We are very excited to introduce you to one of HAT’s friends and supporters, Mason Astley, the new Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach at Harvard. We are so excited for Mason as he takes on this new position!
Mason shared with us his tennis journey. He has always loved tennis, and could be found playing all of the time as a kid. Mason took some time off from playing tennis after high school before attending Swarthmore College near Philadelphia. His love of tennis was rekindled after taking a job teaching tennis for an after school program in Philadelphia. He fell in love with the game again and discovered a passion for teaching during this time. From there, Mason went on to teach at a club, where he also got to practice with some great players and improve his game. After taking another short sabbatical from tennis while teaching in Japan, Mason came back to the States and immediately started a tennis pro certification. His first job after his certification was coaching at a small college, where he grew passionate about coaching at the college level. Mason continued his time as a student soon after by joining a Master’s of Sports Psychology program, and later coaching the men’s and women’s teams at Emerson College, and then took a position coaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the team made the Elite 8 twice in seven years.
As a coach at Harvard, a D1 school, Mason expects the greatest difference from coaching at MIT, a D3 school, to be additional time investments in terms of training and recruiting. Mason’s top tip for those looking to get recruited is to “show dedication to the things that are important to you and to care for the people who are around you. Put in your time, learn everything you can, and develop good character.” Mason also encourages prospective college athletes to ask questions and engage with coaches, rather than asking their parents to take the lead. Coaches love engaging with their future athletes!
In terms of finding a program that is a good fit, athletes should consider the balance between academics and tennis, and the standards of academics at the schools they are considering. Mason also noted that during his time at MIT, four All American Athletes were on the team. Despite facing injuries at some point in their careers, due to the slightly lower athletic workload of a D3 school, the athletes were able to recover and excel in their game.
We are so excited to follow Mason during his time at Harvard!