Article published at the magazine Advantage this month in memory of Tim Heckler:
Once upon a time, there was a tennis player at the end of his professional career, who wanted to keep involved in the difficult tennis industry, and decided to become a coach and open a tennis academy in Europe. The starting was difficult, the investment he made was high and the things were moving slow, so the young coach struggled and start to worry. At that moment, through the common friend Luis Mediero, the coach met Tim Heckler, and Tim impressed him with his positive energy, making an impact on the young coach. Tim and the coach exchanged their thoughts about tennis, their know ledge, their dreams. Tim always wanted to create a tennis academy, spread the knowledge of tennis in the way he saw it, but his strong commitment to the USPTA did not leave him time to pursue his dream. The relationship between the young coach and Tim grew up strong, and they continuously shared their tennis thoughts. From the beginning, Tim always supported the coach to keep forward with his tennis academy, encouraged him to grow as a coach and academy and provided him with all the opportunities he could.
The enthusiasm of Tim had no limits. “You have to think big”, he used to say, or “You have to believe”. “Your way of teaching is what we need!”, “Come and speak in the World Conference”, “Put your knowledge in a manual”, “Come to the development board with all the big names in tennis”, he use to tell the coach. And whatever the young coach will propose to Tim, Tim would support it and follow up on it. “If you believe and you are driven, there are no barriers” Tim said.
Tim’s love for the game was so deep that he always fought for providing a better tennis education and instruction, through making better coaches. He was really a true coach. One day, the young coach approached him with some thoughts about opening a new tennis center in the US, and Tim not only supported the idea but also helped him a lot with the project, becoming not only a mentor but also a promoter of the new US academy.
Tim Heckler believed so much in the young coach that, when his son David wanted to quit tennis, Tim sent him to the coach’s academy and told him: “please make my son enjoy tennis again”. He was a true believer of the training methodology of the young coach. Fortunately, David continued playing tennis and today is enjoying college tennis. He will be grateful to this sport forever, fulfilling another of his father’s dreams.
That is why his legacy in tennis is huge. In the professional area we all know USPTA is Tim’s baby, he made it grow to become what it is today. He achieved such an incredible success by creating the biggest coaching organization in the world that, in my humble opinion, he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a tennis person who made a difference in our sport. People are worried regarding the future of the organization, because it’s like a child that needs to be taken care of the same way it was.
After Tim left us, the grown up coach was pleased to see that Tim’s legacy continued in his family, he was successful transmitting his values, his ideas, his enthusiasm, his determination, his positive energy… they will all follow his path. He can be proud of them, they will succeed. Just got this from Rene, his wife: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpHyDkYpQeY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Tim, I don’t know where you are, but I miss you and I will always remember you. I will always be thankful for your unconditional support at all times. I will try to treat other people as you treated me, you coached me how to coach others.
The young coach then, not so much today, Emilio Sánchez, your pupil.