Eng Revered for Supportive Coaching Style
NEWTON, MA - Doug Eng is unlike any tennis coach you’ll ever meet. He is a student of the game, a mentor and an academic, and his uniquely remarkable resume has made him one of the most sought after coaches in New England.
The Boston-based Eng has more than 20 years of coaching experience and holds both USPTA and PTR Master Professional Certifications. He has earned two doctorate degrees (EdD & PhD), published hundreds of tennis and sports research articles, was a college coach and professor, academy director and is a sports science and mental training expert and a strength and conditioning coach.
While his students value his wealth and diversity of experience, what keeps them coming back is his continuous support for them as both players and people.
“I come from a more academic coaching background, so to me, total development is so important. You need to coach the whole person and help them understand where they are at and help them create their own pathway,” Eng said.
“Doug is a mentor to me, and our relationship has evolved a lot from just coach/student. He is not only a well-wisher but also almost a father figure for me,” said Westborough High senior Aryan Nijhawan, who will be playing tennis at Brandeis University in the fall. “I can talk to him about anything and I know he will be there for me when I need him. He has guided and helped me throughout my tennis career in many different ways.”
Eng, who coaches independently in and around Boston, combines his mental performance and sports science knowledge as a way to get the most out of his students. He stresses constant improvement and defines success as setting expectations high and trying your hardest to maximize your potential as a player.
“All the expertise that he brings to the table besides his on-court coaching is very important and helpful. Doug is not a regular coach. He will be there for you to help you propel and excel when you don’t even need him,” Nijhawan said. “No coach will be as interested in you as Doug will. He truly cares about you and your growth and he outworks himself to make sure his students succeed.”
One technique Eng has found successful and relatable is self-feedback. He often equates his lessons to video games, honing in on his athlete’s strongest traits and then gradually testing them as if they are completing levels.
“The most powerful reward system is intrinsic. This keeps them engaged and helps them better understand how and why they’re improving,” Eng said.
Eng is also a huge proponent of integrating technology into his lessons. From radar guns and racquet sensors to drones and video playback, Eng utilizes the latest resources to support his teaching.
“He uses a lot of detailed evidence and statistics to support his analysis of tactics and technique,” said Barathan Sundar, a high school senior from Southborough, MA who has trained with Eng since eighth grade. “As a fan of professional tennis myself, this makes his advice easy to follow and also really interesting to understand. Doug has the most in-depth knowledge of things like court geometry and movement patterns of anyone I've ever worked with.”
“Lots of the kids I work with are pretty smart and are going to science-based schools, so they get hooked on it. It sometimes helps that the feedback isn’t coming from my mouth but from the machines,” Eng said.
Like Nijhuwan, Sundar has also developed a unique relationship with Eng. The Caltech-bound Sundar had the opportunity to work side by side with Eng off the court.
“Since he's also an academic researching tennis/sport science with MIT and Lesley University, we worked on a series of research papers about optimizing lower body movement through certain exercise sequences,” Sundar said. “It's become pretty clear to me that Doug is not only incredibly intelligent, but is very good at clearly articulating how the different fields of science shape the sport.”
Eng has demonstrated time and time again that nothing is off limits when it comes to being a presence for his students. He has even shot college recruiting videos with drones, helped with SAT prep and created fitness and training plans for his students.
“Doug is extremely helpful and is always willing to answer any questions you have about anything,” said Eric Zhang, Barrington (RI) High senior will be playing tennis at Kenyon College in the fall. “As a player, I feel like there has never been a time where he doesn’t know the answer to a question I’ve asked. The amount of knowledge he possesses as a coach is absolutely incredible. I believe he is one of the best coaches in New England and even in the country.”
On top of it all, Eng has delivered free or heavily discounted coaching for countless students when necessary.
“So many kids come from less advantaged backgrounds, and if you can help them, by all means, help them,” he said. “My mission is to save parents money, lower their costs and not make them need to spend that much on tennis.”
Eng added, “My favorite part of all this is watching my students that find joy in everything they do. Tennis is supposed to be fun, and when it finally clicks and they feel like they’ve accomplished something, that’s very rewarding.”
Eng, whose father is from China, is part of our celebration of Asian American & Pacific Island Heritage Month. For more local and national AAPI Heritage month content, click here.
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