Willis Mbandi Delivers Tennis Knowledge To Coaches From Across Alabama
MONTGOMERY- Madison’s Willis Mbandi believes in nurturing a strong and everlasting culture in athletics. His involvement in the sport of tennis began at age 11 and soon transformed the native of Kenya to a longtime tennis coach at both the Madison Tennis Center and for the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs. The 41-year old extended his knowledge of the game he once considered an elite cultural sport to other tennis coaches from across Alabama as an instructor for the AHSAA Lunch & Learn event held in Montgomery.
“I was invited by the AHSAA for the Jan. 12 event as each year the AHSAA invites coaches who have enormous success in their sport and present a coaching clinic to fellow coaches,” said Mbandi. “My audience was high school and middle school coaches and went through two 45-minute sessions stressing the importance of building the correct culture for the student-athletes.”
The experience for Mbandi was indeed one of his highlights of his coaching career, but the session was also one little known fact about the former No. 1 player and team captain while playing at Alabama A&M and graduating in 2006. The effort in Montgomery was his first ever public speaking engagement.
“I think I did well and I wasn’t nervous,” said Mbandi. “I was confident as I was prepared as I knew the subject and have the knowledge for the presentation.”
The numerous coaches who were attendance were presented with three subject topics: building the right culture, using the correct body language along with focus and improving your practice court. The classroom style presentation featured a slide presentation Mbandi put together in two hours. The lunch and learn also scheduled a two-hour outdoor teaching session, but severe weather forced the session to be held indoors. “My court presentation was to emphasize on the points being the building blocks of the game,” added Mbandi. “We don’t practice the 0-4 rally in tennis.”
Mbandi took over the Alabama A&M tennis program in 2012. He also gathered the reins of the head pro at the Madison Tennis Center about the same time. Besides his continued work for a college program and directing programs in Madison, he also offers private lessons for high performance players. The multi-talented athlete also plays in local adult soccer leagues.
“I was honored to be picked by the AHSAA to talk about the game I love,” said Mbandi. “I hope others benefited.”