Today we’d like to introduce you to Gregory Prudhomme, Ph.D.
Hi Gregory, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was fortunate to be born into a multi-cultural family with an American father and a German mother. They raised my brothers and me with an outstanding balance of discipline and nurturing. My parents’ idea of my siblings and me learning life lessons was to promote our participation in youth sports. Because of my German mother and the popularity of soccer in that country, I began playing soccer at 4. By the time I was 12 years old, I was dreaming of playing college and professional soccer. Since I picked up tennis, I won a high school state championship, played Division I college tennis, played in professional tournaments in multiple countries, earned a #11 ranking in the U.S., and played on a team in Germany. Due to several variables, I switched to tennis at 14 years old, and nearly 40 years later, I haven’t set the tennis racquet down.
Additionally, I have been the proprietor of a 19-court tennis facility with my family; I’ve coached high school tennis and college tennis at the junior college, Division II, and Division I level. I have coached all levels and ages of players, from beginners to professionals. I enjoy a tennis court in my backyard with my wife and our 3 children, who all play tennis and work in the tennis industry. Throughout my 24-year college coaching career, I have been honored by winning 21′ coach of the year awards. The coach of the year awards reflects my entire coaching staff and my athletes. The other variable I attribute my coaching success to is my other passion besides sport and tennis, the ‘mental game.’ I went back to school in my early 40s (I’m 51 now) to earn my Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Performance Psychology as I have always been intrigued by the mental part of the performance. I had much practical experience as an athlete and coach. Still, I wanted to learn more formally about the research and data behind peak performance to be a better coach, husband, parent, and person. I enjoyed learning the material and gaining the credentials. Still, the most significant accomplishment I achieved was completing my doctorate while having two full-time jobs, staying happily married, raising three children, and maintaining the household. There were times that I questioned my sanity for taking so much on, but I learned that human beings could accomplish much more than we realize. I couldn’t have done it without my amazing wife, Mandy, and the understanding that my children (Tatum, Autumn, and Liam) afforded me to pursue this passion. In addition to my tennis coaching, I am a performance coach for some professional athletes, including UFC fighters, CrossFit athletes, soccer players, and heavy-weight boxers. It is gratifying to help people unlock their potential by teaching them how to use their minds as a weapon, just like their sports skills and tactics. I also teach online Ph.D. sports psychology courses for the University of Arizona Global Campus.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I do not believe in smooth roads. Or rather, too much of a slippery road does not foster growth. I would argue that all humans experience life’s ups and downs, making struggles a normal part of life. I certainly had to be skilled at time management, juggling many things at once for long periods. Good ole fashioned hard work is also a must to continue throughout the struggles. I used positive self-talk to combat any doubt that would creep into my mind. I put one foot in front of the other as challenges came my way, which kept me moving positively.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have been the tennis coach for men and women at Grand Canyon University for the past 15 years. Coaching two teams at the NCAA Division I level is very challenging and rewarding. I rely heavily on my assistant coaches, and I am fortunate to have extraordinary student-athletes that are coachable and buy into our vision. I am known for being competitive and reaching outcome goals, such as winning multiple conference championships. However, what sets me apart from most is that our goal is to get our outcome goals with solid character and sportsmanship while focusing on the process over the results. I attempt to teach my athletes how many competitive sports are a metaphor for life and that they should devote their sports experiences to life rather than saving their life to the sport.
Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Although luck can favor people who work hard and have strong character, I also believe that good fortune and grace also play a part in life. I am grateful for the many things that I have been blessed with in my life that were out of my control, such as being born into a loving family, but I also don’t wait for luck to appear if things aren’t going my way. I don’t blame shortcomings on bad luck, even though bad luck can happen. I believe that no matter how challenging things are that we still do have the ability to make our situations better.