Tennis Offers Lessons for Life

Tennis Offers Lessons for Life

When 9-year-old David Read first walked into the Greater Midland Tennis Center, he thought he was just there to learn tennis.

Little did he know he’d also learn important lessons about life – and himself – along the way.

“(Tennis) definitely was a powerful way to get better at working under pressure,” said Read, now 22 years old and a biochemistry undergrad at University of Michigan.

“I struggled with being ‘clutch’ in high-pressure matches. So working through that and learning not to change my play style in high-pressure matches was a great preparation for dealing with pressure in life at large.”

Thousands of young people just like David Read walk into the Greater Midland Tennis Center every year. Some just hit the ball around and enjoy a day with their friends. Others take lesson after lesson, honing their skills on the court as they grow. Still others train for competitive tournament play at the college and national level.

In 2016, the Tennis Center served almost 35,000 people. Many more were served through events, socials, court play and non-program play, along with 4,000 students in the Dow Tennis Classic outreach programs.

And it’s all good, said Scott Mitchell, executive director of the Greater Midland Tennis Center.

“Research shows tennis is one of the most important sports for youth because it teaches life skills like problem-solving, sportsmanship, discipline and respect,” Mitchell said.

A big part of the Midland sporting world for 43 years, the facility has had a multimillion-dollar economic impact on the entire community.

The Greater Midland Tennis Center hosts the annual Dow Tennis Classic, a women’s professional tennis tournament showcasing international players and a major sports attraction for Michigan.

No matter your age or skill level, tennis offers a lifetime of fitness and health.

The tennis center is one of the first of its kind to build an entire program around adults – from pure beginner through the advanced level.

Now an adult, David Read still looks back fondly at those years on the courts.

"I haven't spent much time on the court in recent years. But (the lessons) I learned playing tennis, I use every day," he said.

For more information or to register, go to or call 989-631-6151