Excellence in coaching earns Maine’s Glider USPTA Award
PORTLAND, ME - Authentic and selfless are two words that describe longtime Maine tennis coach Gavin Glider. Glider is authentic in the way he teaches and coaches – always wanting to give the most and the best to his clients or players. He is also selfless in the way he dedicates his time and gives back to the tennis community. Glider does it all and expects nothing because he simply loves his job, his clients, the community, and tennis. However, this year Glider did get something in return – a distinguished recognition and a new job.
This past October, the United States Professional Tennis Association of New England (USPTA New England) awarded Glider the Regional Tennis Professional of the Year. This esteemed award is typically only given out to one or two tennis professionals a year in New England. Glider was pleasantly surprised when being notified of this recognition because he did even know he had been nominated for the award.
“I had no idea I was even nominated until I got a voicemail. I was not expecting it at all. It felt really good knowing that somehow I had enough impact on someone either as a coworker or as a coach that they felt compelled to take the time to fill out a nomination application for me. It’s very validating and very gratifying,” said Glider.
Glider also talked about what the award meant to him.
“To me, it’s just a signifier that what I am doing is working and I should keep not only doing that thing but continuing to make that thing better. It’s a confirmation that I have had a positive impact on at least one person and that what I do every day has meaning,” he said.
In addition to winning Regional Tennis Professional of the Year, Glider also secured a new job at Apex Racquet & Fitness Club, in Portland. Of the tennis clubs in Maine, Apex is one of largest in terms of public clubs. This year, Glider will be giving private lessons, teaching some adult clinics, and also work at the junior academy alongside tennis director Mike Hill and others.
“Apex is a really fantastic club and I am super excited to have the opportunity to teach here. One thing I hope to do is have some positive impact on the developing competitive players at Apex and be able to really help them with my own knowledge base,” said Glider.
Not only will Glider be teaching and helping players at Apex, but he will also be coaching and helping to develop accomplished tennis players at Portland High School during the 2022 spring tennis season. This will be Glider’s third year coaching both the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams. Coaching both teams plus being a full-time tennis professional at Apex might seem like a lot of work, but for Glider, it’s a passion.
“What got me into coaching versus why I do it now has completely changed in the last 14 years. At first I started coaching to make money in graduate school and that’s where I fell in love with it. I was able to take this thing that I knew how to do and give someone a really great experience on a tennis court for an hour and it was the best feeling,” he said. “For me, coaching is very mentally stimulating. In tennis, as a coach, it gets you thinking quickly and analytically because it’s a constant game of adaptation. I love it because my client is constantly being presented with some type of challenge and my job is to help solve that challenge while making it enjoyable.”
In addition, Glider has found coaching in Maine to be extremely rewarding.
“I think high school tennis in Maine provides a different opportunity than other places that are extremely competitive. In places where junior tennis is competitive such as Florida or Philadelphia, more emphasis is put on winning and tournaments and with that comes significant pressure. However in Maine, most people participate in high school tennis because it’s fun,” he added. “What’s awesome is that I am exposing so many people to tennis who maybe wouldn’t be interested if it took place in a more competitive atmosphere. I love coaching Maine high school tennis because I get to share a skill that they can then use for the rest of their lives.”
As Glider has experienced and moved between various jobs and even states (originally growing up in South Florida and then moving to Maine in 2008 after coaching a tennis summer camp), his knowledge of the game and passion for sharing that knowledge have only grown. . Currently, Glider has amassed 11,600 followers on Instagram and that number grows by the day. Glider works as a global social media ambassador for Wilson and Luxilon and has been able to experience a number of unique opportunities through his partnerships.
“Being a global social media ambassador for Wilson and Luxilon has presented me with a number of very unique opportunities such as getting to hit with a lot of different professional tennis players, social media shoots, meeting players, getting access to products, playtesting things before they have been released, and travel opportunities,” said Glider.
In addition to the opportunities he’s been given, Glider has also been given a platform.
“What Instagram has provided me is a platform of followers that I can help with tennis. I receive an exceptional amount of DMs a day asking for tennis advice or if they can show me a clip of them playing. Just knowing I am able to have an impact on people from all over the world that may not have access to anyone with any type of tennis knowledge is such an amazing feeling,” he said.
With his passion and knowledge of the game and new opportunities in front of him, this is just the beginning for Glider. He hopes to carry this momentum to Apex, Portland High and wherever tennis takes him in 2022 and beyond.