I have started interviewing past elite athletes to discover their insights on their life after sport. In particular, they are being asked how they made the transition beyond elite sport. Here is an interview with WTCA founder Sarah Stone
1. Name: Sarah Stone
2. Current Occupation: CEO WTCA www.wtcatennis.org
3. Tell us a bit about your self (i.e. your background, where you grew up and where you are now).
I grew up in Melbourne Australia I relocated to the United States after I stopped playing and was interested in pursuing a career in coaching college tennis. I did that for two seasons and realized it was not exactly what I was looking for so I went back into private coaching. From there I had the idea of starting the women’s Tennis Coaching Association and have not looked back. I have been in the USA for 10 years now and I am also an American citizen. I currently live in Irvine California.
4. What age did you finish playing sport? 21
5. Did you choose to retire or not?
Yes I sustained an injury to my back and foot once those injuries had healed I would have been able to return to the tour but I realized I did not have the unwavering desire and passion that it takes to play at the top of tennis so I decided to put my energy into coaching.
6. What was your best sporting performance?
Playing at the grand slams
7. What are you most proud of doing in your life up until now?
My continued commitment to personal growth and serving others.
8. Who are the mentors that have inspired you and what important lessons have you learned from them?
I have had many along the way most of the time as a traveling tennis player without that much money you get to stay with some wonderful people. There are a few that really stand out those other people who really helped me navigate some very difficult times in my 20s. Marilynn and Julien Cahn are two very special people to me!
9. Has there ever been times you have questioned yourself and your purpose?
I often question myself and my purpose I think introspection is something very important. I like to examine things and be creative look honestly at my life and ways in which I can grow as a person.
If so, what got you through?
I never felt sad about it sometimes I overthink things but I’m more than happy to go through the process and continue on the journey of the ups and downs. I always follow my passion so I don’t really feel like I am ever off track because everything happens for a reason.
10. Is there a significant quote or saying by which you live your life by? If so, what is it?
“Virtuosity in life is singing out not necessarily singing well”
11. What was the most important lesson you learned from being an athlete?
Resilience, overcoming adversity and commitment
12. What do you wish you did more of when you were competing?
I had a more enjoyable experience. I think the people around you a very important I had some difficult circumstances. I don’t think it’s easy to be coached by a parent. I also wish that many of the coaches that I had, as I grew up through the Federation, understood me as a person. Embrace the fact that I wanted to ask a lot of questions because I was curious rather than shut me down.
13. What are your top 3 tips for making the transition to life beyond elite sport?
Know your truth, then I don’t think it’s a difficult transition your results or ranking do not define you as a person athletes are so much more than this but never lose focus of who you truly are.