Ron F. Landfair - Lansing Catholic

                Generally, a JV tennis coach is hired to take care of the overflow. In this No-Cut era, varsity coaches are loath to send kids packing, especially with the awareness that they are in a position to plant seeds toward a lifetime of exercise and enjoyment. Hence, JV coaches work with kids who possess only a modicum of skills and very little experience. These kids haven’t hit many forehands. They haven’t been put into many “Serve ‘em up” pressure situations wherein the consequences of missing a shot go beyond their individual sense of pride and shame. Instead, they are now in a situation in which they play under the added pressure of their team’s outcome.
                In spite of this lack of prior training and experience, almost all of these kids benefit. Indeed, some actually develop significantly. Such is the case of many players under the direction of Ron Landfair (the son). “During his tenure as assistant coach, five players who played junior varsity tennis under his leadership have gone on to win a total of nine individual state championships, nine Capital Area Athletic Conference medals, and nine regional championships,” says varsity coach Ron Landfair (the father). “There are very few junior varsity coaches who can match that record.”
                But to coach tennis at Lansing Catholic is to go beyond what happens on the court. There is a service requirement. “Ron has had his team engage in community activities such as the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk, the Relay for Life, and in-campus beautification projects,” says Ron.
                As with most assistants, Ron helps with running tournaments and practices, even when his dad isn’t around. It doesn’t hurt that the Main Man is his father but it also doesn’t hurt that he has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University. And it doesn’t hurt that he can identify with his JV kids. Ron didn’t become a starting varsity player until his senior year, playing 4th doubles. And finally, it doesn’t hurt to work with a varsity Coach of the Year (2008) and an Assistant Coach of the Year (Tony Fuller, 2009). Tony helps with the varsity. Ron is in charge of the JV.
                Ron has been with the program since the fall of 2007. “He is a solid young man, steadfast in his faith, diligent in his preparation before matches, and truly gifted in working with young people,” says his dad.  “He exemplifies everything you would hope to have in an assistant coach. His is a quiet self-assuredness, far beyond his chronological years.”
                One would hope. After all, many tennis coaches have struggled with coaching their own kids (“The pleasure and the pain” says Girls Division 1 Coach of the Year Andy BeDell). But in this case, the kid has to work with the father, and vice versa. “It has been said by many – including me – that it is extremely difficult to coach your own son in athletics,” says Ron. “It is equally true – generically speaking – to have your offspring work for you. In Ron, I have found both to be equally false. As both his father and his head coach, I am equally proud of his accomplishments.”
                For his part, Ron the son says that he didn’t have a steep learning curve. “He (the father) had actually coached me in 7th and 8th grade basketball prior to my coming to high school,” he says. “The two of us did a good job of keeping things ‘professional’ while he was coaching me but I certainly was held to a high standard of behavior. But one thing that never changed between my playing for him and my coaching with him is that we’d end up talking about tennis long into the night.”
                Ron started helping out right out of high school. “Our previous assistant coach informed our AD that he was not going to be able to coach about two weeks before the season began. My father had to scramble for a new coach and as luck would have it, my college class schedule didn’t interfere with matches or practice.”
                That was 2007, the year that the seasons switched and there was no girls campaign. “I went from playing for my high school in June to coaching in August,” he says.
               That was 2007, the year that the seasons switched and there was no girls campaign. “I went from playing for my high school in June to coaching in August,” he says.
                But alas, he will leave, at least for awhile. The decision involves grad school and its conflicting schedule. But Ron will take with him some very valuable experience and a solid resume if/when he returns to coach high school tennis.                          


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