Sports Profile: Coach Elly

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Coach Elly talking to Becca Richison during match. Photo courtesy of Gail Sanders

Doug Elly, the new coach of both the women’s and men’s tennis teams at William Jewell College, is bringing his own passion for and love of the sport to the College. A prior friendship with a current Jewell student as well as an admiration for the mix of academics and athletics at the College attracted him to apply for the coaching position. Elly has been the tennis coach since the beginning of the spring 2019 semester and is already establishing his unique coaching style here at Jewell.

“The combination of critical thinking with higher education and athletics made it an easy decision. I am a huge supporter of ‘The Mind, Body, Spirit’ way of life. And William Jewell embodies the critical thinking approach,” Elly said.

Elly has been playing tennis since he was six years old and has had his own lustrous 50 year career. However, coaching provided Elly a new way to look at the sport he’s participated in for so long.

Coach Elly warming up with one of the players before a match – Photo courtesy of Gail Sanders

“I enjoy the study of the game, the diversity of styles in the game, the personalities, the different ways a player learns his/her craft, the tactics of the game. The game of tennis is a reflection of life for me,” said Elly.

That unique perspective adds to Elly’s love of the sport and translates to a motivation to make players the best they can be.

“What I like the most about coaching is helping someone achieve their goals. I like the preparation behind the practices and all the training that goes into making an expert tennis player,” Elly added.

However, Elly’s love of coaching does not mean it comes without its challenges. While he would like to see all his players succeed, Elly noted that a fair amount of failure is necessary for success.

“A challenging part of coaching is helping a player see and reach their potential. You want your players to experience success as well as failure. You can’t have one without the other. Getting your players to embrace this is not always an easy task or a smooth one,” said Elly.

Elly ended with advice that, while for tennis players, can translate to all athletes.

“What makes you a champion is your passion and effort, dedication, a relentless work ethic,” Elly said as he described an athlete that overcomes failure to reach success.

Elly’s first season of coaching at Jewell is almost complete. That season has entailed its fair share of adjustments and challenges but has eventually resulted in growth for both him and the team.

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