Making it Look Easy-Tennis Player Overcomes Challenges


Junior Raegan McGee said that balancing school and being a competitive tennis player can be hard to maintain. “I do my homework on the way to practice, but usually right when I get home, I have a schedule. I take a shower, then eat, and then just do school work, but I mostly try to do my work, so I have as little as possible.” Raegan McGee said.

Raegan McGee started tennis when she was seven. She said,” My parents were like ‘let’s just try it,’” and she did. “I like tennis, but it’s a sport about mistakes, so it’s so hard on you mentally, and I don’t think people realize it’s one of the most mentally tough sports out there,” McGee said.

Reagan’s mother, Robyn McGee, said keeping busy with tennis has been one of the best things for her. Tennis has helped her overcome challenges that she has had to face.

Robyn McGee said, “She was diagnosed with ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder in third grade, and she started playing tennis shortly after that diagnosis. Staying busy, especially with sports, has been her way of coping with it.”

She said that tennis had encouraged Raegan McGee to try new things and make new friends worldwide.

Robyn McGee said, “She also recently started volunteering with the Stephanie Waterman Tennis Foundation, which is something she has wanted to do for a while now.”

The Stephanie Waterman Tennis Foundation is a tennis program that provides inner-city youth with free tennis, life skills, and opportunities to…

“All of these activities make her who she is, and I love that even though she sometimes suffers from debilitating anxiety, she still puts herself out there to try new things and keep herself busy. When you are faced with the kind of anxiety that Raegan has, the best therapy for that is not allowing yourself to sit around and think about your insecurities. You have to stay busy and productive and work toward your goals,” Robyn McGee said.

Due to Reagan McGee’s schedule, her mother and father try their best to communicate the importance of good time management skills and no procrastination.

McGee said, “[We] also think open communication is important. She needs to let us know when she needs a break or needs help with her schedule. There are some days when tennis or playing in a tournament just isn’t an option because of school.”

Schooling can be difficult with tennis, so Raegan attended Mizzou Academy, which allowed her to work independently. With being so busy, attending the Mizzou Academy gives Raegan McGee time to complete schoolwork while still doing tennis.

“The courses at Mizzou were incredibly challenging, and she learned early on that getting behind wasn’t an option because of the stress it caused,” Robyn said.

“School will always come first, and that’s a no-brainer. At any time grades drop, tennis then is out of the equation. Raegan has to play a lot of tennis to maintain her skills or play even more to improve. That can be too much sometimes, which then takes the fun out of tennis,” said Coach Marco Rodriguez.

Rodrigues has been working with Raegan McGeeto to help her reach her goals. He works with her on the court, but he says he helps motivate her to keep up with school.

With tennis being such a big part of Raegan McGee’s life, having social time can help keep her motivated and on top of her game. Having free days is essential, especially with maintaining the proper balance and motivation.

Rodriguez said, “Motivation comes from within herself. I, as her coach, can only hope to inspire her.”

Raegan has worked many hours to help improve her game inside and outside the court.

“She learns to work hard, stay disciplined, and understand the work ethic that’s needed daily to be competitive and succeed in the sport. That carries over into her daily life, such as school, or finding a job and hopefully for the rest of her life,” said Coach Marco Rodriguez.