Boys Tennis, Sports, Spring Sports

Coach Feature: Gregory Wilkin

Andover Boys Tennis Head Coach Gregory Wilkin has been around the game of tennis for the vast majority of his life. Currently, he pursues his passion for tennis as a Professional Tennis Registry professional as well as the coach for Andover’s team.

After captaining his high school team, Wilkin went on to play at Wadhams Hall College for two years before transferring to Yale University. He did not play competitive tennis at Yale.

Wilkin’s experience has strongly affected his coaching techniques and strategies. He has coached some exceptionally talented teams during his tenure, such as the 1990 team that won the New England Championship. Overall, the team has won the New England Championship five times with Wilkin at the helm, including the last two years.

Currently in his 25th year of coaching the team, Wilkin uses his experience to approach the game with the big-picture in mind. In an email to The Phillipian, team member Nolan Crawford ’15 wrote, “He has a holistic approach to the game, combining competitiveness with improvement and a supportive attitude.”

Whether it’s altering a player’s crosscourt backhand, or refining a pair’s doubles communication, Wilkin pinpoints areas for improvement in all of his players. Crawford said, “Coach Wilkin has definitely helped me build up my doubles game, and he has also put an emphasis on consistency and variety in my game. He likes to see us come to the net early and often, but also to play smart, percentage tennis.”

The team has become a cohesive squad under Wilkin’s guidance. First seed Chris Kralik ’16 said, “He always has us cheer on our teammates on the court, even during our own matches. I think we have a good routine that really gels the team as a whole.”

Crawford added, “Coach Wilkin has helped me see tennis as a team sport where we all support each other to build off our improvements and victories. In a sport that can yield difficult, one-on-one situations, Coach puts great emphasis on drawing strength from the team.”

Wilkin stresses ball placement and movement. Wilkin has taught the players how to execute well-placed shots, whether it’s hitting a crosscourt volley to the corner, or delivering an ace of a serve.

At the end of the day, Wilkin makes it clear to his players that individual success is not the only goal for Andover Tennis. Kralik concluded, “To coach, having good team chemistry and unity is more important than winning or losing.”

May 22, 2015