Brisbane, Australia, 18 November 2020 | Vivienne Christie

Originally sent to tennis lessons to gain some much-needed sporting perspective, an ultra-competitive Adam Carey quickly fell in love with the game. Having since played and coached across the world, Carey is now helping the next generation achieve their dreams as Tennis Australia’s National Development Squad Coach in Queensland. 

Tell us about your own start in the game?

I started playing team sports as a young boy. My parents tell me they got sick and tired of me complaining and moaning about my team-mates not being good enough or the reasons for losing. So to teach me a lesson, they put me into tennis as it was an individual sport. It meant I couldn’t blame anyone else for the losses, it was on me. So I went to tennis up the road to the Fancutt Tennis Centre (in Brisbane), near where I live. I played there until I left for the USA to attend college.

What inspired you to become a tennis coach?

The hook for me was the opportunity to continue to be around a high level of tennis and competition. I had finished travelling and got offered a job working in the USA collegiate system as an assistant coach. I was still playing and training, so the ability to stay around that high-level competitive environment while learning to coach, recruit and everything else that went into the sport at that level was amazing.

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

Creating an individual experience for each player. Tennis is an individual sport, so it’s important that when you’re training you see improvement and your game developing. In my role, gaining an understanding of the player’s journey and more importantly, their coach’s vision for the player’s future is very important. With this information, you have a barometer from which you can evaluate and assist the players and coaches in attaining their goals.

How would you describe your coaching philosophy?

The relentless pursuit of continuous improvement in everything you do. From a practice perspective, this is about understanding how to get the best out of people while challenging them to push the dial and transform their games daily. In Queensland, our central theme in the national development squad is competition. We are not the player’s private coaches. So when the players come to our sessions, it’s about raising the bar so they are training the lessons they get from their private coaches in an intense and high-pressure environment. Hopefully this is tougher than the matches and tournaments they are preparing for.

What’s your most used phrase when coaching?

Compete. I am a very competitive person. When I played, it was about wins and losses. However, as I have developed as a coach it’s about teaching players to compete in everything they do. It’s less about wins and losses, and more about striving to improve yourself daily in every practice, meeting and situation.

As a player, what was the best advice you ever received from a coach?

No matter how bad the situation is, you have to find a way. There’s always a way to put pressure on your opponent and break them down.

What do you love most about tennis?

I love the individual development aspects of tennis. Competing and trying to improve every day as a player.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Tournaments and competition returning in this country and abroad for our juniors. Seeing our juniors competing again in domestic and international competition is essential to our junior pathway and I am excited to see players competing again against each other.

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> Hard work reaps rewards for Tom George

> Rafael Durek leading by example