ‘my stuff’. I want to challenge you to own ‘your stuff’, but after a time of self-acceptance, move forward to embrace someone else. In this year of being agreeable, I will not be a gatekeeper. I will look to give opportunities to people who have not had them granted to them before. I will affirm those who have been disenfranchised. I will seek new opportunities for myself and hope that the gatekeepers allow me in. I will say yes to many things, I have said yes to writing books, I have said yes to The California Tennis Coaches Association. I have said yes to growing my YouTube channel, but I will say yes to as many invitations that I can afford to attend.
 

Another way that I will be agreeable is to look past what my eyes tell me, I will let the scales fall from my eyes. I see many times in groups of tennis people a sort of calculation being performed, where the person moving towards others in the crowd size up the relative value of those with whom they might speak. It's as though Steve has a +5 over his head. Charlize has a +10, and others have differing values from 4 to negative one. So the one in search of the highest value target ignores the lower level stakeholders in favor of higher value targets.
 

‘If’, the poem by Rudyard Kipling which famously has two lines that greet each player before they enter Centre Court at Wimbledon also contains these lines with people with whom you might be agreeable:


In the year of being agreeable it's this attitude of all hands on deck, all hands matter, every stakeholder is worthy of mutual and equal respect. Let's all agree that we love the game and work to remove every interference that harms the mission of growing it together. Be agreeable.
 

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

    If all men count with you, but none too much;

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