Serving Up Faith: Tennis coach aces both coaching and spiritual roles


Daniel Sullivan

Head tennis coach Andrew Groene and his team celebrate a runner-up finish at KSHSAA 4A regionals on May 6.

Daniel Sullivan, Contributer

For coach Andrew Groene, coaching tennis is not just about teaching the game but also about inspiring and motivating his students to become champions in life. 

As the head tennis coach, he incorporates faith-based teachings into his coaching methods for both girls and boys tennis teams. By integrating lessons on perseverance, self-discipline and teamwork, Groene provides his students with the tools they need to succeed both on and off the court.

“Faith allows a foundation to go off of,” Groene said. “The goal is to be positive, but the goal is also to be truthful, understanding and you don’t want to sugarcoat things. Things aren’t always going to go the way you want, but you should enjoy what you are doing.”

Groene has been coaching tennis for over 10 years, and he has seen first-hand how incorporating faith into his coaching affects the way he approaches teaching tennis skills to his students.

 “My role as a faith-based mentor has molded into one with my role as a tennis coach,” Groene said. “In tennis, it’s unique as you’re one-on-one or two-on-two, but it’s individuals vs. individuals. You’re responsible for your own actions on the court.”

When faced with difficult coaching situations,  Groene relies on his faith to guide him in making decisions. 

“Faith helps me through everything,” Groene said. “I have become a much calmer person and more reflective-I listen and think about it before I answer.”

Groene also incorporates prayer into his coaching sessions with his students.

“We pray before matches and have prayers at the end of practice,” Groene said. “It’s a way for us to come together as a team and focus on what’s important.”

Groene measures success in his coaching not just in terms of tennis skill development but also in terms of faith-based growth. 

“I don’t know if I get to see the faith stuff, but I’ve been very blessed with the athletes we have,” Groene said. “I don’t have to worry about them doing things other schools have to worry about.”

In the end, for Groene, coaching tennis is about more than just teaching the game. It’s about helping his students develop the skills they need to succeed both on and off the court. 

“How kids grow, in their tennis game and maturity, demeanor, in willingness to do things – that has nothing to do with my coaching and more with kids’ growth,” Groene said.