Pro of the month: Marc Lupinacci “I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that.”

“Marc is a great coach and we always have fun on his court. His insights and advice have really helped my game, and he delivers his instruction with a lot of laughs. He is a good-natured guy with a sarcastic sense of humor and a pleasant manner of teaching. I always look forward to my Friday clinic with him.”—Lori

We caught-up with Marc Lupinacci, between coaching and his birthday celebration, to get to know him a bit off the court.

cg: Where do you currently coach?
MARC:
Solaris Racquet Club and Italian Center in Stamford, CT

cg: What is your first memory of playing tennis?
MARC:
When I was 8 years old, I went to Stamford Indoor Tennis (now Solaris Racquet) and had my first lesson with Joe Pierce.  He told my Mom that I had a lot of athletic ability and that I should be happy that I am “Lefty” because they have an advantage!!

cg: What is your fondest memory of playing tennis?
MARC:
I beat my brother Kris in the finals of the City of Stamford Tennis Tournament when I was 23 years old.  He was telling anyone who would listen to him that he was going to kick my butt!!  Also, playing in the Division II Team Nationals Tournament my junior and senior year in college.

cg: What is your claim to fame?
MARC:
Playing and losing to Andre Agassi 6-4, 7-6 in a tournament at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1986, just before he played in his first US Open. And, 4 years ago, I had the honor of being inducted into my college Hall of Fame—Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania.

cg: When did you become a Coach?
MARC:
I started coaching the Ladies C team at the Italian Center when I was 16 years old. John Keating was the head pro, and he gave me my first shot at teaching. I will never forget that, because I consider John to be my mentor.

cg: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
MARC:
Hands down it’s watching my adults and kids having fun while learning the game of tennis. That’s what it’s all about for me!

cg: Is there anything that frustrates you about coaching?
MARC:
The only thing that frustrates me about coaching, is when someone commits to taking lessons but doesn’t want to make the changes necessary to improve. That’s the hardest part of my job.

cg: What do you do differently from other coaches?
MARC:
I’m not sure what I do differently, but my philosophy is — I feel people have to enjoy coming to one of my classes! A lot of pros these days like to concentrate on one particular area (adults, 10 and under, tournament training, etc). I don’t agree with that,  I enjoy teaching a five-year-old as much as a 70-year-old.  You need to be versatile and able to teach all types.

cg: Why do you play tennis?
MARC:
I love the game! It is very intricate and simple at the same time.  It is mental and physical, tennis has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

cg: What advice would you give to young coaches starting out?
MARC:
Make a difference!!!! Get to know your people and don’t assume everyone listens or learns the same way.  Be Patient! Be supportive, energetic and enthusiastic. Listen to your students, you can learn from them as much as they can learn from you.

cg: Give us some “Marcims”…
MARC:
“I am going to pretend I didn’t see that shot!” or “Are you serious??!!??!!”

cg: Are you a ball or a racquet?
MARC:
I am a racquet. I get to direct and control what is going on when people step on the court.

cg: Final words?
MARC:
It is great to get up every morning and look forward to your job. It has been very rewarding working with all my clients over the past 30 years. The relationships formed with the kids and adults are what have kept me going. Many of my students, I am lucky enough to call my friends. This is a great plus, to what I consider to be a wonderful profession.  I like making a difference in a person’s life and hopefully I have.

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Thanks so much, Marc…it was a real pleasure getting to know you!

If you’d like to get in touch with Marc Lupinacci,
he can be reached at Solaris Racquet Club (203) 359-0601.

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